Former Lagos State Governor and national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu, has again advised that the proposed national conference should be jettisoned, describing it as a deception that will lead to nowhere.
Tinubu, instead suggested that Jonathan should adopt the recommendations of the 2005 National Political Reform Conference initiated by former President Olusegun Obasanjo and expunge the third term provision contained in it.
Tinubu, whose suggestion was contained in his latest statement on the move for a national conference, said adopting the 117 recommendations of the political reform conference set up under the then President Olusegun Obasanjo would not only save the nation’s scarce resources but would have ensured that the efforts of accomplished and experienced Nigerians who participated in the conference are not in vein.
He said Jonathan could dust the report of the Justice Belgore committee and the input of the Mohammed Adoke committee on the political reform conference and forward it for consideration of the National Assembly as part of its ongoing constitution amendment exercise.
"Surely, there is mischief in the air. This is a pointless and needless distraction. I call on President Jonathan to abandon this fruitless path. Let him forward the 118 recommendations of the 2005 National Political Reform Conference minus the toxic third term provision, accompanied by the report of the Justice Belgore committee and the input of the Mohammed Adoke committee, for the consideration of the National Assembly as part of its ongoing constitution amendment exercise.
The former governor had along with other leaders of the APC distanced themselves from the proposed national dialogue, describing the proposal "as a deception and Greek gift, which must be viewed with utmost caution and suspicion."
He also insisted that the proposed national conference is ill-conceived, ill-timed, Ill-motivated, wondering why the Jonathan administration that is demonstrably and incurably incapacitated can successfully oversee and actualise the objectives of such a crucial and sensitive exercise.
Tinubu said it would be proper and in line with continuity in governance for Jonathan not to abandon the efforts of President Obasanjo’s government in the area of constitutional and political reforms.
"For the last 14 years since 1999, Nigeria has had the PDP in control of the federal government. There has thus been continuity of the same party in power at the centre. How then can the Jonathan administration behave as if it is oblivious of the efforts of President Obasanjo’s government in the area of constitutional and political reforms?
"How can the administration behave like the board of a corporation that commences each meeting without reference to the minutes of previous meetings? The simple truth is that the decision of the Jonathan administration to commence another national conference from scratch while completely abandoning what was done in this respect under Obasanjo is a most irresponsible and insensitive waste of the country’s scarce resources.
He listed some of the eminent and accomplished Nigerians who were delegates at the 2005 political conference to include Dr. Uma Eleazu, Senator Mahmud Waziri, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, Chief Edwin Clark, Senator Femi Okorounmu Chief Arthur Nwankwo, Alhaji Sule Katagum, Alhaji Femi Okunnu, Chief Barnabas Gemade, Chief Paul Unongo and Mrs. Stella Onu.
He said the participants also included, Chief Anthony Enahoro, Chief Afe Babalola, Alhaji Sule Lamido, Bishop Mathew Kukah, Dr. Bala Usman, Dr Olusola Saraki, Professor Adebayo Adedeji, Mrs. Tejumade Alakija, Mrs Elizabeth Pam and Alhaji Adamu Ciroma.
According to Tinubu, even if at the end the effort to amend the constitution still proves inadequate, using the reform recommendations, there would have been enough scientific and systematic basis for charting the way forward.
Tinubu further said the Senator Okurounmu advisory committee can be retained to continue consulting and planning for a genuine Sovereign National Conference, which can only meaningfully and realistically take place after the next general elections irrespective of which party wins at the polls.