Protests have continued to trail the list of delegates to the National Conference with the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, the Former Elected Local Government Council Chairmen, the Nigeria Union of Pensioners and the Coalition of Civil Society Organisations in the North-East joining the fray.
While MOSOP and NUP alleged that its members were outright excluded, the FELGOCAS claimed that fake delegates were listed as its representatives.
MOSOP, the apex body of the Ogoni, noted that it was unfortunate that the exclusion of its people was coming on the heels of the Federal Government’s failure to confer a centenary award on the late environmentalist, Ken Saro-Wiwa.
Its President, Mr. Legborsi Pyagbara, who spoke through his Media Adviser, Mr. Bari-ara Kpalap, lamented that the Ogoni had fared worse under the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, a Niger Delta man like them.
He said, “Coming on the heels of the just-concluded Nigeria’s centenary celebrations where the name of famous writer and environmentalist, Saro-Wiwa, was deliberately omitted from the centenary awardees’ list that even contained the names of acknowledged corruption magnates and their likes, this exclusion is undoubtedly an indication of the Jonathan administration’s continuous war of exclusion of the Ogoni from the scheme of things in this country.
“We recall, and evidence abounds, that the Ogoni have fared far worse under the present Federal Government than other elected regimes in this country since 1999.
“Also, the government’s failure to implement recommendations of the UNEP environmental assessment report on Ogoni and the refusal to appoint Ogoni into offices, have strengthened our conclusion that the Jonathan administration has unpretentiously declared war on the Ogoni.”
Pyagbara said MOSOP would organise a congress to decide on the next line of action to be taken by it in response to the exclusion of the Ogoni from the National Conference.
In Abuja, FELGOCAS wondered why the names of Felix Akhabue, Nasiru Junji, Abubakar Ahmed, Igberi Nweme, Emmanuel Tsamdu and Shola Ebiseeni were listed as its delegates to the conference.
It recalled that in a February 7 letter to the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, it recommended Iliyasu Danmusa, Hassan Kafayos , Bala Lokoja, Martias Ekweremadu, Emmanuel Soroku, and Adesegun Adekoya as its delegates.
The association therefore faulted the names okayed by the SGF’s office, saying they were strange.
It consequently sent a protest letter dated March 7, 2014 and titled “Reminder/Observation” in which it called for a speedy correction by the SGF’s office.
The March 7, 2014 letter, signed by the National President of FELGOCAS, Mr. Iliyasu Danmusa, reads, “Reference to our nomination of national delegates to the National Conference representing our association, the Former Elected Local Government Chairmen, which was submitted to your office on February 12, 2014 and acknowledged.
“See attached an acknowledgement copy. But to our dismay the published names were not a reflection of our submissions.
“We hope our reminder and observation is treated accordingly.”
Also on Sunday, the NUP protested against its exclusion, saying it could lead to a mass protest all over Nigeria by its over one million members.
In a March 7 letter to the SGF, Anyim Pius Anyim, signed by its National President, Dr. Abel Afolayan, the union argued that it should have been consulted since it was the only union registered and approved by the Ministry of Labour and Productivity for civilian pensioners/retirees.
The letter reads in part, “We discovered that the union was sidelined by the Council of Retired Permanent Secretaries, who have nominated the six delegates to represent the entire retirees across the nation.
“It is our conviction that our union should have been consulted over this matter because we are the major stakeholders representing the interest of the entire civil service retirees/pensioners.
“Ironically, other related retirees’ associations such as the military, the police, and the State Security Service, were all given slots to represent the interests of their members, with the exception of the NUP.”
The union recalled that its earlier effort to correct the oversight was rebuffed by the Permanent Secretary (Special Duties) in the office of the SGF.
The NUP urged President Jonathan to rectify this “ugly situation” as soon as possible.
It added, “We are therefore, strongly protesting the exclusion of our union from the National Conference, which if not quickly redressed, would lead to mass protest by pensioners all over Nigeria.
“In as much as we don’t want to offend President Jonathan, we passionately appeal to him for his quick intervention to save this situation from degenerating into an unmanageable crisis.”
In Damaturu, Yobe State, the CCSO in the North-East said the list of delegates to the conference was not a true representation of Nigerians.
It said from the look of things, the conference was “a jamboree of fraudulent and selfish government agents without the full representation of the people at the local level.”
The Secretary of the coalition, Alhaji Baba Shehu, told journalists that those nominated to represent the CSOs in the North-East were not on the list of delegates.
Shehu said, “We, the CSOs in the North-East, received the news of the delegates in our zone with a rude shock.
“The list is completely strange from the criteria and procedure of selection of the delegates as earlier directed.
“We also noticed that the zone has been short-changed by two delegates. Instead of the four names that we forwarded after our meeting on the 12/02/2014, it was just two strange names on the list.
“We make bold to say that the North-East, more than any other zone at the moment, needs true representation at this conference to discuss its problems. It is rather unfortunate that some people would sit in Abuja and make a decision on such a sensitive matter.
“We therefore see this conference as a jamboree for fraudulent and selfish agents of government. We call on the government as a matter of urgency to revert to the true list of the delegates chosen by the people or consider the conference as a failure even before it gets on the way.”
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