Sagay: Those attacking Jonathan's confab lack focus

Prof. Itse Sagay

Prof. Itse Sagay

Kazeem Ugbodaga

Constitutional lawyer, Prof. Itse Sagay has lashed out at those criticizing the proposed National Conference by President Goodluck Jonathan, saying such people lack focus.

Sagay, who spoke at the Maiden Edition of the Centre for Change lecture at the Sheraton Hotels and Towers, Ikeja, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria on Tuesday said people who said the conference was diversionary should be ignored as they lacked focus.

He said whatever motive Jonathan has in proposing the conference should not be taken into consideration but that there was the need for dialogue which the conference offered.

According to him, all that was needed was for the conference to hold and evolve a constitution that would only be adopted through a referendum.

He stated that he would not mind if the 2015 elections were sacrificed for a true national conference that would salvage the nation from its numerous problems.

Sagay also called for the establishment of a state based federalism rather than the states depending on the federal government for allocation on monthly basis.

Fiery preacher, Pastor Tunde Bakare, in his welcome address at the event backed the national conference, believing that it would help to solve the problems of the nation.

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“That is why we must seize every given opportunity to reason together and sincerely talk. Above all, we must walk the talk. Not to do so may be suicidal for our nation. God forbid! That is why we are here and how to do that is what the Centre for Change and Community Development wants to lay bare,” he stated.

Bakare decried the numerous problems facing the nation, saying that Nigeria at 53 was completely in ruin and that the national conference would afford the opportunity for dialogue to proffer the way forward.

He said the rebuilding of the nation would begin by weeping and wailing, which he said had already been done through prayers.

“Indeed, weeping is where the rebuilding begins and weeping we have done: from the wailing of the mother in the north whose son and husband have been felled by Boko Haram’s reign of terror; to the groaning of the household in the south whose breadwinner is held between life and death in the den of kidnappers; to the sighing of the university student who must spend 5-8 years completing a 4-year course because of incessant strikes and will eventually graduate without skills that can favourably compete in a rapidly globalized market; to the anguish of the business man or woman in the north, south, east and west, whose business is crumbling under the weight of an awkwardly structured mono-product economy and infrastructural decay – indeed, Nigerians have wept and are weeping,” he lamented.

President, Centre for Change, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin said the body was founded believing that it would ushered in the necessary change the country needed to progress.

“Our aim is to organize for change, we believe Nigeria must work in this our time. A new Nigeria is possible especially at this time a national conference is coming.

“There should be ‘no-go area’ in this conference. The decision of the conference must not be tinkered with unless through a referendum. If they tinker with the decision, then the conference would have been in vain. We are determined that this country must work

“Nigeria lies critically ill at the intensive care unit almost without solution. We must agree at this point that this country will be healed again,” she stated.