The North Central geo-political zone has urged the Federal Government to postpone the proposed national dialogue – which date has not been fixed yet – until after the 2015 general elections.
The zone made its position known in Jos, the Plateau State capital on Monday at the stakeholders session held by the Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue.
Prof. Jerry Gana, who spoke on behalf of the group as the national leader of the Middle Belt Forum (MBF), said the zone welcomed the initiative of the national dialogue and would contribute to its success.
According to the former information minister, “With reference to timing of the conference, Middle Belt has two proposals: If the ongoing preparations can be concluded by December or January, the conference can sit for six months from February to July 2014 and submit its report in August.
“However, in view of preparations for the national election early 2015, it may be wiser to convene the conference after the 2015 elections. As such, preparations for the conference could be perfected in 2014, but the actual convening for February/March 2015 and should be allowed to sit for the rest of the year 2015,” said Gana.
On the mode of representation, he said the Middle Belt is “proposing a basket of selection or election criteria, namely, each ethnic nationality should be represented at the conference to ensure equity, social justice and self-determination.
“People should be allowed to elect the participants; government should not select delegates for the people. It should be purely a people-oriented programme if it must achieve its desired result,” Gana said.