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Published On: Wed, Aug 13th, 2014

New constitution: Northern, Southern delegates in make-or-break debate today

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National-conferenceBy Patrick Andrew & Ochiaka Ugwu

A head of today’s debate for the final consideration of the harmonized report of the National Conference, delegates from the North and their counterparts from the South have held strong but opposing views regarding the draft new constitution allegedly smuggled into the conference report.

While the northern delegates have stood their grounds that the new constitution is laced with a third term agenda, their Southern counterparts denied existence of a third term plot. And today, the venue of the conference promises to be fully charged as the delegates are set to flex muscles on the vexed issue.

Kutigi’s smart move yesterday also saved the Conference from unnecessary fireworks. Prior to yesterday’s proceedings, core northern delegates had drafted a proposal, which they planned to read during the meeting and then submit same to the secretariat.

Sensing that there was going to be trouble, Kutigi told delegates they could submit their grievances about any section of the draft documents to the Conference secretariat, after which the necessary corrections will be effected.

In his brief remarks, Kutigi told the Conference: “I welcome you back after the break of the past two weeks. We are in our final lap of the Conference. I apologize for the inconveniences you might have experienced for the shift in date of our resumption. “When you look at the heavy volume made out of the draft report, the notes and proceedings, as well as the 1999 constitution, with amendment, proposed by you, then you will understand the amount of work we undertook in preparation for this week’s meeting. “Let me at this stage, stress this point. We have prepared this draft report to the best of our ability and with all honesty. But we are human beings who can make mistakes.

“We are therefore making available copies of the draft so that if we have any doubt about any issue, you can cross check. If you have any doubt about the veracity of any issue, you can cross-check with the votes and proceedings and then raise the issue and corrections will be accepted.

“Let me repeat. We have prepared the main report with all honesty and diligence. Any mistake will be due to human error and without any ulterior motive.

“We have been thinking of how to go about it without having any problems. Since everybody has a copy of what we are to consider, everybody should write what he intends to correct and submit to the secretariat.

“We want you to write whatever correction you have. Bring it to the secretariat and we will tabulate it. For that reason, we shall be suspending this session in order to allow delegates put down their


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