Friday, April 4, 2014

Drama As Delegates Trade Accusations At Plenary

Delegates at the preliminary sitting

According to Leadership Newspapers some delegates at the ongoing National Conference traded accusations over who is to blame for the rot in some segments of the polity. The delegates were speaking at plenary while commenting on President Goodluck Jonathan’s inaugural speech yesterday.
All the delegates but one, who spoke so far, commended President Jonathan for convening the conference while highlighting some areas of the president’s speech in setting the tone for discussions at the conference. Others also opined that the speech is the best centenary gift to

Nigerians from the president.
For comrade Issa Aremu of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Nigeria need to re-launch itself into the comity of nations. He said: “I agree that patriotism should guide our deliberations. However, we must also be pan-African and global in our perspective. Nigeria cannot be at peace when the rest of Africa is at war and neck deep in avoidable conflicts. So also if Nigeria is not at peace with itself, Africa can hardly prosper. Nigeria cannot afford the luxury of being insular. We must think global and act global.”
Accusations and counter-accusations started when a delegate of the Federal Government, retired General Alani Akinrinade, who in his remarks on the president’s speech, said the belief and blame that the military hoisted previous and present constitutions on Nigeria is not correct as the men in uniform at no time wrote any constitution for the country as Nigerians themselves were assembled to do the job of constitution-making.
“I have no apology to offer on behalf of the military. All the constitutions, which truly were dictated from Dodan Barracks or from Aso Rock, were drawn up by you. Also, you assisted the military to match our country into the gulag. I thought that this is another opportunity for us to throw away this 1999 Constitution that mandates corruption,” the ex-soldier told his fellow delegates.
Disagreeing with General Akinrinade’s position, another delegate said the military cannot be totally exonerated from the rot in the polity since they destroyed democratic institutions by their incursions into governance, hence set back the country.
Also speaking, Senator Ahmed Aruwa from Kaduna State condemned the inaugural speech before making his input, saying it was a speech made under “severe pressure”. The Senator also digressed to hit at a fellow delegate, who is a professor of peace studies, for referring to the late Premier of Northern Region, Sir Ahmadu Bello, as of Fulani stock while making an illustration earlier.
“It baffles me when professors sit here and tell us stories of happenings between the late Sardauna and the late Zik. In the story, it sounds far from the truth. Sarduana played with the Fulani. Sardauna can never call himself Fulani.
“But we sit here to hear a professor telling us a story which many of you here could not believe. That is the garbage they teach our students,” Aruwa countered.
At that point, Dr. Haruna Yerima of the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria raised a point of Order 9 Rule 10, asking the leadership to call Aruwa to order for using an offensive language on a fellow delegate at plenary and on lecturers of Nigerian universities.
“We don’t teach garbage in the universities and no professor here teaches garbage in any university,” Yerima added.
Meanwhile, debate continues today on the president’s inaugural speech as delegates take turns to comment on the presidential address delivered on March 17, 2014 at the inauguration of the National Conference.

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