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Let the conference be now (3)

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By Eric Teniola

This is the concluding part of the article. The second part focused on the panel’s task of consulting widely with Nigerians

FOLLOWING a plenary session that lasted for weeks, the Conference was broken into 20 committees that included Public Finance and Revenue among others. Principal officers of the Conference were Chairman, Justice Idris Kutigi (retd), Vice Chairman Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, Secretary Dr. Valerie Azinge.

Main committees: Devolution of power committee, political restructuring and forms of government national security; environment; politics and governance; law, judiciary, human rights and legal reform, social welfare; transportation; agriculture; society, labour and sports; public service; electoral matters, foreign policy and diaspora matters, land tenure matters and national boundary; trade and investment committee, energy; religion; public finance and revenue generation, science, technology and development immigration.

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Prominent people who attended the conference were Aremo Olusegun Osoba, Senator Musa Adede, Dr. Tunji Braithwaite, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Chief Richard Akinjide, Chief Olu Falae, Chief Afe Babalola, General Ike Nwachukwu, Iyom Josephine Anenih, Senator Jim Nwobodo, Chief Mike Ahamba, Senator Azu Agboti, Chief Peter Odili, King Alfred Diete Spiff, Edwin K. Clark, Daisy Danjuma, Prof. Evara Ejemot Esu, Chief Nduese Essien, Prof. Ambrose Okwoli, Alhaji Abdulahi Ohoimah, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, Mr. Dogara Mark Ogbole, Prof. Jerry Gana, Gen. Jonathan Temlong, Prof. Jibril Aminu, Alhaji Ahmadu Adamu Muazu, Ibrahim Bunu, Amb. Yerima Abdullahi, Mr. John Mamman, Alhaji Adamu Waziri, Alhaji Umaru Musa Zandan, Prof. Mohammed Jumari, Mallam Tanko Yakassai, Senator Ibrahim Idah, Hon. Justice Usman Mohammed Argungu, Prof. Sambo Jinadu, Ishia Aliyu Gusau, General A. B. Mamman, Gen. Zamani Lekwot, Maj. Gen. Alex Mshelbwala, Brig. Gen. D. O Idada-Ikponmwen, Group Capt Ohadomere, Gen. Raji Rasaki, R. O. Osanaiye, AIG (retd), Alhaji Mamman Misau, AIG (retd),  Alhaji Bashiru Albasu,  AIG (retd.), Chief Nicholas  Nkemdeme, CP (retd), Barr. J. I. Ebinum, DCP (retd), Barr. Samuel Adetuyi, CP (retd), Chief Jeremiah Okwuonu, A. K. Horsfall, Mr. Iliya Danga, Chief Babatunde Ala, Amb. B. M. Sani and Amb. J. K. Shinkaiye. Others were His Royal Highnesses, Alhaji Dr. Zayyanu Abdullahi, Emir of Yauri, Alhaji (Dr.) Nuhu Mohammed Sanusi, Emir of Dutse, Dr. Muhammadu Barkindo Mustapha, CFR, Lamido of Adamawa, Alhaji Abdullahi Ibn Muhammad Askirama III, Emir of Askira, Alhaji Sulu Gambari, CFR, Emir of Ilorin, Elder Jacob Gyang Buba, Gbong Gwom Jos, Oba Michael Gbadebo Adedeji, JP, CON, Ariyowonye Lim Owaoye of Okemesi, His Royal Majesty, Oba Arc. Aderemi A. Adedapo, Alayemore of Ido Osun, His Royal Highness, Eze (Dr) Cletus I. Illomuanya, Obi of Obinugwu, His Royal Highness, Eze Elder Agom Eze, OON, Dr. Edmund Daukuro, FNSE, Amanyanabo of Nembe Kingdom, Chief Nosakhare Isekhure, Chief Priest of Benin Kingdom and HRM Ismail Danlami Mohammed, Sarki of Karshi. The idea of holding a national conference when in crisis is not new in Nigeria. I remember a conference was summoned by the then Lt. Col. Yakubu Gowon, less than 65 days after he took over power.

The conference met between September 12 and 28 and again between October 28 and November 4, 1966. At that time there were four regions in Nigeria, mainly the North, Mid-Western, West and Eastern regions. No delegation from the East attended the second session of the conference because of the political situation at that time. Sixteen major issues were discussed at that conference.

These were the form of government and component units, head of state, central government, central legislature, judiciary, central civil service, finance (power to raise revenue, the allocation of revenue and national debt), defence, police, external affairs, immigration and emigration, banking, currency, monetary policy, external loans, transport and communications, higher education, concurrent powers and planning (including the equitable distributions of capital investment).

The Northern delegation included Sir Kashim Ibrahim, Alhaji Inua Wada, Mallam Aminu Kano, Chief Joseph Sawuan Tarka, Alhaji Abdul Razak and Chief Josiah Sunday Olawoyin. The Lagos delegation included Alhaji Femi Okunnu and Alhaji Lateef Jakande. The Eastern delegation was led by Professor Eni Njoku. Other members from the East included Chief C.C. Mojekwu, Chief E. Eyo and Chief Matthew Mbu.

The Midwest delegation was led by Chief Anthony Enahoro, and comprised Dr. Mudiaga Oge. The Western delegation was led by Chief Obafemi Awolowo and it included Professor Hezekiah Oluwasannmi, assisted by Professors Ayo Ogunseye, Sam Aluko and Akin Mabogunje. That is not to say a conference will solve all our problems, but it will give us a platform for us to exchange ideas and maybe iron out our differences. A conference may halt our present drift to anarchy.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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