AS the national conference is gradually winding up its activities, there were divergent views by delegates on the modalities for implementation of the decisions reached at the conference.
The delegates were also divided on the powers of the confab to write a new constitution for Nigeria, in place of the 1999 Constitution.
While most delegates supported the proposition that decisions approved at the conference should be subjected to voting by the Nigerians through referendum, others rejected the idea.
Some delegates who opposed the use of referendum noted that it lacked merit, based on the fact that it had no basis in the Nigerian constitution.
Chief Mike Ozekhome and others, while contributing to the debate, insisted that the conference had the power to write a new constitution for Nigeria.
According to them, President Goodluck Jonathan had, in his inaugural address to open the national dialogue, also confer on the delegates the power to assist him use their arsenals to solve the problem of resolution, which will emanate from the confab.
They bemoaned that the military decree imposed on the Nigerian state by fiat of a military junta could not continue to masquerade as a constitution, recalling that there came a time when the country applied “doctrine of necessity” to solve a rather herculean challenge that would have ushered in instability in Nigeria.
It also claimed that the Nigerian people had lost respect for the National Assembly, adding that citizen now have more confidence on the outcome of the election.
A delegate from Ogun State, Bisi Adegbuyi, was of the view that the 1999 Constitution suffered illegitimacy, adding that “if we don’t take what we do here to the people, we will also suffer the problem of legitimacy.”
Adegbuyi, who gave information towards achieving referendum, said “though we are not elected, we would have been ratified by the people, therefore, the problem of illegitimacy is solved.”
Also in support for a referendum, Lawrence Agubunze said “the conference had proved ‘doubting Thomases’ wrong with the achievement recorded so far,” adding that “the feelings I am getting from Nigerians at home and abroad is that they do not want the far reaching and laudable recommendations of this conference to be tampered with on the basis of the present constitution.”
He noted that the extant constitution of Nigeria (1999 as amended) does not in any way measure upto the expectations of the people, insisting therefore that “the recommendations of this conference should be submitted to referendum,” he said.
In a contrary view, former Senate President, Adolphus Wabara, who emphatically stated that the conference could not do without the lawmakers, cautioned delegates on the inciting members of the National Assembly.
“We cannot do without the National Assembly, as it has the right to alter or amend the constitution,” he said.
Wabara added that whatever was being done at the conference would be complementary to the jobs of the National Assembly.