18th December, 2013
President Goodluck Jonathan said on Wednesday that all necessary preparations are being made to ensure that the proposed national conference takes off immediately in the new year.
The President who spoke when he received the report of Dr. Femi Okunrounmu led Presidential Advisory Committee on National Conference said he has already directed that adequate financial provision should be made for the take off of the conference.
The Committee also insisted that contrary to media reports, there was no split among its members or any minority report. Taking a cue from the earlier speech of Dr. Okunrounmu, the President said the proposed dialogue will be referred to as national conference.
“I can use the word national conference because the national Chairman used it. So, I assume that is the name the Committee has agreed on,” the President who described as another milestone in the task of building a more united and equitable country, said.
“I have no personal interest in this dialogue and I will allow the will of Nigerians to prevail,” said the President.
While reiterating the fact that his administration is committed to building a stronger union of Nigerian family, the President said he is happy that there was only one demand for dissolution of Nigeria federal structure in the public hearings held by the Committee across 13 major cities of the country.
He added that the proposed national conference offered an opportunity to strengthen Nigeria’s unity and democracy and every Nigerian should participate in it.
On a lighter note, the President noted that “by the time we conclude this conference, I hope there will be no more open letters.”.
Speaking earlier, Dr. Okunrounmu said the public hearings held by the Committee showed that most Nigerians are very enthusiastic about the prospect being the architect of new Nigeria by taking part in setting the ground norms as will be done through the proposed national conference.
He added that those who are initially sceptical about the idea of national conference have now being turned into believers.
“I say emphatically that we have no minority report,” Dr. Okunrounmu who said the Committee did not react to initial controversies because it has not submitted its report and out of protocol said.
Also, Chief Solomon Asemota who was reported to have submitted the minority report refused to confirm or deny the rumours when he was confronted.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria told inquisitive journalists that he aligned with what the Chairman has said about the issue. The report was accompanied by 16 volumes of appendices of 4000 pages.