|My People: When the Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue (PACND) submitted its report to President Goodluck Jonathan in December 2013, in addition to suggesting modalities for the National Conference itself, it recommended thirty-eight main topics (sub-divided into seventy-eight sub-topics).Now in accepting (in January 2014) and then beginning to act upon the PACND’s report, the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) specifically “accepted” only one non-topic – indivisibility of Nigeria – which “No-Go Area” (in Nigerian parlance) I have now taken the liberty of actually making the thirty-ninth topic (See Table 2 below).
One presumes that the NC will discuss all the topics – and possibly more that are thrown up during the discussions. However, the burning questions to me at this time when I read all of the suggested topics are:
(1) is the NC going to be a mere talk-shop – an EVENT in a hotel in Abuja – to end in a report that might or might not see the light of day? or
(2) a serious PROCESS across the nation, at various venues, sometimes week-days, sometimes week-ends, that will eventually end up in a Popular Constitution approved by a Referendum; and
(3) will three months (the recommended length of time for the NC), six months (my recommended period) or even twelve months be enough to discuss all-and-sundry topics?
(4) if it is an Abuja hotel event, which employed persons (self- or otherwise employed) will be able to devote three months of his or her time to this event – or is this an event planned for the IDLE RICH, and/or the un-employed, and/or the un-employable?
These questions are rhetorical. Assuming therefore that the National Conference being proposed is a SERIOUS EVENT that will lead to a Popular Constitution within a period of time that serious-minded (and otherwise busy) persons can participate in within a reasonable period of time – and episodically go off to engage their constituencies as well as their primary jobs – I have outlined in Table 1, an 18-block, 38-topic list of suggested discussion topics culled from PACND’s list. It is not that the other topics that I have cut out are not important, but they can be considered AOB – Any Other Business – and can be discussed TIME- PERMITTING.
Let the National Conference begin….after the delegates are chosen somehow, which is a separate challenge.
And there you have it. Your thoughts are welcome.
————— TABLE 1: Suggested Priority Topics to be Discussed (in order of importance) – Aluko suggestions
Table 2: Committee-recommended Specified Items For Inclusion on the Agenda of the National Conference
Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.
Sunday Musings: And What Shall We Discuss At The National Conference, Where, And For How Long? By Mobolaji E. Aluko.
February 10, 2014
By Mobolaji E. Aluko