Delegates representing Civil Society Organisations at the ongoing National Conference in Abuja on Thursday protested the composition of the 20 standing committees, saying that it did not reflect the wishes of delegates.
The group, in a protest letter to the secretariat, said the leadership composed the committees “arbitrarily and in total disregard to the choice and preferences of most delegates”.
The letter signed by the 24 CSOs delegates, said they were included in committees where they did not have the required expertise and consequently, would not be relevant.
“Before the composition of the committees, the leadership circulated papers wherein delegates are asked to indicate in order of preference, the committees they wished to serve in.
“We believe that if the committees of first, second and third choices are not available, the honourable thing to do is to inform delegates and give the option of choosing a fresh committee.
“We note that majority of CSOs delegates did not get placed in any of their preferred committees.
“We feel this is deliberate and an attempt to exclude CSOs from contributing across the board to the important issues to be discussed in the various committees.
“We argue that the leadership erred by not getting back to the delegates in relation to their preferred committees’ choices before placing and lumping them into committees they had not indicated interest”, the delegates said.
They, therefore, called on the leadership to completely review the list in line with the national outlook of the conference.
They also called on the leadership to henceforth conduct the activities of the conference “in an open, transparent, fair and equitable manner.
“We wish to place on record that this conference is a National Conference of the Nigerian people from all walks of life.
“It is neither a conference of ethnic nationalities nor a conference of regions or states. Furthermore, we totally reject the list of committees’ leaders that have been released.
“We find it very disturbing and unacceptable that CSOs are not represented at all on the committees’ leadership.
“This is so even on the committee on Labour and Civil Society, Social Sector or Environment where CSOs’ competence is not in doubt.
“Furthermore, we find it equally untenable that CSOs are not represented on the committees on political parties and electoral process; politics and forms of government; national security; devolution of powers, among others”.
According to them, members of CSOs have requisite competence and years of experience on the aforementioned committees and their thematic areas, and indicated interests in serving on them.
The delegates, include Femi Falana, Olisa Agbakoba, Hauwa Shekarau, Festus Okoye, Abiola Afolabi, Jaye Gaskiya, Steve Aluko, Ezednwa Nwagwu, Dudu Manuga, Olabisi Aina, Nnimmo Bassey and Naseer Kura.
The others are, Auwal Rafsanjani, Yazed Yau, Joe Okei-Odumakin, Wale Okunniyi, Bisi Olagbegi, Isaac Osuoka, Kyauta Giwa, Shetu Alfa, Abubakar Ibrahim, Femi Obayori, Mahmud Aminu, Ibechukwu Ezeike and Olabisi Aina.