Spokesperson of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin has reiterated his organization’s support for a national conference only if it will be devoid of the influences of political parties, claiming the political parties as presently constituted will create a diversion at the conference.
Speaking on Sunrise Daily, he reiterated that people need to understand the importance of this conference for the future of Nigeria as a lot of people are mistaking it for the constitutional conferences held in the past.
According to him, they are two different things. While the constitutional conference is political with a sole purpose of drafting a constitution, the national conference is a business of the ethnic nationalities to sit and first agree if they want to continue to live together and then decide under which constitution. He noted that this is the first time it is going to happen in the history of the country and therefore should not be politicized.
He claimed “there is nobody that is in any party who does not have a nationality where he or she comes from. In fact, when the Soviet Union collapsed, everybody went to his state; they didn’t collapse into trade unions or political parties but into their nationalities. Other interest groups can be represented but mainly we need a national conference of ethnic nationalities”.
Odumakin believes Nigeria is on track with the call for national conference claiming that all scepticisms expressed so far by Nigerians have not questioned the need for the conference but the sincerity of the facilitator.
Allaying fears generated by makeup of members of the advisory committee, he says “if you look at the men and women who have been put in this committee, most of them are people who have track record”. He cited examples of the Chairman of the committee, Senator Okurounmu who between 1999 and 2003 as a senator sponsored a bill calling for the national conference.
On the removal of the word “sovereign”, He called on Nigerians not to jump the gun but allow the advisory committee finish their job and present their recommendations. He also stated the suggestions of the Afenifere to the committee on fulfilling their mandate.