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Confab fails to resume sitting

Posted by By ANSELM OKOLO, Abuja and KENNY ASHAKA, Kaduna on 2005/06/23 | Views: 286 |

Confab fails to resume sitting


The leadership of the National Political Reform Conference has shifted the resumption of talks to next Wednesday, signalling the non-resolution of the impasse over derivation percentage. The conference was expected to resume this Wednesday after an abrupt adjournment last week.

The leadership of the National Political Reform Conference has shifted the resumption of talks to next Wednesday, signalling the non-resolution of the impasse over derivation percentage. The conference was expected to resume this Wednesday after an abrupt adjournment last week.

In a two-paragraph statement signed by secretary of the conference Reverend Father Mathew Hassan Kukah, the conference secretariat said the postponement was to enable it put finishing touches to the final session of the plenary.
The conference was adjourned without notice last week by its chairman, Justice Niki Tobi, following refusal by delegates from the South-South zone to return to the conference over the pegging of derivation at 17 percent.

Since the adjournment, various interest groups have mounted lobby to either upturn or ensure their preferred positions are endorsed by the conference.
Meanwhile, a coalition of 75 affiliate organizations from the 19 northern states has disowned the northern delegates to the conference for opposing the 50 percent derivation formular demanded by the oil producing states.

The coalition, which rose from an emergency meeting in Kaduna, under the aegis of Arewa Peoples Coalition (APC), said 50 percent derivation for the people of the South-South if endorsed by the confab would be a blessing in disguise to the North as it will make its leaders pursue an agricultural and solid mineral policy that would spin foreign exchange for the nation.

In a communiqué signed by the coalition chairman and public relations officer, Alhaji Mohammed Isah and Mallam Abdullahi Idris respectively, the affiliate organizations said they were tired of playing the role of second fiddle to economic development of the country.

According to the coalition, "we must all be participants in contributing to national growth in order to avert a situation where one section of the country will be cheated. It would be recalled that in the early 1960s, agriculture was the mainstay of the country’s economy. The discovery of oil relegated that sector to the background. All hands must be on deck to revive agriculture and to also put solid mineral sector on stream.

"We support all efforts to keep the unity of the nation through the promotion of dialogue at the confab which will ultimately lead to the strengthening of the areas of economic strength of the components parts of the country.
"In this regard, we advised the delegates to give their backing to the resource control concept being agitated by the South-South. At the same time, our representatives should also see this situation as an avenue to seek the support of the oil producing states and the federal authorities as they embark on the development of agriculture and solid mineral sectors. Anything short of this, would not promote the corporate unity of the nation.

"Northern delegates, we insist, should ensure that 50 percent derivation sought by their brothers sailed through the floor of the conference and keep away from further issues that may rock the boat of our nascent democracy and the unity of Nigeria. This is the only way we can move ahead as a people," the group pointed out.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.