2014 Confab’s northern leaders reject restructuring of Nigeria

Nigeria

A group of northern leaders have cautioned against the implementation of the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference convened by the Goodluck Jonathan administration.

They also strongly opposed the growing calls for the restructuring of the country being championed by politicians and interest groups from the south’s three geo-political zones.

The leaders, who were delegates from the north at the 2014 Conference under the umbrella body called Northern Delegates Forum (NDF), at a meeting said the report did not enjoy popular mandate, and that the major decisions of the conference were taken through undemocratic means.

The north’s three geo-political zones, according to the leaders, were not given fair representation in the membership of the conference, considering that the north have 70 per cent of the nation’s land mass and 55 per cent of its population.

In a keynote address, a former minister, Bashir Dalhatu, recalled that northern delegates made several attempts to get the then President  to reflect the diversity and complexity of the country in composition of membership of the conference, but they were ignored.

He said, “The 2014 national conference had 492 members and the north which constitutes about 70 per cent of the country’s landmass and 55 per cent of its population was allocated 189 delegates while the South with only 30 per cent of the landmass and 45 per cent of its population was given an incredible 305 delegates.

“This went against sensible demographics, law and practice, which could have hardly been done in good faith. Certainly it was designed to put in particular our delegates and the North in general at a disadvantage.

“All attempts to get the President Goodluck Jonathan administration, including pleas by well meaning Nigerians who genuinely wanted a national conference to reflect the diversity and complexity of the Nigerian society, fell on deaf ears.”

The meeting was attended by a former Deputy Senate President, Alhaji Ibrahim Mantu; a former Minister of Power and Steel Development, Alhaji Bashir Dalhatu ; a former Minister of Defence, Alhaji Mohammed Bello and Hon. Mohammed Kumaila, a former Member of the House of Representatives.

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