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Ex-minister recommends 1994/95 conference model for national dialogue


By SundiataPOST, Abuja

 Alhaji Mohammed Abba-Gana, a former minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Thursday advised the Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue to adopt the structure of the 1994/1995 Constitutional Conference for the proposed National Dialogue.

Abba-Gana gave the advice while speaking at a stakeholders consultative forum of the committee in Maiduguri.

He said respected and seasoned administrators or Judges must be appointed as leaders of the conference for credibility.

“It is a matter of common sense that National Dialogue of this nature is better managed and supervised by seasoned administrators or justices.

“I will like to recommend the 1994/1995 constitutional conference model where we had distinguished Justice Adolphus Karibe-Whyte as chairman, while Justice Mamman Nasir was Vice Chairman,” he said.

Abba-Gana described the 1994/1995 conference as successful.

“The Chairman and Vice chairman were highly knowledgeable so they were respected by delegates and conference achieved its aim.”

He also suggested that the conference should consist of 75 elected delegates and 25 nominees by government.

“The committee should consider using the existing 360 federal constituencies  to elect delegates to the conference, the election can be done through electoral college arrangement.

“For the nominated delegates, three or four delegates can be nominated from each of the 36 states and the FCT,” Abba-Gana said.

But the Concerned Citizens of Borno, in its memorandum,  said that the committee should work toward organising a Sovereign National Conference as it was the solution to Nigeria’s problem.

“The structure of the conference must accommodate all parts of Nigeria, various interest groups should be also included.

“We should look at the possibilities of a Sovereign National Conference (SNC),” the group represented by Dr Shettima Mustapha, who represented the group said.

He said: “If we opt for a SNC then all elected officials will become irrelevant, because it is now the people that will decide not their representatives.”

Mustapha said that the conference should last for a year with periodic breaks.

He said agenda for the conference should be left open without restrictions or no go areas.

“Let everything about Nigeria and the inter/intra relationship among, and between the component units and her citizens as well as various tiers of government be discussed.

“There should be not be no-go-areas,” Mustapha said.

Mr Ishaya Wada, a civil servant, also supported the call for a SNC arguing that it was the only solution to Nigeria’s problems.

Wada said that each ethnic group in the country must be represented at the conference to ensure justice and fairness.

Alhaji Kyaria Gambo, a representative of border communities in Borno, appealed to the committee to include issues concerning the plight of border communities on the agenda of the conference.

On his part, Mr Isa Muhammed, the National President of National Union of Borno State Students (NUBASS), canvassed for the inclusion of security challenges facing the North-East region on the agenda of the conference.

Muhammed said the conference should also discuss issues concerning youth unemployment.

Malam Mohammed Karaye, a lecturer at the College of Education, Gashua, Yobe, urged the conference to discuss how to revive agriculture in the country.

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