By Ikechukwu Okaforadi, & Ibrahim Sidi Muh’d, Gusau
Ahead of the national conference slated for Monday by President Goodluck Jonathan, more interest groups have continued to protest over their exclusion from the delegate list released by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
Some of them have called on federal government to expand the delegate list to enable them field representatives who would present their interests at the conference.
These agitations came on the heels of the decision by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Anyim Pius Anyim, to adjust the delegate list such as to reflect the demands being made by the various interest groups.
It would be recalled that the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), had earlier protested over inadequate representation in the delegate list, asking government to expand the scope to accommodate more interest groups.
Similarly, the Itsekiri tribe in the southern part of Nigeria also protested that despite their numeral strength, the federal government failed to allocate a slot to them, who would represent them in the proposed national conference.
While the Nupe tribe in the north has lamented over their exclusion from the delegate list, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the North West also condemned the Confab, saying that of the 14 delegates from the zone, only one person is a Christian.
Muslims in the South west have also complained of exclusion in the conference, pointing out that only one delegate in the 14 members from the region is a Muslim, expressing doubt that their interest would not be protected in the conference.
Adjusted Confab delegates list
Meanwhile, in the adjusted delegate list released by the SGF, Dr Kunle Olajide, from Ekiti State has been named to replace Chief Afe Babalola as delegate to the Conference, based on the request by elder statesmen.
Also, Alhaji Ibrahim Yaro, the Etsu of Bwari, replaces Alhaji Ismail Mohammed, Sarki of Karshi on the request of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria.
Mrs Millicent Okoronkwo replaces Mrs Love Ezema, based on the request by the National Council of Women’s Societies of Nigeria, in addition to other adjustments.
JAF warns organized labour movement against participation
Joint Action front (JAF) has called on the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) to reconsider its position to participate at the proposed national conference.
Speaking at a press conference titled ‘Jonathan Conference is an Exercise in Futility’ in Lagos yesterday, JAF Secretary, Comrade Abiodun Aremu said labour movements have no business to partake in the conference.
He said, “In as much as we recognised the right of our partners – NLC and TUC to their independence of decisions on critical national issues, such as the issue of Jonathan National Conference (JNC), which they have endorsed to participate.
Similarly, the group said there are germane issues that affect the generality of the working people which the conference doesn’t have as its agenda.
ACPN wants equal representation for parties
Meanwhile, the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) has called for equal representation for all registered political parties at the forthcoming National Conference.
The National Secretary of the party, Alhaji Ganiyu Galadima, made the call in an interview with journalists yesterday in Kaduna.
Galadima said the ACPN was in support of the conference, adding: “but we disagree with the representation; it was a wrong selection’’.
He suggested that each political party should be allocated two slots, saying that giving only five parties representation was “inadequate and unacceptable’’.
Zamfara JYIO condemns Confab
Zamfara state Joint Youth Islamic Organisations (JYIO) yesterday, called on the Muslims delegates to boycott the forthcoming national conference pending when the number of delegation is balanced from the religious point of attendance.
The Chairman of the organisation, Engineer Sanusi Kwatarkwashi observed that, as religious-related issues would be discussed at the conference, it has become necessary to consider balanced delegation from both Muslims and Christians of the country.
He further said President Jonathan should not pretend that Christian and Islamic clerics were given equal representation, except the conference has a hidden agenda against Muslims.
CSOs to seek power devolution, LG autonomy
In the same vein, the Coalition of Civil Societies Organisations (CSOs) yesterday in Abuja said it would canvass for devolution of powers and local government autonomy at the upcoming national conference.
Mr Steve Aluko, a nominee of CSOs to the conference, said that the organisations would push for the protection of Nigerians’ rights at the conference.
Aluko expressed optimism that the group’s position would meet the aspirations of every Nigerian.
“First and foremost, we believe in the continuity of the entity called Nigeria. Nigeria should continue as one indivisible entity because we stand to gain more by remaining one. However, it should be a Nigeria where power will not be too centralised at one level of government”, he said.