National Dialogue: How Shall We Credibly Choose the 558 National Conference Delegates?

Posted: February 11, 2014 in Uncategorized

MID-WEEK ESSAY:  And How Shall We Credibly Choose the 558 National Conference DelegateMobolaji  E. Aluko, PhD

alukome@gmail.com 

By Mobolaji  E. Aluko, PhD

 

Introduction

In the recently announced Federal Government count of delegates for the upcoming National Conference, a total number of 492 delegates was outlined, broken up into about twenty-seven different constituencies that can be grouped as follows:

(Group 1) Civil Societies  (12 Constituencies) – 120 delegates

(Group 2) Ethnic Nationalities  (1 Constituency) – 90 delegates

(Group 3) President/Federal/State Government-Appointed Delegates (7 Constituencies) – 184 delegates

(Group 4) Political Parties  (1 Constituency) – 25 delegates

(Group 5) Others (6 Constituencies of Retireds & Formers + Traditional Rulers)  –  73 delegates

TOTAL – (27 Constituencies) – 492 delegates

A Few Observations

We will notice that the Government-appointed delegates constitute the largest single block (184 or 37.4% of total delegate count).  Furthermore,  there is in fact scope for serious government intervention in choosing a total of 282  (or 57.3%) of the delegates (Groups 3 – 5).  More worrying is the fact that there is apparently NO specific room for ORDINARY Nigerians, unattached to any elite groups, to make an input.

In this essay, therefore, I urge a re-organization of the blocks of delegates into sharper ones to correct these anomalies.  Furthermore in a departure from less to more, but  for mathematically and politically-pragmatic reasons given below – I suggest five-hundred and fifty-eight delegates: no more, no less.

Why Five-Hundred and Fifty Eight Delegates?

The number 558 can be considered the sum of several blocks of  numbers:

558  =  {520} + {38} = {(130*4) + (38} = {[504] + [16]}  + {[2] + [36]}   = {[(4)*(6)*(6)*(3.5)]   +   [(4)*(4)]} + {[2] + [36]}

First,  all the delegates will be divided equally (130 each) among four GROUPS of delegates, with a Convener designated for each to start the ball rolling, first for DISCUSSIONS within each group, followed by selection or election of delegates: 

(1) Sub-Conference of Civil Societies  SCSS- 130 delegates (4 from FCT + 126 from 6 geopolitical zones (21 each) ; or 2 each from 65 groups, or 5 each from 26 groups, etc.) Convener: Presidents of NBA, NLC and NCWS

(2) Sub-conference of Ethnic Nationalities SCEN – 130 delegates ([2 each from 65 groups], or [4 from 32 groups + 2 from FCT], 5 each from 26 groups, etc.] Convener: Presidents of Afenifere, ACF, SSA and Ohanaeze

(3)  Sub-conference of Elected Legislators SCEL – 130 delegates [4 from Abuja,  + 14 delegates per state  (from Senate (3)  to House of Assembly (6)  to State Assembly (3) to Local Government (2)).]  This is by nature a partisan group. Convener:  Senate President, Speaker of House of Representative

(4) Sub-conference of Nigerian Masses SCNM – 130 delegates (14 delegates per state + 4 from Abuja, selected or elected by the participants themselves from ward level through state level.]   Convener: Campaign for Democracy. SNG, 

Finally, we would have 38 individuals from the following group:

(5) Sub-conference of Government Delegates – 38 delegates [Chairman chosen by President, Secretary chosen by FGN, and one Elder Statesman each chosen by each State Governor]

Thus, the number 520 was carefully chosen so that each group can decide within itself whether it wishes to choose its equally membership  by state (36 states), or by geo-political zone (6 geo-zones), or even by numbers, always including Abuja (FCT) – even if un-equally –  in the mix wherever possible.   Furthermore, if the President/FGN/States insist on choosing some delegates, then the President can confine itself to choosing the Chairman, the FGN to choose the Secretary, and the Governors choose one Elder Statesman each – to bring the total delegate count to 558. Finally, if we presume that the quorum for the conference is one-third, then with five groups less than about 25% each, no one group can by itself form a quorum and/or dominate the Conference. 

Tenure of the National Conference 

After being convened,

(1) each Sub-Conference should meet for two months at various venues around the country to deliberate on issues (no No-Go areas) and choose their delegates for the Abuja-based National  Conference;  then

(2)  the NC should meet in Abuja for two months and come out with an outline of the Peoples’ Constitution;  

(3) the NBA should meet for one month in Lagos to hammer out legal language for the new Constitution, and

(4)  within a month, a Referendum for a Peoples Constitution should be organized and the Constitution voted upon line-by-line, followed by

(5) FORMAL approval by the National Assembly/assent by the President.

This should all be done in good time before the 2015 Presidential Elections PRIMARIES.  If we start this process in April 2014 – before when LEGISLATIVE backing for the NC should be obtained by the President in the National Assembly, otherwise the process may turn out to be a farce – we can wrap it all up in September 2014, and get the new Constitution signed on October 1,  2014

 A great Centenary gift that would be, and there we would have it.

 

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