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•Imoke wants conference decisions enshrined in constitution
By Abayomi Ajibola, (With Agency Report)
Frontline chieftain of apex Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, has declared that All Progressive Congress (APC) cannot stop Yoruba nation’s participation at the proposed National Conference being organised by the Federal Government.
APC which controls five out of the six states populated by Yorubas in the South West had stated that it would not participate in the conference alleging that it was meant to drum up support for President Goodluck Jonathan’s 2015 presidential ambition.
However, Adebanjo in an exclusive interview with Saturday Independent said “in as much as APC, as political party has right to its own opinion and is part of political party in Yoruba, they cannot stop our people from participating at the conference. Afenifere speaks for Yoruba nation and I have presented our position to Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue.
“The position of APC is unpatriotic and should not be taken seriously to mean that they can stop the South West people from attending the conference. We are going to discuss with the rest of the nation,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Governor of Cross River State, Liyel Imoke, has called for a legal framework to incorporate the decisions of the proposed National Conference in the Nigerian constitution.
He made the call in Calabar on Friday when the Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue paid him a courtesy visit at Government House.
Imoke, represented by his deputy, Mr Efiok Cobham, said that his proposal, if considered, would ensure that the huge finances and time expended by Nigeria on the conference would have been justified.
According to him the long awaited national discourse should not be allowed to be “another talk shop where decisions reached will be confined to the dustbin of history.’’
The Governor cited the Political Reform Committee Report and the Oputa Panel Report as some of the reports that had not seen the light of the day years after they were received by the Federal Government.
Imoke commended President Goodluck Jonathan for ensuring the actualisation of the discourse and yielding to the age-long demand by Nigerians on the matter.
He urged the Sen. Femi Okurounmu–led committee to ensure that various input from stakeholders form the agenda
for discussions at the conference.
Earlier, Okurounmu told the governor that the committee was in Calabar as part of its nationwide tour to collate the views of Nigerians on the modalities for the conference.
He said that as much as possible the committee would comply with the directives of the president to ensure that there are no “no go areas’’ and that the discussions were made by Nigerians.
Meanwhile, the Oblong of Calabar, Edidem Ekpo Akpan Abasi, has commended President Goodluck Jonathan for constituting the Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue.
Speaking when he received members of the committee in his palace, the Obong assured the committee that people in his kingdom would attend its interactive session with stakeholders.