21st February, 2012
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has said he was not opposed to a national conference, provided the ultimate objectives are not designed to dismantle Nigeria’s hard won unity.
His position contradicted that of President Goodluck Jonathan, who rejected the suggestion last week.
Speaking in an interview with the BBC Hausa Service monitored in Abuja, the former Vice President noted that though he was not against Nigerians coming together to dialogue on the nation’s challenges, the ground rules of representation at such conference must be clearly defined.
According to Abubakar, if the modalities for representation at such conference were based on ethnicity, religion and regionalism, then he would not throw his weight behind such endeavour.
He said that he would not endorse any effort aimed at dismantling Nigeria’s unity and cohesion under whatever guise.
The former Vice President advised advocates of sovereign national conference to respect existing structures of democratic representation such as the National Assembly.
“Nigeria has come of age in the journey to nationhood and any efforts designed to upset the apple cart of our unity is uncalled for at this time. The National Assembly remains the best forum to channel such issues for deliberation rather than seeking unusual avenues to create confusion and threaten out unity,” he said.