…oppose Jonathan’s bid to send outcome to National Assembly
Former Vice-President Alex Ekwueme and co-chairman of Southern Nigeria Peoples’ Assembly, SNPA, yesterday listed a 31-point agenda for the proposed national conference.
The Southern leaders also opposed President Goodluck Jonathan’s plan to send the outcome of the proposed national conference to the National Assembly for ratification.
The group, also in a statement by the Coordinating Chairman (South-West), Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Bolanle Gbonigi; Co-Chair (South- East), Dr. Alex Ekwueme and Co-Chair (South-South), Chief Edwin Clark, drew a proposed timetable for the national conference, stating that it should be concluded by June.
According to SNPA, the conference from the date of the inauguration of the advisory committee should be concluded with a new constitution in place within nine months.
Given the proposed timetable, the group said that work of the advisory committee should start from October 7 to November 30; processing and work of conference, December 1 to April 30, 2014; preparation of a draft constitution, May 1 to May 31; and referendum on new constitution, June 1 to June 30.
On the proposed agenda of the conference, the group listed the issues to include: the unity and indivisibility of Nigeria, structure of the federation, true federalism (devolution of powers), fiscal federalism, status of geopolitical zones, form of government and resource control.
Others are local government issues, state creation, regional/state police and other internal security agencies, land tenure system, status of Lagos, Port Harcourt and other historical cities in Nigeria, political and electoral process, revenue allocation and the judicature.
Also on the proposed agenda are issues of federalised judiciary, corruption, anti-corruption agencies, armed forces, single legislative list in the constitution, tri-cameral legislative system, role for traditional rulers, equal representation by geopolitical zones/ federal character principle, indigene/settler relationship, Bakassi peninsular as part of Nigeria, population and census, religion and secularism, tenure of government, immunity clause, gender equality and justiciability of fundamental objective and directive principles of state policy.
On the legitimacy of the conference, the SNPA advised President Goodluck Jonathan to invoke Section 14 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in convening the national conference.
The group added that representation should be on the basis of equality of geopolitical zones while the total number of delegates should not be less than 600 persons with each geopolitical zone represented by 100.
SNPA also insited that the decisions of the conference shall be subjected to a national referendum and shall not be subjected to a review or debate by the National Assembly or any other body, including the executive.
“Upon approval by the people of Nigeria, the outcome becomes the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” the group said.