• Progressives unlikely to witness change – Okurounmu
A former governor of old Oyo State, Dr. Victor Omololu Olunloyo, has said that the ongoing National Conference may not achieve anything concrete.
He said the Federal Government allegedly disregarded the advice of the Presidential Advisory Committee on the National Conference regarding tis composition.
This is just as the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Femi Okurounmu, who is also a delegate, said it is unlikely the progressives would get the change they anticipated from the conference.
According to him, the hardline position of core northern delegates to maintain the status quo is frustrating the position of other zones.
The duo spoke yesterday in Lagos at the 2014 luncheon of the Government College, Ibadan Old Boys Asssociation,(GCIOBA)Lagos State chapter.
Olunloyo, who chaired the event, while giving reasons the conference would not succeed, said the government allegedly failed to heed the suggestion of the Okurounmu committee that some of the delegates should be elected while others be appointed.
Besides, he said that it is the same set of people that has not done well for the country that will implement whatever resolution the conference will come up with.
“From all indications, the people we have in authority are still going to use the same old road to pull the country down. They will use the same heartless people to run the nation down,”he noted.
However, he said, “the only thing that gladdens my heart about Nigeria is that it will recover.”
Delivering the keynote address, Okurounmu, who spoke on the topic, “After the conference, whither the nation?,” said there are three categories of delegates in the conference with different agenda. He said while the South-West delegates, supported by the South-East delegates are pushing for devolution of power and regionalism, the minorities consisting of the Middle Belt and South-South delegates are concerned about their marginalization and resource control respectively.
According to him, the third category consists of core northern delegates, who are out to block any change in the structure of the country and ensure the sustenance of the status quo.
He noted that the position of the core North is that they will accept inconsequential changes to the 1999 Constitution, they will not accept a new constitution.
Besides, he said the Northern delegates are also opposed to regionalism, reduction of the President’s power and subjecting the outcome of the conference to a referendum.
“While the South-West pushed forcefully for the realisation of all the elements of their agenda, they found themselves almost in every case pitted against the core North, enjoying only luke warm support from the South-East and a near total indifference from the rest of the country.
“So far, all indications are that the progressives may not have the kind of far-reaching changes that they had hoped for, although there is still some hope that we may have enough departures from the statosquo to justify the submission of the conference outcomes to a referendum preparatory to writing a new constitution
“With the unyeilding posture of the core North, it will seem that appreciable consensus on most issues is superficial. The road to ethno-religious harmony is paved with thorns,”Okurounmu said.
Earlier, the chairman, GCIOBA, Lagos branch, Dr. Wale Babalakin, said the intelligentsia have not lived up to their responsibility.
“Those who know have been relegated to irrelevance, if not oblivion. If this situation is not addressed, and rearranged, it will be very difficult to achieve the Nigeria of our dreams,” he noted.