The Chairman, Senate Committee on Information, Media and Public Affairs, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, has declared that President Goodluck Jonathan’s move to sanction a national conference or dialogue is in line with the Senate’s position.
In his nationwide address to the nation on the celebration of the 53rd independence anniversary on Tuesday, President Jonathan announced the setting up of an advisory committee to work out modalities for a national conference.
Abaribe on Tuesday in Abuja said that the initiative was a welcome development, as the Senate had earlier advocated for a national conference too.
“This initiative is in sync with the Senate’s position, as articulated by the Senate President in his address on Sept. 17.
“The Senate President had advocated for a conference of nationalities to discuss the Nigerian question,” Abaribe said.
Accoding to him, the upper chamber will welcome anything that the Federal Government will do to enable Nigerians to sit together and talk in order to resolve some national issues and promote unity.
It would be recalled that the Senate President, David Mark, had in his address while welcoming senators from a seven-week recess on Sept. 17, said the Senate was in support of a national conference.
“Such a conference, if and whenever convened, should have only few red lines, chief among which will be the dismemberment of the country,” he said.
Mr. Mark added that the resolutions of such a national conference, to be called under the auspices of the government of the federation would carry tremendous weight.
“It will be unconstitutional to clothe such conference with constituent or sovereign powers,” he stressed.
The senate president, however, said that what the National Assembly was opposed to was the term ”sovereign,” stressing that the resolutions of the national conference should not be ignored.
He also noted that such a conference, sovereign or not, did not hold the “magic wand” to some of the problem’s bedeviling the country noting that the task of nation building required patience, honesty, sacrifice and massive investments in the future of the nation.