N/Confab: National Council Of State’s Approval Only Boosts Jonathan’s Morale

A legal practitioner, Kenneth Odidika, on Wednesday said the approval given by members of the National Council of State on the modalities of the National Conference only boosts the President’s morale and not that of the people.

“That endorsement by the National Council of State is a boost to the morale of the President not to the morale of Nigerians,” he said.

On Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Odidika said there was no way 160 million Nigerians would agree on the modalities, pointing out that the fact remains that majority of Nigerians want to talk so as to decide how to live together.

“Nigerians want to live together but they want to decide how they are going to live together.”

According to him, those who are against the conference have the right to be heard but “it doesn’t mean we have to do what they are asking for or what they are advocating.”

“Remember that most of the people who are now speaking against this same conference were those who had been clamouring for it over time.”

He argued that the naysayers were in such position because they were not in charge of the process.

He also countered arguments that the Conference was coming at the wrong time, saying that the 2015 election, which is scheduled for February 2015, gives enough time for the Conference to hold as it would probably end in May or June 2014.

Mr Odidika stressed the importance of the conference which is expected to address issues bothering the minds of citizens. One of such issues is the current system of governance, which, according to him, “is flawed”.

He argued that the ‘Federal Republic of Nigeria’ “is just an appellation”.

“We are not a Federal Republic. We are not practicing federalism. If you recall when we had the regions was the time Nigeria was developing. The North, East, West and mid-West. That was why Ahmadu Bello was not interested in coming to Lagos to come and be your prime minister, because he had work to do in the North.

“Opara was there, very busy in the East, after Nnamdi Azikiwe while Awolowo was very busy here, developing the regions.

“That was federalism,” he said, adding that the current system of government is unitary, “but we call it federal.”

On arguments that good governance and proper practice of the constitution will make the need for a Conference unnecessary, Odidika said “even the constitution is flawed in several respects.”

He also stressed the need for the different zones to make progress at a pace determined by them and not the Federal Government. “Practicing the constitution the way it is now will not get us to where we are supposed to be.”

He also said that the reason representatives at the House of Representatives and Senate have not been able to correct the faults in the system is because they are overwhelmed by the number of issues they have to attend to.

My Odidika expressed hope that the success of the Conference would affect the elections in 2015. He added that the changes may not “necessarily be in favour of either the President or the opposition.