A former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Olu Falae, has expressed optimism that a referendum on the national conference report submitted to President Goodluck Jonathan last Thursday, will be conducted.
Falae, who was also a delegate to the just concluded confab, stressed the need for Nigerians to be allowed to decide how they want to live and be governed, adding that he expects President Jonathan to have a referendum conducted by December this year.
The optimism for a referendum on the report of the conference is contrary to Mr. Jonathan’s speech that the recommendations would be forwarded to the National Assembly and Council of State for further action.
According to Falae, “The secretariat of the confab has fast-tracked the implementation of the recommendation by using our decisions to modify the existing constitution. We’re expecting massive changes in the constitution. It’ll no longer be the constitution that we used to know. It’s going to be a new constitution.
“All the President needs to do is to invite a few legal draftsmen to consider what we’ve done and tidy it up. I expect that at the end of it, the President should conduct a referendum between now and December. One thing we should note is that people represent the highest political organ of the government. And maybe by the New Year, ask the National Assembly to enact it into law”.
The former presidential candidate on the joint platform of the defunct Alliance for Democracy and All People’s Party in the 1999 presidential election, also stated that those who predicted that the conference would fail were disappointed.
“This report will not gather dust anywhere. This is a report achieved by a consensus. 492 people took more than 600 decisions by consensus –that’s unprecedented in the history of Nigeria. Therefore, it is clearly a different kind of report.
“Those sceptics who alleged that the confab delegates were on a jamboree have been proved wrong. Now they’re thinking the report of the confab will gather dust but they will be proved wrong again. The report will not gather dust because it contains many things that will bring joy to Nigerians”, he stated.
Speaking further, Falae argued that the number of resources of each of the 36 states in the country should not be the basis for the creation of more states, noting that it should rather be dependent on the people.
“On the creation of more states, people say, ‘Why so many states? Are they viable?’ What’s the meaning of viability? Viability is defined by the quality of the people. Take Japan for example. Japan has no natural resource; no oil, no gas –nothing. Yet, Japan is one of the most developed countries on earth. Why are they viable? It is because of the viability of their people”.