Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar
From Chuks Okocha in Abuja
Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar Tueusday called on the advocates of Sovereign National Conference (SNC) to state the details and operational methods of the national conference to avoid ambiguity.
He also gave conditions for him to support the call for a national conference, providing the ultimate objectives, according to him, are not designed to dismantle the nation’s unity.
Though, President Goodluck Jonathan and members of the National Assembly have at various times spoken against the convocation of a Sovereign National Assembly, since there was a National Assembly in place to take care of any constitutional amendments.
But some eminent Nigerians like Prof. Ben Nwabueze, Chief Olu Falae, Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu, and the coalition of civil society groups have been championing the call for a national conference.
The former vice president who spoke in an interview with the BBC Hausa Service monitored in Abuja, said that he was not against Nigerians coming together to dialogue on the nation’s challenges but the ground rules of representation at such conference must be clearly defined.
He was quickly to state that if the modalities for representation at such conference were based on ethnicity, religion and regionalism, then he would not throw his weight behind such endeavour.
The former vice president said that he would not endorse any effort aimed at dismantling Nigeria’s unity and cohesion under whatever guise. He therefore advised advocates of sovereign national conference to respect existing structures of democratic representation such as the National Assembly.
In his words: “Nigeria has come of age in the journey to nationhood and any efforts designed to upset the apple cart of our unity is uncalled for at this time. The National Assembly remains the best forum to channel such issues for deliberation rather than seeking unusual avenues to create confusion and threaten our unity.”