Why Buhari should act on National Conference report
17 months after the Justice Kutigi-led National Conference submitted its report to the Federal Government, Nigeria is yet to implement a single aspect from the over 600 resolutions. With President Muhammadu Buhari’s ’body language’ suggesting a possible neglect of the historic conference, a cross section of Nigerians who spoke to our correspondent, Chuks NZEH, argue why the present administration should implement some salient aspects of the conference report.
I have not seen the document, but I think one thing I remembered during the conference while it was televised was that those going for pilgrimage both Christians and Muslims should fund their travel cost. That to me is a positive recommendation, because you cannot have so many job seekers and people living below the poverty line as we have in this country, and yet use tax payers’ money to fund personal trips, like pilgrimage. That to me is not fairness, because I am yet to see a poor man who ought to be protected by government, travelling for pilgrimage using public fund.
That aspect of the conference recommendation should be implemented by government. That is what I want government to implement and tell us something new that they are doing with the money saved, because if you go out there you will know that most Nigerians are really suffering.
I learnt the conference suggests the granting autonomy to local government areas across the country. Honestly, that is the best way to go if we really want to reduce poverty at the grassroots because what we have now is a situation where the governors just collects the funds due for them and throw stipends at their stooges in the local government areas to pay salaries of primary school teachers, and keep the balance as pocket money from where he can grade one or two bad roads, drill same number of boreholes to show that they are working. That is even for those who have conscience, because some others really don’t care, they tell you there is no money to carry out projects.
I agree with Pastor Tunde Bakare, when he talked about restructuring our government so that people’s creativity can be appreciated for what it is worth. For example, stakeholders have said that Nigerians should tap into the potential of the solid minerals sector, but until the constitution is amended to empower states to take advantage of solid minerals in their domains, it would be unconstitutional for them to do so.
President Buhari should do what the people are asking for, because he did not come to power this time through a coup but by the votes of millions of Nigerians who are still expecting to see the reason why they voted for his change.
Though I do not agree with some people who came there with a history of fraud and corruption, but most of the delegates did well at the conference having Nigeria in mind.
I think those advising the president should be seen as doing their jobs properly by picking up the report and look at those resolutions that are in line with the Change programme they have been talking about. I even think that as country with about 170 million people, hundreds of languages, and several other differences, we need to be talking from time to time to review our relations with one another to avoid what happened during the civil war.
I think any report with the signature of a person of Justice Idris Kutigi’s caliber; a man globally respected, should be a document ready for implementation without much debate.
If indeed we agree in this country that government should be a continuum, where a new administration works with what the last one left, then we need to implement some resolutions made by the conference. Now Jonathan has left a report he bought with around N7billion, where you have people like Justice Kutigi sacrificing so much for Nigeria, at his age after retiring from active service. He even lost his wife during the course of the conference and yet he did not abandon the work he was doing for Nigeria.
I think lawmakers from the Peoples Democratic Party should present the report of the National Conference to the National Assembly for adoption, or better still, Nigerians should be allowed to vote so we can all know whether or not we want the report.
There are many things that we can benefit from that report, because I know that many elders came with their years of experiences to better Nigeria. I just think the people that are advising the President are not helping Nigeria. I tell you that as a sitting president he will take the glory for it.
OZOUGWU NKECHI EDDY