The membership of the recently inaugurated Presidential Advisory Committee on National Conference by President Goodluck Jonthan has been faulted by the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People, MOSOP.
The group, which spoke through its president, Goodluck Diigbo noted that the committee was dominated by academics and politicians.
MOSOP, however, hailed the decision of President Jonathan to approve the convocation of a National Dialogue, saying no other legacy of the president could compensate for the failure of the Sovereign National Conference, SNC.
Mr. Jonathan had, on Monday, inaugurated a 13-member committee headed by former Senator, Dr. Femi Okurounmu, to come up with modalities for the proposed conference.
Other members of the committee include: Funke Adedayo, Abubakar Sadiq, Mairo Ahmed Marshi, Timothy Adudu, Solomon Asemota, Tony Uranta, Khairat Abdurazaq-Gwadabe, Tony Nyiam, Bukhari Bello, Dauda Birma, George Obiozor and Akilu Ndabawa, who is to serve as the committee’s secretary.
Prof. Ben Nwabueze (SAN) declined his nomination to serve as a member of the committee citing ill-health but nominated Mr. Solomon Asemota (SAN) of The Patriots, to represent him on the committee.
The president has not given indication whether he will accept the elder statesman’s representative or not.
However, Mr. Diigbo said of the committee, “Where was his closest adviser when he dominated the committee with men; these politicians and academicians? It doesn’t communicate the degree of seriousness I presume Jonathan attaches to SNC. It doesn’t minimize his boldest step so far, though.
“Its composition shouldn’t limit SNC vision to mere intellectual purposes, or permit politicians to concoct it to fit their scheme. SNC must be driven to the moral end, for its outcome to be credible and acceptable.”
The MOSOP President, who also doubles as its spokesperson, said the 13-member Advisory Committee lacked the powers to set up the agenda beyond advising the president on how to facilitate the conference.
“While compromises may be necessary in order to agree on key differences, the Sovereign National Conference, more than anything else, requires compliance with ‘due process,’ which pre-emptive agenda might short-change, corrupt, jeopardize and damage outcome,” he said.
Mr. Diigbo affirmed that the proposed conference would strengthen Ogoni Self–determination declaration of August 2, 2012, instead of diminishing it.
“I have asked my fellow Ogoni people to continually nurture their self-government. We asked for a Sovereign Conference, not as slaves or a colony, but to put slavery and internal colonialism behind us.
“We are not sheep. MOSOP will monitor the process from now on to guide any future decision by the Ogoni people. This is where we are for now”, he said.