Federal Govt releases modalities for proposed National Conference; ...excludes indivisibility and indissolubility of Nigeria

The Federal Government on Thursday released the modalities for the nomination of delegates to the proposed national conference.

The government, in a statement read to journalists by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, said the conference, which would hold in the Federal Capital Territory, would last for three months.

No fewer than 492 nominees are expected to participate in the conference whose full name shall be: “The National Conference.”

Anyim, who was silent on the actual date for the take-off of the conference, said decisions reached by the delegates would be by consensus.

He added that where consensus was not achievable, it would be by 75 per cent majority.

Anyim said that the conference would advise the government on the legal framework, procedures and options for integrating its decisions and outcomes into the 1999 Constitution and other laws of the country.

The SGF also stated that the conference would discuss any subject matter, except the indivisibility and indissolubility of Nigeria as a nation.

Modalities for the conference as outlined by the SGF include the nomination of 37 elder statesmen, one per state and the FCT by the President.

The nominees will also include retired officers of the military, the police and the state security service from each of the nation’s six geopolitical zones.

Other delegates will be traditional rulers (two per zone and one for the FCT), retired civil servants (one from each of the zones and the FCT), representatives of the Nigeria Labour Congress , the Trade Union Congress and organised Private Sector.

The NLC and TUC nominees must reflect geopolitical and gender balance.

The OPS, including the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, the National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture and the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, will have two nominees each.

The conference will have nominees from youth organisations with one each from the National Youth Council of Nigeria and the National Association of Nigerian Students.

Women groups such as the National Council of Women Society, market women associations , the International Federation of Women Lawyers and the National Association of Women Journalists will also have representatives.

Parties that have representation in the National Assembly will nominate two representatives each.

Muslim and Christian leaders will have six representatives each; Civil Society Organisations, 24; Nigerians in Diaspora-Europe, America, Africa, Asia and Middle East, two from each location; People Living with Disabilities, one in each of the geopolitical zones; and the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria, two.

The Nigeria Guild of Editors, the Nigeria Union of Journalists and the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria will have two representatives each, while socio-political/cultural and ethnic nationality Groups will have 15 representatives from each geopolitical zone.

Also, professional bodies like the Nigerian Bar Association, the Nigeria Society of Engineers and the Nigerian Environmental Society will produce one delegate each.

The Academy of Science, Engineering, Education, Letters and Social Sciences are to collectively nominate five delegates (one per academy.)

Six persons in the Judiciary who are not currently serving on the Bench are to be nominated by the President.

Also, former political office holders such as ex-governors and ex-national assembly members will be expected to produce delegates.

While the Federal Government will nominate 20 delegates with at least six of them being women, state governments and the FCT administration will nominate 109 delegates with three coming from each state and one from the FCT.

Also, former Local Government Area chairmen will nominate six delegates with one coming from each of the geo-political zones.

The President is to nominate three delegates on behalf of the chairman, deputy chairman and secretary of the Presidential committee.