By Patrick Andrew
Delegates to the National Conference yesterday closed plenary earlies than usual as they went on Easter break and would resume on Tuesday.
Before closing for the four-day recess, delegates had sought to re-open some of the items that had been resolved but were tactfully turned down by the chairman of the conference, retired Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi, who in his usual jovial but firmed manner insisted all closed items would not be revisited.
Subsequently, Ignatius Kelvin Edet, who is representing the former Speakers’ Forum and from Akwa Ibom state cited Order 9 Rule 9 which stipulated that it would be out of order to re-introduce what had already been settled.
The position met with some shout of no, no while a good number like Obong Victor Attah said insisting on point of order and several motions, delegates were systematically trivializing the enormity of their assignment.
Delegates had debated on the work plan which particularly listed two weeks for committee work, six days for the drafting of the reports from the 20 committees. Most speakers had argued that in view of the enormity and seriousness of the assignment, two weeks would be rather too short for them to do anything meaningful.
Prof. ABC Nwosu had while contributing wondered why delegates were speaking in circles. He said he had had observed that most delegates were long in talking but short on hitting the nail on the head and therefore while away precious time on trivial and warned that it the public would not receiving kindly any request for extension of time because they would think it is a ploy to demand more for delegates.
Consequently, he suggested that delegates should articulate their positions on various items, give reasons for whatever position and why it should constitute part of the overall recommendations and forward same to the secretariat.
“We should collate the bulk point, submit same to the secretariat giving reasons it should form part of the recommendations. We won’t ask for more time. We should rather spend time thinking on what to suggest and write for the secretariat than worked up on point of order and motion,” he said.
Accordingly, Kelvin Edet sought the permission of the chairman to move a motion for the adoption of the work plan and was obliged. Thereafter Ambassador Adamu Aliyu, a federal government delegate, seconded the motion and the work plan was adopted even as a handful of others protested on the grounds that necessary adjustments on the plan ought to have been done before it came into force.