A member of the Presidential Advisory Committee on National Conference Col.Tony Nyiam (rtd), who shouted down Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole at Monday’s interactive session of the committee in Benin, has justified his action which led to his resignation from the committee.
At the continued sitting of the advisory committee on Monday, Col. Nyiam reportedly joined the audience in the booing and heckling of Governor Oshiomhole while he was making his presentation; a move that led to the abrupt termination of the governor’s speech and his eventual whisking away by security following the tensed atmosphere that enveloped the venue.
But in defence of his action yesterday, Col. Nyiam said the Edo governor made some “sarcastic remarks” against the proposed National Dialogue, asserting that governors, who are in the habit of making mockery of President Goodluck Jonathan’s laudable efforts should be prepared to be at the receiving end of Nigerians’ response.
Nyiam, who was asked if he has resigned, said “The situation is that I have not told anybody in the public that I have resigned”.
Reacting to his well-publicized spat with Governor Oshiomhole, he explained that the governor was “talking down on people and he is not supposed to do that because our job is to meet with the people and not the governor since we have paid him a courtesy visit earlier”.
His words: “Governors who have penchant for insulting the President or making sarcastic remarks against the sense of judgment of the President of Nigeria should be ready to tolerate response from Nigerian citizens to tell them no. The committee’s role is advisory, we need to consult with the people to advise us and we will then synthesise the people’s opinion and use that to advise the President because we believe that we need to work towards a people’s-driven constitution which we never had in our history.
“We thought we should start a bottom-up approach from the grassroots to the top. The attitude was that there should be no talking down on the people we are supposed to engage the people not to talk down on them. Based on this principle, the key feature of our consultation was to meet with the people but out of courtesy we pay courtesy calls on the governors or the king in the city”.
He added: “So when people started booing the governor, I went to the chairman to remind him about the rules of our committee. The chairman said we should give him a chance to continue. He carried on with his derogatory remarks and it was at that point I then said ‘no, not again’. When I said that, by this time, his aides tried to come at me, but when I suspected that one was at my back I stood up. I sat down throughout.
“Not long after, a group of thugs came towards the table. It was then that the SSS people advised that my life was not safe and I was taken away for safety; the director of the state SSS raises security around us. The Commissioner of Police came to see me and they brought security. The police drove us all through out of Edo State because of the fear of attack. So, contrary to what they said, that I mobilised thugs, it is not true, it is Edo people that protected me”, Col. Nyiam explained.