The Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue will treat all memoranda submitted to it, the Chairman, Sen. Femi Okurounmu, has assured.
Okurounmu, who gave the assurance at the maiden sitting of the committee on Friday in Akure, promised that all ethnic nationalities would be treated as equal, irrespective of their population.
He said the committee would determine, among other things, the structure, duration and legal framework of the conference.
Gov. Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo expressed the confidence that the planned National Conference would address the myriad of problems militating against the nation’s progress.
He commended President Goodluck Jonathan for taking “this bold step toward reconstructing Nigeria’’.
In its submission, Afenifere, a Yoruba socio-cultural group, called for a “national conference with sovereign powers’’.
The group made the call in a memorandum delivered by Chief Ayo Adebanjo, a chieftain of the group.
“Nigerians must sit down and discuss their union and agree on a federal constitution to guarantee stability, justice, peace, real unity and development borne out of autonomy for the constituent units,” it said.
The group said that only a referendum can alter any of the decisions reached at the conference.
Afenifere suggested that 100 delegates should be elected from each of the six geo-political zones in the country and the remaining 100 delegates should represent special interest groups.
It also suggested that the 100 delegates from each zone should be elected on the basis of 10 per cent representation for all established ethnic nationalities in the zones.
“The remaining 90 per cent should emerge from equal number of elected delegates from all senatorial districts representing the traditional ethno-geographical contents of the region.’’
The group also suggested a six-month time frame for the conference.
In its memorandum delivered by Chief Francis Williams, the Arogbo Ijaw Community said that all nationalities in the country should be considered equal for the purpose of the conference, irrespective of their population.
It called for a Sovereign National Conference “where all decisions reached will have the force of law’’.
It faulted the calls for the submission of decisions of the conference to the National Assembly, saying that the decisions should instead be subjected to a national referendum.
“The National Assembly as presently constituted is part of the Nigerian fraud; it is part of the key issues to be addressed by the conference,
“Therefore, the decisions of the conference cannot go to the National Assembly for ratification as sovereignty belongs to the Nigerian people,” the group said.
The community also suggested that the conference should be allowed to wind up toward the end of the present administration, and the new constitution that would emerge made the basis for the next elections in the country.
Other interest groups that presented their positions include the Yoruba Unity Forum, which suggested a total of 400 delegates for the conference.
This, it said, should be made up of 60 from each of the six geo-political zones and only 4 from the Federal Capital Territory.
The group also suggested that no political party should be allowed to play any role in the election or selection of delegates to the conference and that the conference should be given nine months to carry out its assignment.
The Pro-National Conference Organisation (PRONACO) suggested a total of 600 delegates from the six geo-political zones, while Atayese, another pan-Yoruba organisation, asked that the conference be allowed to determine its agenda. (NAN)