Mass boycott looms at confab; northern delegates perfect strategy

Posted by News Express | 7 July 2014 | 2,949 times

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History may repeat itself this week at National Judicial Institute’s (NJI) venue of the National Conference, Abuja, as some aggrieved northern delegates are set to stage a mass walkout unless the leadership considers their concern in the handling of voting proceedings.

In 2005, delegates from the South-South staged a walk-out during the National Political Reform Conference, during the Obasanjo administration.

A top northern delegate, Dr Junaid Mohammed at the weekend did not confirm or deny the planned walk-out. He, however, maintained that the leadership of the conference had been biased towards the South, even though his region boasts of 50 per cent of the country’s population.

“I am just hearing about the walk-out for the first time. ‎I cannot tell you whether it is true or not. If you push people too hard in the pursuit of a certain agenda, that is what happens.

“You know very well that the conference is very biased against the North. The North is about 50 per cent of the population of this country, yet, we only have 180 delegates at the conference.

“You can see that the conference is structured to marginalise the ‎entire North. What we are seeing is a manifestation of the tyranny of the majority at the conference,” Dr Mohammed told Daily Sun.

Core northern delegates last Thursday complained bitterly when the conference voted on the recommendations of its committee report on Political Restructuring and Forms of Government, saying they were short-changed.

Members of the Northern Delegates’ Forum (NDF) after last Thursday’s plenary, rejected the resolutions overwhelmingly reached by delegates. They argued that the decisions must be rescinded.

A statement signed by the delegates, reads: “The Northern Delegates’ Forum met on 3/7/2014 and reviewed what transpired at plenary. After an exhaustive review, delegates adopted the following resolutions:

“We note that decisions have been arrived at in total disregard of the Procedure Rules 2014 in respect of issues such as removal of the list of local governments from the Constitution, local government councils financing, adoption of state constitution, a motion to adopt reference and state constitution.

“The chairman refused flatly to recognize several members who had indicated intention to raise a Point of Order in respect of the method of arriving at decisions by voice vote. This is contrary to Order XI which provides as follows: all decisions of the conference at plenary and at committee stage shall be reached by consensus or in the absence of that, the chairman shall at his discretion adjourn proceedings to allow for further consultations, in the event of failure, to reach a solution it shall be decided by a vote of three quarters majority.

“This week’s debate on resource control and other critical issues which formed part of the Devolution of Power Committee‎ report might either make or mar all the lofty resolutions that have been reached so far by delegates.

“The committee had recommended that the 13 per cent derivation fund should be maintained, but South-South delegates have kicked, promising to upturn the decision. While core northern delegates are bent on maintaining the status quo, South-South delegates have initiated intense lobbying of delegates from North-Central in a move to break the rank of the region.”

South-East and South-West delegates may back their South-South delegates in their quest to increase the percentage from 13 to 35 per cent. If this move sails through, oil producing states will succeed in increasing their revenue base,” they said.

Not ready to leave anything to chance, delegates from both regions held separate meetings last night. While Chief Raymond Dokpesi hosted southern delegates at his AIT Office in Asokoro, Abuja, venue of the northern delegates was shrouded in secrecy.

Sources at the separate meetings told Daily Sun that both camps have vowed to resist moves to sabotage their region’s agenda. The sources said northern delegates are determined to maintain the status quo, while their southern counterparts are pushing for a drastic restructuring of the current nomenclature of government.

•Text courtesy of Daily Sun.

Source: News Express

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