The National Conference leadership on Thursday adopted the change of its document titled “Draft Constitution 2014” to “Proposed Amendments to 1999 Constitution” following controversies it generated among Nigerians and delegates.
This change was effected following a joint motion by Chief Jerome Okwuonu, representing South East and Dr Peter Odili, former Governor of Rivers.
Before the new amendment, the document had generated so much controversies among delegates over its intention.
The duo, in the motion, had called on delegates to mandate the conference leadership to correct the final report as noted by delegates, having gone through the reports.
However, in an amendment to the motion, Alhaji Adamu Waziri, representing elder statesmen, said there were “human errors” in the document.
“We like to suggest as a way forward that volume III should be re-titled to read Draft Resolutions or proposals to amend the Constitution of the Federal Republic 1999.”
Following the motion and the amendment, Conference Chairman, Justice Idris Kutigi, put it to voice votes and the amendment was overwhelmingly supported by delegates.
“Yesterday when I took your permission to meet the elders of the conference, that was what we equally agreed upon too.
“I wanted to propose it to you to adopt but since it has been made under the amendment to the motion, I think it has been carried.
“But what we agreed when the elders met with the leadership yesterday was that we changed the name only,” he said.
Subsequently, the conference also authorised the secretariat to effect the amendments on behalf of delegates.
Some delegates had faulted the inclusion of “2014” in the title, which was accompanied by a Bill to the National Assembly, saying it portended unanticipated consequences for the polity.
The delegates said that the consequences of the draft constitution could be automatic “third term” for the current president and vice president, as well as governors and their deputies.
NAN also reports that Kutigi had, at plenary on Wednesday, defended the draft constitution, saying it was the amendments proposed by the delegates and absolved the leadership of any hidden agenda.
The conference concluded its five-month old assignment after adopting its final report.
It was inaugurated by President Goodluck Jonathan in March to dialogue over matters of national importance and find ways of strengthening the unity of the country.
The delegates were appointed across the nation and comprised political, traditional leaders and civil society groups as well as professionals from various fields.