By Patrick Andrew
History was made yesterday when for the first time in the history of constitutional conferences in Nigeria all delegates nominated or elected turned up for the inauguration of the confab.
Yes, 492 delegates nominated by the federal and states governments all graced the opening ceremony of the sixth National Constitutional Conference of Nigeria. Well, it was a full house of delegates,
something many had hitherto thought impossible going by the spate of criticisms that had trailed their nominations, and even the confab itself.
Peoples Daily recalls that in the last exercise put together by President Olusegun Obasanjo, there were high profile withdrawals.
Professor Wole Soyinka withdrew, so did Bale Usman and a number of others.
In this, apart from Prof Ben Nwabueze, who had earlier withdrawn for age and health reasons, none adopted the option of not participating in the talk shop in Abuja. They were all present and wore smiling expectant faces.
Well, history has it that Chief Obafemi Owolowo, of blessed memory had chosen not to associate with the 49 other wise men assembled by late Gen. Murtala Muhammed, a conference that gave birth to what eventually adduced the 1979 constitution. Whatever his reasons the exercise was held and a constitution was produced, more was certainly the pity for the late sage.
Someone yoked yesterday that the stakes are too high for any nominee to turn down. According to him, each delegate will earned N112, 000 per day, such a lucrative sum to turn down for whatever reason. That may be true one never knows when such opportunity for a free meal will be come again.