Former President Goodluck Jonathan has advised his successor, President Muhammadu Buhari, to implement the report of the 2014 national conference, insisting that the report contains a lot of panacea for Nigeria’s problems.
Jonathan, in a statement by his Media Adviser, Ikechukwu Eze, which quoted the former leader as speaking in a goodwill message, at the fifth Integration Summit Roundtable in Abuja, indicated that leaders need to take decisions that will outlive them in office.
According to the statement, the former president reiterated in the message that the current administration needed to implement the report of the 2014 national conference because it held the key “for reshaping and consolidating the necessary common grounds and shared values, needed to move the nation forward.”
Jonathan also stated that he did not implement the report of the confab he put together because of time constraint.
He emphasised that the 2014 confab held the answers to most of what Nigerians were agitating for today, adding that the administration did not have enough time to implement the conference recommendations, given that the report was submitted to him in August 2014, a few months before the next general election.
According to him, it would take up to one year to complete the necessary processes for implementation, adding that a rushed approach within the limited time he had in office before handing over in 2014, would have created ethical questions.
According to the statement, “I am aware that some people have raised some issues with the fact that I did not implement the recommendations of the confab during my tenure. I would like to state that those making this kind of claim are not being fair to me.
“Such people tend to forget that the report was submitted in August 2014, few months before the last general election. It was at a time that the National Assembly was on a break with many of the members already retreating to their different constituencies to prepare their constituents for elections.
“I believe that to have a tidy procedure of implementation, it would have involved committee deliberations, public hearings and town hall consultations, on different segments of the report. There is no doubt that the nation then needed up to one year to complete the processes of implementing the recommendations.
“It was obvious that my administration, given the time the report was submitted, couldn’t have implemented the report, before the 2015 elections, without running into ethical questions,” Jonathan said.
The former president also said that it was necessary to address the issues already dealt with in the conference report, adding that Nigeria was still witnessing agitations because “we are still trying to discover the best way to run our Republic, so that whatever policies we pursue or projects we implement as a nation, will benefit the greatest number of our population.”
He stated further: “It was a conference that was designed to shape our future. Its outcome was meant to be of benefit to the future generation of Nigerians. Contrary to the claims in some quarters, the conference was not designed for my own gain or for the immediate benefit of the participants.
‘’I believe that those entrusted with the responsibilities to formulate policies or make laws should take the kind of decisions that should outlive them, not the ones designed to deliver instant profits to them.”
Meanwhile, the Southern Senators Forum (SSF), under the leadership of Senator Hope Uzodinma, is to hold a retreat to discuss issues of restructuring and the national question, the senator said in a statement on Sunday.
The Senator, in the statement, said the SSF was reiterating its commitment to ensuring an equitable, progressive and prosperous Nigeria.
He stated that the group would continue to canvass lasting solutions to issues affecting Nigerians, irrespective of tribe or religion while ensuring that citizens aspire to be the best nature had bequeathed to them.
According to the senator, the forum, in furtherance of its commitment to peace and tranquillity in the polity, had scheduled a retreat to discuss burning national issues, including the protection of ethnic minorities in the country.
He said the retreat, billed for November 23 to 26 would feature eminent Nigerians from across the country.
He pointed out that the eminent citizens would join the lawmakers in discussing other burning issues, including the imperatives of restructuring in a multi-religious country as Nigeria and the role of the legislature in a constitutional democracy.
Uzodinma added that the sustenance of national unity in a restructured Nigeria would equally be discussed.
He said: “The Southern Senators Forum is a consultative assembly of serving senators from the southern states of the federation that has been in existence since the advent of democracy in 1999.