- Kills proposed ‘new constitution’
The 2014 National Conference, inaugurated in March, came to a close yesterday, with delegates rejecting the proposed new constitution which if adopted would have given President Goodluck Jonathan the constitutional right to vie for third term in 2019.
A motion sponsored by a northern delegate and former Minister of Police Affairs, Alhaji Adamu Maina Waziri to slightly amend an earlier motion for a change in the nomenclature of one of the volumes of the reports from “New Draft Constitution 2014” to Proposed Amendments to the 1999 Constitution was unanimously adopted by the delegates.
Maina had, in a motion to amend an earlier motion, sponsored by High Chief Jerry Okwuonu and a former governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili and seconded by Hon. Orok Otu Duke, stressed the need to cultivate a conducive environment for delegates to validate and adopt the final report of the Conference.
“We the undersigned delegates, hereby offer and endorse the following observations and recommendation that seek to facilitate the process and lead to amicable ending of the Conference proceedings.
The motion, titled: “A plea for happy ending of National Conference” noted that the Secretariat of the Conference on August 11, 2014 tabled before delegates a draft report contained in three volumes that are broken down in seven chapters.
According Maina, “In the spirit of the consensus building cultivated by members and to maintain the bridges built during the Conference, we urge all delegates to subscribe to this plea.”
The motions, when put to voice vote separately by the Chairman, received a unanimous acceptance by the delegates, thereby putting a final nail to the planned new constitution.
Spontaneously, all the delegates stood up and enthusiastically sang the old National Anthem “Nigeria We Hail Thee”.
The chairman, Justice Idris Kutigi, then called on Chief Richard Akinjide to formally move a motion for the adoption of the final Conference Report. Chief Akinjide, while moving the motion, recalled his days in parliament before Nigeria gained independence and also after independence and noted that it was an honour to be called upon to move a motion for the adoption of the final report of a “very successful conference”. The youngest delegate to the Conference, 24-year old Miss Yadoma Bukar Mandara, seconded the motion.
Chief Mike Ahamba, who seconded the motion for adjournment said the day was a day of pride and honour because “when we came here, nobody expected us to end this way…We have disappointed the skeptics.”
It could be recalled that recently, the Northern Delegates Forum (NDF), chaired by a former Inspector-General of Police, Alhaji Ibrahim Comassie, addressed a press conference alleging that the conference was planning a new Constitution that will enable President Jonathan and Governors to go for a third term under the cover of running under a new Constitution.