By Patrick Andrew
Northern delegates were visibly angry yesterday at plenary over issues of states creation following the refusal of the Chairman of the National Conference, retired Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi, to acknowledge nor grant them opportunity to present their position on the matter.
Though debate on state creation of new states had been concluded and 18 new states recommended for creation, Northern delegates had written to the chairman complaining that the voice vote adopted to decide on the matter was not clear.
Accordingly, they had written to the secretariat and thought they would be allowed to reopen the issue. However, when the moment came Justice Idris Kutigi (Rtd) simply ignored the letter, instead asked for amendments or adoption of the minutes of Thursday’s proceedings.
Maigari Dingyadi had raised a concern that some of the Northern delegates had written to the confab leadership on some issues and insisted that if the minutes were adopted, the issues they had raised would have become void.
The delegate from Sokoto said it was imperative that the leadership needed to take a decision on the letter written first and raised a point of order on the issue of Local Governments. But Kutigi insisted that nothing but correction would be accepted.
Further, another delegate from Sokoto, Yusuf Abubakar, from Sokoto State, drew his attention to the letter he said delegates from the northern part of the country had sent to him on some of the decisions taken in the past.
Specifically Abubakar said, “Mr. chairman, it is very important to let us know your reply and we are serious about the issues we raised in the letter. We cannot adopt the minutes without hearing from you,” he said and went to remind the conference that it must abide by its rules that provides for a situation where, when a voice vote is taken and some delegates are not satisfied, those delegates have the right to call for a division.
Still, Kutigi ignored him and maintained that nothing less would be entertained other than correction on the minutes and not fresh issues in line with the provision. He then called for further amendments to the reports, if there were any. Abubakar insisted that the issue he raised must be addressed, saying that the conference had taken some decisions in error.
A labour delegate, Mr, Issa Aremu, in his contribution, also faulted the recommendation for the creation of states, saying that it was wrong to create more states when those in existence according to him, were battling to pay salaries.
This comment further emboldened Abubakar who stood up and said, “We are making error because the proceedings are wrong. I won’t sit down because these are fundamental issues.
“It is my privilege under Order 10 Rule One that says all decisions shall be by consensus or be decided by 70 per cent of delegates present. I called for a division, but we are being ignored. We have to use the law and not convention.”
At this point, Kutigi became angry and said, “I can rule you out of order. I, then rule you out of order.”
Also speaking on the issue of states another delegate, Aisha Madawaki, wondered how the names of the states were arrived at, and demanded the modalities used, insisting that the delegates were not consulted.