Vice-Chairman, National Conference, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi
The National Conference may end in chaos as it winds down its activities, Sunday Punch has discovered.
Crisis has hit the National Consensus Group of the confab, which was set up to keep the conference and delegates in focus, despite conflicting views and different positions on issues.
The consensus group was created on the fourth day of plenary at the National Conference after delegates failed to agree on the voting procedure to be adopted for the confab.
The 50-member group was responsible for resolving the lingering crisis over whether the conference should adopt a consensus or take decisions on two-thirds majority.
Some members of the group are High Chief Aleogho Dokpesi, Chief Edwin Clark, Gen. Ike Nwachukwu, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, Prof. Jerry Gana, Ibrahim Coomassie and Prof. Anwalu Yadudu. They were selected from the six geopolitical zones of the country.
Our correspondent however gathered that a crack appeared in the group as Yadudu resigned his membership and formed a splinter group, with the aim of opposing some of the issues agreed upon by the leaders of the six zones.
Yadudu, in his undated letter to Dokpesi, stated that he and his group would no longer be part of the meetings. “I wish to state, with regrets, that our representatives have been directed to take no further part in the process” of deliberations by the committee, he said in his letter to Dokpesi.
Before the split, Yadudu had complained about the draft terms of agreement among the leaders from the six zones, which he felt were not in agreement with some of the states, especially some northern states.
Dokpesi, in his reply to Yadudu, dated June 24, had pleaded with him and others “in the interest of our beloved country to rescind the decision to withdraw from deliberations aimed at building consensus on major national issues at this conference.”
He reminded Yadudu that the “Leaders of Zones Harmonisation Committee were constituted by Chief E.K. Clark, Chief Olu Falae, Gen. Ike Nwachukwu, Prof. Jerry Gana and Alhaji Ibrahim Coomassie in the presence of Prof. Ibrahim Gambari and I.”
The crisis may escalate this week, going by our correspondent’s finding that the two groups have been holding separate meetings on how to tackle each other when decisions will be taken on the last report; that of the committee on Devolution of Power.
The consideration of the report, which is expected to take place on Tuesday, will be followed by discussions on how to put the report of the conference together.
The Deputy Chairman of the conference, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, had called on delegates who wanted to speak on how to put the report of the conference together to write down their names at the conference secretariat.
It was learnt that the Yadudu group might either refuse to endorse the conference report or present a minority report.
Some of the northern delegates under the auspices of the Northern Delegates Forum had on Thursday said they were rejecting the resolutions of the conference taken that day, saying such resolutions must be withdrawn.
Apart from not being comfortable with the creation of 19 states, which would make the six zones to have nine states each, it was gathered that the northern delegates were not happy with the resolutions that modalities for referendum be entrenched in the Constitution and that each state could have its constitution.
A foremost member of the splinter group, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, told SUNDAY PUNCH on Saturday that northern delegates will be going for broke when the conference resumes on Monday (tomorrow).
He said the group was not happy with the conference Chairman and his Deputy, Justice Idris Kutigi and Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, respectively, over the manner decisions were taken at the confab.
Junaid said, “We the northern delegates have met and protested to the leadership of the conference on the way and the manner through which the resolutions were passed.
“We agreed from the beginning that decisions would be taken either by consensus, or by 70 per cent voting. This means that there must be a head count of those in attendance when such decisions are being taken or when there are dissenting voices.
“This implies that there must be head count of delegates when people failed to agree on any issue by consensus. Since the commencement of the conference, this has not been done.”
Although, he said his group made its grievances known to the confab leadership and was assured that the matter would be resolved, he stated, “They cannot take us for a ride. We are going for broke, since they too are deceiving us and are leading without our consent.”
He said his group had met and mapped out strategies on how to achieve its aims but refused to disclose the strategies. He, however, warned that it might be easy for the leadership of the conference to ignore the northern delegates but it would be difficult to ignore the region during elections.
Mohammed alleged that the composition of the conference was skewed against the northern region from the onset. He also frowned at what he called the imposition of Kutigi and Akinyemi on the conference by the Presidency, saying the best option would have been for the delegates to elect their leaders.
But when contacted, the leadership of the conference said it was not aware of the complaints of the delegates.
The Assistant Secretary, Media and Communications of the conference, Mr. James Akpandem, who stated this in an interview with our correspondent, also said the conference would not react to issues that had not been formally brought to its knowledge.
“The conference management is not reacting to such issues that have not been brought to its knowledge,” he said.
Sources close to the management wondered why the delegates, who were part of the decision had turned around, to protest the confab’s collective decisions.
One of the sources said it was unfortunate that some delegates could now “gang up to say ‘no, we were not part of them’ even when they were present at the plenary and the decisions were televised live by some television stations.”
Meanwhile, the capitals of some of the proposed 19 states have been identified.
This was contained in the documents obtained by our correspondent in Abuja, on Saturday.
For the proposed Edu State, which will be created out of the present Niger State, it will be made up of Agagie, Bida North, Edati, Agbakoba, Katcha, Lapai, Labun and Mokwa Local Governments with its capital in Bida.
Apa State will be carved out of the present Benue State and made up of Agatu, Apa, Otukpo, Oju, Obi, Obi, Ohimini, Okpokwu and Ofbadigbo Local Government Areas with capital in Otukpo.
If Kainji State is created, it will be created from the present Kebbi and Niger states and it will be made up of Danko/Wasagu, Fakai, Zuru, Shanga, Sakaba, Nhaski, Yauri, Rijau, Mariga, Magama, Kontagora, Agwara, Borgo and Mashefu Local Governments. Its capital is proposed to be in Zuru.
For the proposed Katagun State, which is recommended to be created out of Bauchi State, it will be made up of Gamasa, Dam-an, Misau, Giade, Shira, Jama’re, Itas/Gadau, Zaki with the capital in Azare.
If Savanna State is created as recommended, it will be from the present Borno State and it will be made up of Gwoza, Chibok, Askira/Uba, Biu, Hawul, Shani, Kwaya-Kusar, Bayo and Damboa Local Governments with its capital in Biu.
Amana State is expected to be created from Adamawa State from Maiha, Mubi North, Mubi South, Hong, Michika and Madagali Local Government Areas with capital in Mubi.
The conference also recommended that Gurara State be created out of Kaduna State, with Sanga, Jama’a, Jaba, Kargako, Kaura, Zango Kataf, Kachia, Kajuru, Chikun, Lere Local Governments as constituent parts. Its capital will be Kachia.
If Ghari is created from Kano State, it will be made up of the following local governments:Bagwai, Bixhi, Dawakin Tofa, Dambatta, Gwarzo, Kabo, Kunchi, Makoda, Rimin Gado, Shanono, Tofa and Tsanyawa. Its capital has not been decided.
Also, the capital of the proposed Etiti State has not been decided, but it will consist of Orumba North, Orumba South, Agwu, Animi, Oji River, Ivo, Afikpo North/South, Okigwe, Onuimo, Ehime Mbano, Umunneochi and Isiukwuato Local Government Areas.
The proposed Aba State will have its capital in Aba town, which is part of the present Abia State. It is expected to be made up of Isiala, Isiala Ngwa South, Obingwa, Aba South, Ugwunagbo, Aba North, Ukwa West, Ukwa East and Osisioma Ngwa Local Governments.
Adada State, which is expected to be created from the present Enugu State, will have its capital in Nsukka. It will consist of Igbo-Etiti, Igbo-Eze North, Igbo-Eze South, Isibor-Uzochukwu, Nsukka, Udenu and Uzo-Uwani.
Njaba/Anim State is recommended to be created from Imo and Anambra states with the capital in Orlu. Local governments expected to be under it are Orlu, Orau, Oru East, Oru West, Ohaji/Egbema, Ogut! Njaba, Isu, Nwangele, Mkwere, Ideato Nirth, Ideato South and Ihiala.
The New Oyo State has no capital yet, but local governments that are expected to be part of it from the present Oyo State are Irepo, Olorunsogo, Oorelope, Saki East, Saki West, Atisbo, Itesiwaju, Iwajowa, Kajola, Iseyin, Afijio, Oyo East, Atiba, Ogoja Oluwa, Surulere, Ogbomosho North, Ogbomosho South and Orire.
The proposed Ijebu State from the present Ogun State will have its capital in Ijebu-Ode, and made up of such Local Government Areas like Ijebu-Ode, Ijebu-North East, Ogun Waterside, Odogbolu, Ijebu East, Shagamu, Ikenne and Remo North.
Ogoja State, which is expected to be carved out of the present Cross River State, will have its capital in Ogoja. It will be made up of Bekwarra, Bokki, Etung, Ikom, Obanliku, Obubra, Obudu, Ogoja and Yala Local Government Areas.
The expected Anioma State to be created from Delta State will also have its capital in Asaba, if the proposal scales through. Local Government areas expected to be under it are Aniocha North, Aniocha South, Ika North-East, Ika South, Ndokwa East, Ndokwa West, Oshimili North, Oshimili South and Ukwaani.
by Olusola Fabiyi