National Dialogue: Nigerians Have Responded Well To The Committee – Okurounmu

The Chairman, National Advisory Committee on National Dialogue, Femi Okurounmu has expressed his committee’s joy and satisfaction at the support Nigerians have shown to them … Continue reading National Dialogue: Nigerians Have Responded Well To The Committee – Okurounmu


The Chairman, National Advisory Committee on National Dialogue, Femi Okurounmu has expressed his committee’s joy and satisfaction at the support Nigerians have shown to them and their embrace of the National Dialogue idea.

Senator Femi Okurounmu was a guest on Channels Television breakfast programme, ‘Sunrise Daily’ where he shared his thoughts on the activities of the National Advisory Committee on National Dialogue.

Okurounmu, whose committee had just concluded a tour of all regions of the country expressed the committee’s surprise at the enthusiasm with which Nigerians welcomed them and endorsed the idea of the National Conference as well as their warm embrace of change in the country.

He stated further that the few voices of opposition that were raised initially have now been drowned by the acclamation and approbation of all Nigerians, “to the extent that those who initially were raising voices of opposition are on the retreat because they found themselves increasingly marginalized and isolated from majority of their countrymen and women.“

“It must be said that even these voices of opposition that were raised initially were by a group of governors belonging to a particular political party, some of whom in fact have been at the forefront of agitation for a national conference over the last 3 decades, who had financed agitations for national conference, who had supported it but who now find it politically opportune to oppose it simply for personal political reasons.”

“I think the interest of Nigerians, the interest of the future of Nigerian children, is far greater that the temporary interest of some handful of individuals.”

When asked what the committee has found to be the most consistent concern to majority of Nigerians, he mentioned that top among the issues is the whole structure of the Nigerian Federation which many believe is lopsided.

He also said that Nigerians are concerned about the political and fiscal federalism that the country practices. Many are of the opinion that there are too many responsibilities with the Federal Governments, while there are too little with the federating units making these units more like beggars when it comes to sharing the resources of the nation.

Reacting to President Jonathan’s declaration that the committee’s submission would be subjected to the National Assembly for input, Sen. Okurounmu said that his committee has not taken a position on it but reiterated that their mandate is to make recommendations about how to go about the conference and the involvement of the National Assembly is part of the areas they are supposed to make recommendations about.

Expectedly, questions were raised about the fears that the conference might go the way of other past conferences whose reports have been forgotten; Sen. Okurounmu expressed confidence with the process so far but added “we can only hope that this will not go the way of other committees and conferences, we must always remain optimistic…until we get it right we shall keep trying, but my hope is that this time we will get it right.”

He also spoke about the incidents leading to the committee’s rowdy session in Edo State, involving Governor Adams Oshiomole. He opined that if the members of his committee were patient enough to listen to the governor before the session, they could not have controlled the crowd to do same, since it was Oshiomole’s decision to bring to the public, the views he had shared with them in an earlier private meeting.