Jonathan declares support for National Conference, mentions limitation



The president said his administration was reviewing the possibility of convoking a national conference.


President Goodluck Jonathan has declared that his administration is not opposed to dialogue among Nigeria’s various ethnic nationalities and is reviewing the possibility of a national conference

Mr. Jonathan said he was not opposed to Nigerians coming together to discuss how they would continue to live together in peace and unity.

Speaking after receiving a memorandum from The Patriots, led by Ben Nwabueze, on the need for a national conference, Mr. Jonathan said that the issue of Nigerians coming together to discuss their future should not be out of place.

He told the group that there has been constant discussion within government on how to create an acceptable platform for a national dialogue that will reinforce the ties that bind the country’s many ethnic nationalities and ensure that Nigeria’s immense diversity continues to be a source of strength and greatness.

“The limitation we have is that the constitution appears to have given that responsibility to the National Assembly.

“I have also been discussing the matter with the leadership of the National Assembly. We want a situation where everyone will key into the process and agree on the way forward,” he said.

He thanked the Patriots for acknowledging the Federal Government’s efforts to implement his administration’s agenda for national transformation.

“As a government, we are totally committed to transforming this country, Positive things are being done and by the grace of God, we will get to where we ought to be as a nation,” he said.

The Patriots’ delegation included Ayo Adebanjo, Solomon Asemota, Chris Okoye, Bola Kuforiji-Olubi, Dan Suleiman, Kimse Okoko, and Michael Orobator.

President Jonathan also welcomed the group’s call for the moral re-orientation of Nigerians, saying that he shared their belief that ongoing efforts at national transformation and development will be greatly enhanced and facilitated by the cultivation of better national ethics and attitudes.

Speaking to journalists after meeting with the President, Mr. Nwabueze, a Professor of Constitutional Law, said the convocation of a national conference was the fastest way to achieve the most needed transformation in the country.

“We have done our own research; and we are not perfect. But our own review is that we have in this country 389 ethnic nationalities.  We need to bring these nationalities around a conference table to discuss how we are going to live together as one country in peace, in stability in security as one country with the aim of achieving national unity,” he said.

Mr. Nwabueze said Nigeria was not yet a nation but a state and the convening of the national conference should be seen “as a matter of priority as soon as possible, in any event before 2015 general elections”.

The Patriots is among various pressure and rights groups that have demanded the convocation of a national conference to discuss Nigeria’s future.


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