Posted by By Emmanuel Aziken on
A meeting of leaders of state delegations called to resolve the deadlock in the national political reforms conference ended in another deadlock last night, with South-South delegates and Northern delegation leaders maintaining their positions on the divisive issue of derivation.
ABUJA — A meeting of leaders of state delegations called to resolve the deadlock in the national political reforms conference ended in another deadlock last night, with South-South delegates and Northern delegation leaders maintaining their positions on the divisive issue of derivation.
Another meeting has been fixed for Sunday ahead of the scheduled resumption of the Conference on Monday.
Stepping out of the Conference yesterday, the leader of the Northern delegation, Dr. Umaru Dikko nevertheless, scored the Conference a success, affirming that all delegates apart from those from the South-South were resolved on the 17% derivation offered to the South-South delegates.
As the leaders of the state delegations came out from the meeting at the International Conference Centre at about 7.30 p.m., state leaders from the South-South immediately resorted into another meeting at the Rivers State Government Lodge in Wuse II. That meeting was on-going as at press time yesterday.
Stepping out of the meeting, Dr. Dikko told waiting newsmen that the Conference may be forced to make its submissions to the presidency based on the agreements reached as at when the deadlock commenced last June.
His opposite number from the South-South, Chief Edwin Clark, however, reluctantly told newsmen that the conferees were making some progress. He, however, refused to elaborate.
Chief Albert Horsfall, leader of the Rivers State delegation equally affirmed some little progress from the talks.
“The Conference has been a successful one and there is no doubt about that. We have made recommendations which we believe will be able to move Nigeria forward,” Dr. Dikko said.
Noting the near-unanimity of the state leaders on the issues before them, he said:
“On all the issues that the Committee reported on, it reached consensus on all (apart) and only one, issue that of tenure, did it not reach a consensus.
“There are still some people who are saying they don’t accept. The people from the oil producing communities are saying they will not accept the 17% of derivation which was offered to them.”
On what the Conference would do should the stalemate persist, he said:
“Where you don’t agree, you will have to forward your minority report. If the issue of derivation is not resolved, I will still believe that the Conference has achieved much. Do you know how many recommendations we have made? In fact, we have achieved more than 99.5% of our goal.”
Affirming that the majority of the conferees were united on the issue of 17% derivation, Dr. Dikko said:
“It is not the issue of the North against the South-South as it is being painted by several people especially the press."
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