Confab Committee In Bottleneck Over Resource Control, Revenue Sharing

Annkio BriggsA National Conference delegate, Annkio Briggs, on Tuesday disclosed that the National Conference committee deliberating on issues including resource control, system of government and revenue sharing had hit a bottleneck in its proceedings.

While speaking on a number of issues being discussed at the National Conference, on Sunrise Daily, Briggs said: “We are stuck in certain critical areas. There is yet to be willingness to compromise by either the Northerners or Southerners”.

Briggs, who decried the inability of the Committee to reach a consensus, stressed the need for delegates and all stakeholders to make sacrifices for the greater good of the nation.

She disclosed that the committee had started the review of the legislative list of the tiers of government, but that talks about resource control were being met with resistance from the Northerners. She also mentioned the issue of State Police, which she said should be considered.

“If people want State Police, we should have it regulated in a way that the rights of people are not abused, while they are exercising their right to State Police.”

Briggs also cited example of the Sharia Law which was being practiced in some parts of the country and said that the States that want State Police should be granted their wish according to the Federal Law. She further called for the adoption of true fiscal federalism which would allow the different components of the country develop at different paces.

She mentioned that the committee was yet to agree on the adoption of fiscal federalism which would indirectly deal with issues concerning revenue sharing and others. There was also no consensus on the issue of States having access to resources and so it was adjourned on Monday and will be attended to again on Tuesday.

“Everything outside fiscal federalism will not work,” she said.

She further disclosed that the North wants the South-South to forfeit the Amnesty programme, Ministry of Niger Delta and NDDC in exchange for revenue sharing.

“We all understand that there is a very critical need for us to begin to find ways forward” she said, maintaining that sacrifices would have to be made.

“Over 50 years of the oil and gas resources being used, we really cannot count ourselves amongst manufacturing countries; we cannot count ourselves among the powerful economies (that we should be).

“We count ourselves among the poor; we count ourselves among the corrupt, we count ourselves among countries that don’t tell themselves the truth.

“All of these things must change if we are going to survive as a country,” she said.

National Conference: Analysts Advise Nigerians To Focus On Real Issues

Sunrise UrantaA member of the Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue, Tony Uranta has asked Nigerians to give the upcoming National Conference a chance to start before criticizing its chances of serving the purpose for which it was convened.

He was speaking on Channels Television weekend programme, Sunrise, where he stated that the composition of the delegates to the conference had only 72 nominated by the Federal Government, which is less than 15% of the total number of the delegates and nullifies the chances of manipulation by the Government.

The programme focussed on the activities preceding the conference and the issue of older people making up majority of the delegates came to the fore, as many Nigerians have pointed out. A member of the Editorial Board of National Newspaper, Sanya Oni, agreed with the sentiments but believed that the issue showed the level of capacity of the Nigerian youth.

He added that the youths were doing well in business and in the corporate world on their own “so why is it in politics that they want to be helped?” He said that he didn’t believe things like leadership would fall on the laps of the youths as it was their responsibility to seize the initiative.

Uranta added that the Nigerian youth today was more knowledgeable especially in the digital age, and they have the responsibility to make themselves relevant in the politics of Nigeria.

Legal Practitioner, Malachy Ugwummadu also said that the youths lacked the kinds of robust activities that would position them for leadership. He refused to accept the claim that the present political configuration of the country shuts out the youth.

He cited the National Association of Nigerian Students as an example. He spoke about times in the country when serious national issues were mainly driven by the Students’ body; a situation which he said had degenerated into quest for self-gratification from the current young people.

Northern Elders’ Declaration

The Northern elders have expressed negatives views on the conference, claiming that the delegates were not representing the North, and Sanya feels that this was an unfortunate situation.

He preached that Nigerians really need to understand that there was dire need for the country to talk. He berated what he termed the off-the-curve discussions, the manner in which they dismissed the National Conference, and the provocative statements made during the Northern Elders’ Forum.

He singled out the claims of ownership of the Nigerian oil by the North as highly provocative.

Mr. Uranta, shared the view that the declaration of the Northern Elders’ Forum was a reaction to being left out of the main activities of the National Conference. He argued that they are just a faction of elders as the main elders of the North had warmly embraced the idea and also have delegates attending.Sunrise Natl Dialogue

Mr. Ugwummad, however, believed that the Northern Elders’ reservations should not be totally condemned as many Nigerians including himself were also hard critics of the whole idea.

He asserted that the issues have moved on from agreeing with the idea into the issues of implementation of the resolutions, the large budgets being earmarked for the talks, and the controversies surrounding the subjection of the issues being discussed at the conference to the National Assembly.

Mr Sanya also added that there were too many problems in the country and accepting that reality was the best way forward for Nigerians. He asserted that the need to decentralise power and empower traditional authority were among the issues that needed to be addressed.

Finance And National Security

While explaining the importance restructuring the leadership of the country, Mr. Uranta said “You cannot but have federalism such that the different federating units will have coordinate powers.”

He added as an example that primary education should not be part of the job of a Federal Government as the primary education structures in Nigeria are different in different regions.

He said that the claims by some Nigerians that the groundnut pyramids in the North funded Nigeria would be among matters to sort out, as he argued that in the early 1960s and according to the constitution, each region in the country funded itself and had its own economy, its own flag, anthem, and ran its own affairs.

He stated that discussing such structural issues would determine how well the other matters like fiscal federalism and national security would be treated. He added, “Let that be decided by the people.”

Why Should Anybody Get Paid?

Sanya had to contend with the question asked via social media by a Channels Television viewer. Although he admitted that there was need to cater to the needs of the delegates as they were not expected to be exposed to risks in Abuja, but added that the figures being mentioned as the delegates’ allowances and the total budget of the project were indeed outrageous.

Mr. Uranta, however, shared the view that the budget could be justifiable.

He explained “You don’t expect a Chief Olu Falae to come to Abuja and stay in a Motel or a drive by hotel”

He said “I stay in the Hilton and a room can go for like 58,000 Naira” and Nigerians have to think of all these things as many of the delegates are also retired and old; while some of them would have to come with their wives for the 3 months exercise. He added, “We cannot deny them their conjugal rights”

Mr Ugwummadu added that he hoped that the conference would not ending looking like nothing had been done.

Ogun Announces Nat’l Conference Delegates

The Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun

The Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun has announced the names of the state representatives to the forth coming National Conference scheduled to hold in the nation’s capital, Abuja later in the year.

Governor Amosun charged members of the delegation to use their wealth of experience to chart a course for the continued existence and unity of the country.

Members of the state delegation include, Sir Olamiwun Ajayi, Senator Biyi Durojaiye, Pastor Tunde Bakare, Mr Fola Adeola, Mr Bisi Adegbuyi, amongst others.

The Yoruba Assembly on National Conference had over a week earlier unveiled its agenda for the National Conference, with issues of parliamentary system, fiscal federalism and regional police taking pre-eminence.

The meeting which held at the residence of Sir Olanihun Ajayi in Ishara, Ogun State, was attended by the Governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi and other notable Yoruba leaders from the six states of the South West.

Yoruba Assembly Unveils Nat’l Conference Agenda

The Yoruba assembly on National Conference has unveiled its agenda for the National Conference coming up later in the year with issues of parliamentary system, fiscal federalism and regional police taking pre-eminence.

The meeting which held at the residence of Sir Olanihun Ajayi in Ishara, Ogun State, was attended by the Governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi and other notable Yoruba leaders from the six states of the South West.