Members of the Igbo Leaders of Thought have declared the ongoing National Conference, as presently constituted, “a failure and waste of tax payers fund.”
They said on Monday in Enugu that the 75 per cent majority controversy and other ground rules that slowed down full commencement of the conference woud not have arisen if the organisers were diligent and had consulted properly.
Members of the ILT spoke after an emergency meeting in Enugu.
Leader of the group, Prof. Ben Nwabueze, who articulated its position, also said non-adherence to selection of delegates based on ethnic nationalities was another challenge that might derail the conference from achieving its set objectives.
The group, however, said that despite its belief that the conference might not achieve the expected objectives, it still believed that something good could come out of it.
“Ethnic nationalities are the best suited to solve Nigeria’s problem. You can’t achieve anything except the ethnic nationalities come together.
“We all individually belong to an ethnic nationality. We cannot run away from that; it is a sociological reality,” said Nwabueze.
He said, “The problem is how you coalesce 389 ethnic nationalities? The day you find the answer to this question, then Nigeria’s problem will be solved.”
Nwabueze noted that at a meeting of ethnic nationalities conference recently organised, only 58 ethnic nations attended.
He added, “They spent millions organising it, meaning that mobilisation requires the government intervention and funding.”
On the crisis that greeted the voting pattern at the confab, Nwabueze said it was needless and avoidable ab-initio.
He said, “The problem of 75 per cent shouldn’t have been there. The 75 per cent is impossible to achieve. Muslims already, not the North as a whole, are over 190 (about 34 per cent). They have equally created Northern Delegates Forum. And the other day, the Sultan led a delegation to the President where they complained. I would have said let them try and achieve a consensus, but where it fails, they should go for absolute majority, not necessarily on percentage.”
He explained that even the 70 per cent said to have been agreed on by leaders of the delegation, would still be difficult to achieve.
According to him, absolute the majority, which means majority of 492 delegates and not simple majority, which is the majority of delegates present at a particular sitting, would have taken care of the problem.
The group, however, resolved to remain a permanent advisory body to provide advice to Nigerian government and Ndigbo on national issues.
Nwabueze said the group came into being after the announcement by President Goodluck Jonathan during his independence anniversary broadcast last year to convoke a National Conference.
He also dispelled insinuations that the group was being bankrolled by governors in the South-East zone.
Nwabueze said members of the group, including himself and a member of World Igbo Congress, Dr. Obi Thompson, bore the cost of printing the books and other documents which were distributed free of charge to Ndigbo, both at home and in the Diaspora.
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