A legal practitioner, George Eke, has described the on-going debate on the proposed National Conference as a very confusing exercise for many Nigerians because of the ambiguity of language, terms and multiple analysis of it.
He said this while appearing as a guest on Sunrise Daily.
“There is this omnibus language of ‘let us talk’, we don’t know what we are going to talk about, we don’t know who we are going to talk (with), we don’t know whether it is supposed to be an ethnic dialogue which David Mark suggested, we don’t know if it will end up as a constitutional conference which is what they are expecting that there is going to be a constitution thereafter that is going to be supreme or take precedence over what we have”.
Reacting to the suggestion that the above observation is part of the main purpose for which the the Advisory Committee was consituted, he said:
“Part of the confusion is that even (in) the advisory committee; you will notice that some people are making remarks that there is no youth in the committee.
We are talking about advice; the president could have as well just asked his minister for special duties to advise him. We are already even quarrelling with the composition of the advisory committee, not to talk of what is going to come out”.
Mr Eke said that he is not ‘crazy’ about the National Conference, because he has been an ardent follower of those who argue for this conference and by the recommendation of philosophy, political science, sociology and law and referring to famous old philosophers, he posited that;
“Sovereignty is that inherent capacity of the society to govern itself but through social contract, but some people have misinformed either mischievously or they do not know”.
“The society confers or transmits willingly this sovereignty to the government.”
He disagreed with some lawyers’ opinion that the people can donate part of the sovereignty to the government, arguing that sovereignty cannot be partly given to the government because it is in itself synonym with government. Therefore Nigerians’ sovereignty is wholly and entirely in their government, he said, adding that, “sovereignty belongs to the people but resides in the government”.
He spoke further on the argument that the Conference is important because the 1914 amalgamation was wrongly done without consulting the will of the common Nigerian. He posited that it is practically impossible to be able to truly get all Nigerians to contribute to a conference that is happening in Abuja. According to him, they may not be more than 500, 000 people clamouring for the conference, so it is purely politics as the voice of many Nigerians will not be heard in the whole plan.
He recommended that good integrative leadership is the solution to Nigeria’s problem as only then can the common man be truly represented because a new constitution can only help when the people elected to implement it are truly representing the people.
He also suggested that the power at the center is neutralised through a constitutional conference which he said would have been a better name for the conference.