So, what’s the fate of the Constitutional Conference?
Dr. Goodluck Jonathan on March 16, 2014 inaugurated the National Conference at the National Judiciary Institute in Abuja. The conference had 492 delegates which comprised ethnic nationalities in Nigeria, professional groups, political representatives, civil society groups amongst others. They were expected to deliberate on how to resolve the country’s constitutional challenges. They were also expected to form a consensus and advise the federal government on the legal framework, procedures, options for integrating decisions and outcome of the conference in the nation’s constitution.
Many Nigerians including the President-elect General Muhammadu Buhari from the onset criticized the conference saying that the reported 7billion naira ($43m; £26m) budgeted for it was unnecessary wastage of time and funds. The event lasted for five months and the president, chairman of the national conference as well as some members of the public were happy with the outcome/result. Some recommendations made at the end of the conference include scrapping the current system of 774 local authorities, creating 18 new states with equal spread around the country, revenue allocation and reducing share of national income going to the federal government increasing share of the states, modifying presidential system of government that combines the presidential and parliamentary systems of government, and that power should be shared and rotated at all levels of government.
The deliberations have ended. Nigerians wants to know how much was actually spent. After the submission of the report in August 2014 President Goodluck Jonathan promised to implement it but nothing have been said or heard about it. If nothing gets done about the outcome of the conference, what would happen to the monies that were spent in convening the conference? Was the exercise really worthwhile? What will happen to the conference resolutions? Will the new government implement these resolutions or inaugurate another body or group?
Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ,
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