Former President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday called for the implementation of the report of the 2014 National Constitutional Conference in view of the yearnings by Nigerians for adequate reforms.
Jonathan said this in Lagos at the public presentation of a book by Senator Femi Okurounmu.
What he said:
- Jonathan noted that the report aimed; “to reconcile ethnic differences, heal old wounds and promote peace, adding that the nation needs to implement the recommendations of the conference, in order to make progress.”
- “I believe that the solutions to most of the problems we face today lie in our honest assessment of the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference.”
Passing the buck: According to Jonathan, here’s why he could not implement the report:
- “…the members of the National Assembly, whose duty it was to consider and validate the process, were preoccupied with the battle for political survival.”
He’s partly right to blame the National Assembly, but that’s a selfserving argument. There are two other actors to blame on this matter.
- Goodluck Jonathan: The first is the man in Jonathan’s mirror. For a very long time, the former president was opposed to the idea of a conference. He waited until the twilight of his term to convey the conference. His opponents alleged that his decision to organise the conference so close to the election was in order to court Yoruba voters. The 2014 National Conference Report was submitted to Jonathan in August 2014, in the thick of the campaign season and less than one year to the end of his tenure. That contributed to the non-implementation.
- Muhammadu Buhari: The incumbent president is also culpable.Despite Jonathan’s politics, the Buhari administration which took over was downright hostile to the report. It showed zero interest in considering it despite the fact that huge resources were expended in gathering 492 delegates for almost 6 months. The Buhari government rubbished the idea of governance as a continuum, with the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, saying at a time that the conference was just “jobfor the boys”, and he had no time to read it. In response, the deputy chair of the national conference, Bolaji Akinyemi, asked him to grow up and stop being crude.