ABUJA – Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, National Conference Deputy Chairman, warned on Monday that the conference could drag beyond this year because of some contentious issues.
Akinyemi identified the contentious issues as those on Religion and Land Tenure.
His warning came on the heels of incessant points of order raised by delegates over the contentious recommendation by the Committee on Religion for the scrapping of pilgrim welfare boards.
The committee’s recommendation on establishing Religious Equity Commission (RECOM) to prohibit religious discrimination, victimisation, harassment, hate speeches and for matters connected therewith, also generated controversies.
In addition, the recommendation by Committee on Land Tenure that the Land Use Act should be expunged from the constitution had generated disagreements, among delegates.
Amendments proposed by the leadership to the recommendation over the report of Land Tenure committee and presented by Akinyemi to the plenary, was overwhelmingly rejected.
Similarly, amendments proposed through a motion by Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) to arrive at a consensus over RECOM, was similarly rejected by delegates.
Akinyemi warned that the continued division over the issues was impeding the progress of the conference, which had no luxury of time.
“On this religion thing, if the conference accepts, it accepts; if it doesn’t accept, we take it back and we continue.
“At this rate, we’ll be here until next year except that you’ve only been given just another one month,” Akinyemi warned the conference.
The deputy chairman said the votes on the contentious issues were still close and that leadership would continue to employ consultations to arrive at consensus.
He said there had been consultative meetings over the issues but expressed concern that such consultations were taking too long.
According to him, there is the need to reach consensus on them as soon as possible for the conference to make progress.
Following the contentions generated by the recommendations, the presiding officers put them in “bracket”.
To make headway on Land Matters, the leadership appointed some delegates from every section of the country to meet and resolve the impasse.
Consequently, voice votes for and against the contentious issues had been too close to rule on, forcing presiding officers to put them in abeyance since Tuesday last week. (NAN)