The contentious three quarter or two third consensus voting mode was finally resolved yesterday when the delegates adopted the 70 percent majority proposed by the ’50-wise men’ constituted by the leadership of the National Conference to deliberate on and make recommendations on the issue.
This confirmed Peoples Daily’s report of Friday that the committee constituted to resolve the impasse may settle for 70 percent to rest the contentious issue which had threatened not just to destabilize the conference but divide the country along ethno-religious leanings.
The Deputy Chairman, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, presented the report of the outcome of the consultative meeting to the house, a part of which reads:
“The committee met on the 25th and 26th March, 2014. Deliberations during these meetings were cordial. Delegates worked in harmony to develop and put into effective use, the spirit of consensus building with the national interest at heart.
“At the conclusion of deliberations, members reached a decision to amend Order VI Paragraph 4, XI paragraph 2 and XII paragraph 4 (e) as follows:
“In the case of failure to reach consensus, the matter shall be decided by majority vote of 70 percent of delegates present and voting. That is the recommendation that committee is bringing to you, distinguished delegates,” he said.
Though the deputy chairman had called for deliberation on the recommendation, the overwhelming shout of “no, no” and calls for a motion on the recommendation of the consensus group ranted the hall and he subsequently did.
He had called on Hon. Mohammed Kumalia but he objected and instead, disclosed that Iyorchia Ayu was to move the motion while he was to move a second motion on a relevant subject matter that the conference had hitherto dealt with.
Third Republic Senate President, Iyorchia Ayu, representing the Former Senators Forum, moved a motion that was seconded by former Akwa Ibom Governor, Victor Attah, representing the Former Governors’ Forum, for the adoption of the recommendation.
The delegates subsequently overwhelmingly adopted the resolution even as it also adopted a second motion rescinding the earlier resolution that the powers to recommend the chairmen and deputy chairmen of the respective committees should reside with the delegates.
Proceedings at the conference were stalled last week as delegates failed to reach consensus on whether or not to adopt 66 per cent (two-third) or 75 per cent majority as the voting mode on decisions taken at the conference.
Following the adoption of the recommendation, Kumalia moved that the resolution on Order 12, which empowered the various committees to appoint their respective chairmen and deputy chairmen, be rescinded.
It was eventually put to vote and the majority voted in favour of retaining the original recommendation in the Draft Rule, which had proposed that the Chairman of the conference, in consultation with the Vice-chairman and Secretary and other principal officers, should choose the committees’ chairmen, their deputies and secretaries.
Meanwhile, the leadership of the conference may seek additional funds to pay for more venues to accommodate more committees, following requests that the proposed numbers of committees be expanded.
Vice-Chairman, Prof Bolaji Akinyemi, had informed the delegates of shortage of space for committee sitting and informed them that unless the Federal Government approves more funds, which they intend to request, the present committees pegged at 20 would remain.
“We might approach the Presidency for more money to rent more committee rooms,” he said, in response to repeated requests that the proposed committees be expanded, which they argued were lumped together thereby making some committees too unwieldy.