Presidency might shun Senate over 2014 National Conference

The Presidency looks likely to reject  the Senate resolution asking it to forward the 2014 National Conference report to the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly for urgent legislative action, SUNDAY PUNCH’sinvestigation has revealed.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan had convened the national conference in 2014 as part of efforts to address some of the challenges facing the nation.

At its sitting on Wednesday, the Senate resolved that deliberations on the recommendations of the conference would be the way forward for the country.

It therefore asked the presidency to send the conference report in the form of an Executive Bill.

But a competent source told our correspondent on Friday that the Presidency would not honour the resolution.

The source said rather than asking the present administration to forward the report to them, the federal lawmakers should direct their request to Jonathan whose administration organised the conference.

He claimed that President Muhammadu Buhari did not have a copy of the report and that no copy could be found in the Presidential Villa.

The top government official also reminded the lawmakers that the ruling All Progressives Congress declined to participate in the conference in 2014 because of its belief that it was organised as ‘food for the boys.”

He said the party’s position, which Buhari agreed with, had not changed.

“The President himself had had cause to come out openly to say that he would not implement the report. That position has not changed.

“Let them address their request to former President Jonathan who convened the conference and ask him to give them a copy of the report,” the source said.

Presidential spokesmen, Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu, could not be reached for comment on the matter as of the time of filing this report.

Despite the source’s claim that Buhari has no copy of the report, it was one of the documents Jonathan handed over to his successor during a brief handingover ceremony held on May 28, 2015 inside the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

While presenting an executive summary of his hand over notes and a copy of the report of the National Conference to Buhari, Jonathan had said the report of the National Conference was more important to him than the hand over notes because it was compiled by Nigerians.

He said if the confab report was implemented, most of the grey areas of national development would be resolved.

The Senate’s request for the report followed submissions made by mostly APC senators during the debate on a motion, entitled: ‘The need for National Unity and Peaceful Coexistence in Nigeria,’ sponsored by Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan (APC, Yobe), and co-sponsored by 106 others.

Senator Lawan’s motion had four prayers which were all taken, but there was an additional prayer by Senator Mao Ohuabunwa (PDP, Abia North), that the Federal Government be urged to urgently forward the report of the 2014 conference to the National Assembly for deliberation.

It will be recalled that delegates to the conference, under the aegis of the 2014 National Confab Forum, in a communiqué after their maiden summit in Abuja in May had said that it was needful to implement the report because it would address the challenges facing Nigeria.

They promised to liaise with the Federal Executive Council, the National Assembly and other relevant stakeholders to promote the implementation of the conference recommendations.

The forum stated that it would mobilise the Nigerian public to buy into the 2014 National Conference recommendations.

Source: ( Punch Newspaper )


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