Senate demands implementation of the 2014 Confab Report

The Senate on Wednesday urged the Federal Government to look into the report of the National Conference held in 2014.

This was sequel to a motion entitled “The Need for National Unity and Peaceful Co-existence in Nigeria,” sponsored by 107 senators.

In the motion, the senators called for the consideration of the confab’s report to determine the solutions to the current tension across the country.

Leading debate on the motion, Adamu Aliero (Kebbi-Central), who was a member of the conference, said the report of the body was the best route to resolving the issues affecting the country.

“We have to live together and the corporate existence of this country cannot be negotiated. Nigeria must remain one indivisible and indissoluble entity. I agree that there are problems; there are challenges and those challenges should be addressed,” Mr. Aliero, who chaired the Conference Committee on Public Finance and Revenue, said.

“And that was why in 2014 the then president, Goodluck Jonathan, decided to convoke what was called a National Conference and it was a conference where all the ethnic nationalities, states and geopolitical zones were represented.”

“All the issues affecting the unity and stability of this country were thoroughly discussed under the leadership of Justice Idris Kutigi (retd) and co-chaired by Bolaji Akinyemi. A lot of recommendations were made to address these challenges.

“I will recommend that the Senate should ask for those recommendations to be tabled before the National Assembly because a lot of recommendations on all the agitations in all the geopolitical zones were addressed. I don’t know why we are not asking for those recommendations to be brought to us. They should be implemented where necessary.”

Supporting the motion, Jonah Jang (Plateau-North), said he was one of those who fought in the civil war to keep Nigeria united.

The former governor of Plateau State reminded his colleagues that no nation has fought two civil wars and survived, and Nigeria would not be a different case.

The deputy president of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, in his remarks, explained that the report was sent to the Seventh National Assembly towards the close of the legislature, the reason why it was dropped.

Other senators who contributed to the debate took turn to shed light on some of the challenges facing the nation.

According to some of the lawmakers, the causes of regional unrest in the country were mainly due to the socio-political and economic challenges.

They also called for the application of law against persons and groups making offensive statements, which they believe could worsen the conflicts in the country, while others called for the outright restructuring of the federal system of the country.

The lawmakers stated that the unity of the nation was not negotiable and further encouraged Nigerians to “live together in unity and harmony as one indivisible, indissoluble sovereign nation under God”.

They urged all Nigerians to discontinue all actions capable of threatening the corporate existence of the nation.

The motion was unanimously adopted by the senators.

The 494-member confab, which was convoked by the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, came out with far reaching recommendations on the polity, economy and other areas of the nation’s life.

Mr. Jonathan subsequently set up a seven-member committee headed by the then attorney general to “advise government on all matters necessary for the effective implementation of the Report.”

The administration also forwarded the report to the National Assembly for further action but the legislature could not take action on it before its tenure ended in June 2015.

Among the recommendations were the rotation of the office of the president between the north and the south and among the six geo-political zones as well as the creation of 19 new states, including an additional state for the southeast geo-political zone.

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