Luminary, Professor Ben Nwabueze, on Sunday, declined the offer to serve on the national conference panel on health ground. The leader of The Patriots, however, welcomed the initiative, saying it was a bold step.
In his letter to President Goodluck Jonathan, on Sunday, the octogenarian, a former education minister, requested the president to nominate another eminent lawyer, Chief Solomon Asemota, to replace him on the committee chaired by the former university don, Senator Femi Okunrounmu.
In the letter to President Jonathan, said to have been written on behalf of “The Patriots,” Nwabueze, a staunch advocate of a Sovereign National Conference (SNC), congratulated him for taking an indisputable bold step towards ensuring that a national conference was convoked before 2015.
“The Patriots regard this development as epochal and re-affirms the support, which we conveyed to you on the occasion of our visit on August 29.
“It is our fervent hope that nothing would be allowed to stand in the way during the preparation for and execution of the national conference that would finally bring every Nigerian into the mainstream of governance,” the letter read. In another personal letter to the president, Nwabueze explained his reason for declining to serve on the Okurounmu-led panel due to illness.
“I am at present in London and may be away from Nigeria for some time. I will be glad, if I could be replaced in the presidential advisory committee on national dialogue/conference by Mr Solomon Asemota, who is a member of The Patriots,” the letter read.
He disclosed this during an interview with newsmen, adding that the proposed dialogue lacked constitutional backing and was a flagrant abuse of democratic institution.
While stressing that his government would not be a party to it, the Jigawa helmsman said “the only solution to the country’s problems is good governance, while leaders should also abide by due process, rule of law and ethics of leadership.”
According to him, “such conference is a fruitless effort and cannot make any positive impact to the country,” adding that “this proposal is a flagrant abuse of democracy, as we have members of Senate and House of Representatives, who are legally and democratically elected to represent any constituency in discussing national issue.”
He asked if the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), headed by Professor Attahiru Jega, would organise election for those that would participate in the dialogue, or they would be selected through nomination.
“So the idea for the dialogue lacks formula in our democratic society and embarking on such worthless venture is un-ideal,” he said.
Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan will, in Abuja today, inaugurate the national advisory committee on the proposed national conference to be chaired by Femi Okunronmu.
A competent source closed to the forum disclosed this to the Nigerian Tribune in Abuja, on Sunday.
The source revealed that the forum, under the chairmanship of Alhaji Aliko Mohammed, was in full support of the proposed national conference and would do everything possible to make it succeed.
According to the source, “we are in full support of the proposed national conference. There is the need for it amd we are going to participate fully.
“That is why we are converging on Kaduna on Thursday to brainstorm on it and have a common position. We are not afraid of it. We will go there because we don’t want to lose out, as whatever decisions taken at the conference will affect our people generally.”
The source further hinted that any decision taken at the meeting on Thursday would later be communicated to the northern governors, so as to have their inputs, after which it would be presented to the would-be representatives of the region in the conference.
Source: Radio Biafra.