Confab leadership harps on consensus, discourages voting

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ABUJA – The leadership of the National Conference on Tuesday in Abuja, appealed to delegates to work toward reaching a consensus on any issue proposed for decision to avoid voting.

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Chairman of the conference, Justice Idris Kutigi (rtd), told the delegates at the resumed plenary that the best means to arrive at decisions at the conference was through consensus.

Kutigi explained that consensus was better than voting, adding that delegates should only resort to voting when all measures to reach a consensus over any matter had been exhausted.

“The most important way in arriving at any decision in this conference is consensus.

“It is when consensus fails that we go for the 70 per cent and even to reach 70 per cent, the Chairman can adjourn twice or thrice before voting.

“When the consensus fails, the Chairman is allowed to adjourn to allow members to exhaust measures to reach a consensus.

“We are trying to bring Nigeria closer to consensus as much as possible,” Kutigi said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the conference had, on Monday, adopted 70 per cent as the voting mode to be used in arriving at decisions at the conference.

Proceedings at the conference were stalled last week as delegates failed to reach a consensus on whether or not to adopt two-third or three-quarter majority in reaching decisions.

The particular issue in contention, Order VI Rule 3 of the Procedure Rule, provides that any decision in the conference shall be decided by at least a three-quarter majority.

However, while the majority of the delegates wanted the conventional two-third majority to be -adopted in arriving at decisions, some others wanted the three-quarter majority mode to be retained.

This necessitated the leadership to set up of the 50-man consensus group by the delegates, to confer with the principal officers so as to break the deadlock.

Consequently, the conference adjourned plenary for five days to enable the group and the principal officers engage in wider consultation over the lack of consensus.

At the resumed plenary on Monday, March 31, the Deputy Chairman, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, reported to the house that the group had agreed to the use of 70 per cent majority as mode for arriving at decisions of the conference, which was unanimously adopted.

Akinyemi said the consensus group worked in harmony to develop and put into effective use, the spirit of consensus building with the national interest at heart. (NAN)

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