–Says participants tasked to work towards peacebuilding, confidence
By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA–FORMER President Olusegun Obasanjo has said the outcome of the deliberations in the meeting they held in Abuja on Thursday over the state of the nation would not be revealed to the public until delegates meet with President Muhammadu Buhari to present the report.
He, however, did not disclose when the participants will meet with the president, saying the public will know when the president chooses to see meet with them to hear them out.
“We decided that our communique won’t be issued until after submitting our report to the President”, he said.
According to him, the meeting resolved to table the resolutions of deliberations captured in a communique to President Muhammadu Buhari formerly, who he said, was informed of the meeting before it was held.
Speaking to reporters, Friday, at Transcorp Hotel where the meeting was previously held, the former president said the participants to the meeting resolved in principle to formally present the resolutions to President Buhari before they get to public knowledge.
He said the meeting tackled issues “concerning security, economy, welfare, well-being and unity and progress of Nigeria.”
He said the membership of the meeting convened at his instance was “made up of former Heads of state and President, former Chief Justice of Nigeria, former National Security Adviser.”
According to him,” It also included organised Labour, academia, women and groups representatives. Those who couldn’t be physically present sent apologies like the former president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, Professor Wole Soyinka, Emeka Anyaoku.”
He spoke further: “We acknowledged the letter written in response to our own letter informing the President about our meeting and his goodwill message that the outcome of our meeting will be of interest to him.
“We spoke frankly amongst ourselves after discussing relevant issues of security and economy.
“We were long on statements but short on action.”
He said the public will be abreast of developments at the meeting through various actions that will unfold in the weeks ahead.
Her him:“Actions on our part and other people’s part that are of immediate requirements, you will be seeing them.
“We pledge to ourselves to change the narratives, we have to start building confidence and be reaching out. From now on, you will hear from our actions on the outcome of our deliberations.”
Recall that after engaging in about ten hours of marathon meeting on the state of the nation on Thursday, former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar,the Sultan of Sokoto,Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar,
Emeritus John Cardinal Onaiyekan among others refused to talk to the media.
All the participants at the meeting snubbed journalists when they were approached to speak on the deliberations and possible resolutions.
The meeting which started at 11:30 pm,ended around 8:20pm.
Among all the participants approached to speak, was Emeritus John Cardinal Onaiyekan,who told reporters that “we discussed everything”, refusing to speak further.
On his part,the Director, Publicity and Advocacy of the Northern Elders Forum, NEF, Alhaji Hakeem Baba Ahmed,who was also a participant, said he could not speak because he was not mandated to do so.
“I am only a delegate to the meeting,I am not authorized to speak to the media”,he told reporters.
The meeting had earlier barred journalists from covering its activities, saying the engagement was not for coverage.
Notable among participants at the meeting which started around 11:am at the Transcorp Hilton Abuja,were former President Olusegun Obasanjo,former Head of State,General Abdulsalami Abubakar,the Sultan of Sokoto,Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, and Emeritus John Cardinal Onaiyekan.
Others are the President of Nigeria Labour Congress,NLC, Ayuba Wabba,former Attorney General of the Federation, Kanu Agabi,Christian Association of Nigeria,CAN General Secretary,Rev. Joseph Daramola,Etsu Nupe ,Alhaji Yahaya and former Minister of Agriculture,Dr Audu Ogbe.
Also, the Ooni of Ife ,Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi , President General,Ohanaeze Ndigbo,Prof. George Obiozor and Afenifere leader, Ayo Adebanjo were also at the meeting.
The meeting which was convened at the instance of Interfaith Initiatives for Peace, jointly led by the Sultan of Sokoto, and Emeritus John Cardinal Onaiyekan,was to discuss and find solution to the insecurity threatening the unity and peace of the country.
Recall that the growing insecurity occasioned by activities of bandits,headmen/farmers’ clashes, Book Haram and secessionist agitations across the country has created tensions in the hearths of many Nigeria and foreigners.
It was gathered that the resolutions of the ongoing meeting would be presented to President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday,at the Presidential Villa,as participants are expected to meet with the president after the meeting.