ABUJA – Delegates at the ongoing National Conference on Monday in Abuja commenced discussions on President Goodluck Jonathan’s conference inaugural speech, with a unanimous call for restructuring of the county.
The discussions, which were part of the agenda for the day, saw 39 delegates taking turns to emphasise the need for unity and development in the country.
Prof. Bisi Aina, a delegate representing Ekiti State, called for social justice, equity and respect for human rights.
Aina urged delegates to concentrate on issues of domestic violence, food security, shelter and high maternal mortality.
She stressed the need for all Nigerians to be tolerant and respect human rights, saying “everybody is important.
“We also have to look into the issue of violence against women because one out of three women is a victim of domestic violence, while an average Nigerian does not have access to food, shelter and other basic needs.
“The solution is to emphasise sustainable development. We need to look at the human person in Nigeria, which President Goodluck Jonathan harped on in his speech while inaugurating this conference.’’
Mr Bisi Adegoye, a delegate representing Ogun, said the collective interest of Nigeria was tied to the welfare of Nigerian citizens.
He said delegates at the conference should try and reflect and re-examine issues that had posed challenges to the country’s development over time.
“We should take an intense retrospection into Nigeria. It is a process of self examination and reflection that Nigeria needs. We need to look back to ask why have we failed.’’
Mr Adekumbi Ayodele, a delegate representing Persons Living with Disability, called for better representation of disabled persons in government.
He decried that in spite of being potentially endowed, Persons Living with Disability were grossly underrepresented in government, both in appointment and elective positions.
He added that “at the end of this conference, we are expected to have a much more inclusive environment.
“We do not have Persons Living with Disability in government despite the fact that we have potential. We expect as high as 30 per cent after this conference.’’
Mr Promise Adewusi, the Deputy President of NLC, said delegates must detach themselves from any form of political, religious or ethnic leaning that would hamper the success of the conference.
He said “political leaders are united in their greed; we must be strategic to de-emphasise those things that divide us.
“We should also reduce the state’s involvement in religion and traditional leaders should lessen their participation in politics.’’
Mr Sampson Agbaru, a delegate representing Rivers, urged delegates to adopt new and better strategies in finding solutions to the problems confronting the country.
He equally called for exhaustive discussions on true federalism so as to make Nigeria better.
He said “if we are not “federal, we should change the name but if we must maintain a federal state, we must know the meaning of federal and operate in accordance with it.’’
The plenary was adjourned till Tuesday, April 1, for continuation of discussions on the President’s speech.
The President had on March 17 in his address to delegates during the inauguration of the conference, urged delegates to use the national discourse as an opportunity to re-launch Nigeria. (NAN)