The Senate has mandated President Muhammadu Buhari to submit the report of the 2014 National Conference to the Red Chamber for deliberations.
The decision was reached, following the adoption of an amendment motion, moved by Senator Mao Ohuabunwa from Abia State. His amendment motion was seconded by Senator Solomon Adeola.
Senators Adamu Aliero and Jonah Jang called on the leadership of the Senate to take the initiative and request for the report of the 2014 National Conference. They said work must commence on how to implement some components of the report.
Senator Aliero, had while making a case for the submission of the conference report to the Senate, said: “In 2014, former President Goodluck Jonathan brought people from every ethnic nationality together in Abuja in what was called the National Conference. It was chaired by Justice Legbo Kutigi. The participants came up with beautiful recommendations.
“This is the time to implement those recommendations. The Senate should demand for the outcome of that conference and find a way to implement them. That is the solution to these ethnic agitations. The outcome of the conference should be tabled for discussion.
“We cannot continue to lie to ourselves. Many people who are speaking here will go out and support something else. They do not practice what they preach. We cannot continue to live like this. Things must change for the better.”
Senator Jang, who supported Aliero’s position, also noted: “I want to align with what Senator Aliero said. I remember that the Seventh Senate said it did not recognise the National Conference because they were the true representatives of the people.
“I think this is the time for the report of that conference to be debated. So many useful decisions were reached. We need to debate those recommendations and see how they can address the issues coming up now.”
Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu who presided, cleared the air on the issue. He said former President Jonathan forwarded the report of the conference to the National Assembly one week before the expiration of the Seventh Senate in 2015.
“To be fair, the report was sent to us in the Seventh Assembly by President Jonathan. But it was sent just one week before the end of that Assembly. There was nothing we could have done.
“By this motion, you are saying the President should forward the report again to the National Assembly for deliberations,” Ekweremadu said.
Apart from the deliberation on the 2014 National Conference, lawmakers also spent at least two hours, debating a motion titled, “The need for National Unity and Peaceful coexistence in Nigeria”. In the motion, they condemned the popular Kaduna Declaration.
Some northern youths, had last week, issued a three-month ultimatum to Igbo living in the region to vacate relocate on or before October.
The lawmakers also condemned ethnic uprisings in different parts of the country. They said the uprisings were capable of leading to the disintegration of the country. The motion was sponsored by the Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan and 105 others.
Calling on security agents to bring to justice people making inciting statements, Ekweremadu said: “All those who spoke did that for us all. The agreement is that we are better off as a united and just society. This is not the time to look at ourselves as blacks or whites or those right and wrong. I want to call for restraints from all sides so that we can have an egalitarian society.
“This is the time to show leadership. This is not the time to leave the leadership of this country for some people. We must guide this country. Within our laws, we have sufficient laws to guide our conducts. This is the time for the government to come and apply those laws against those making unguarded statements.
“I call on security agents to move in and apply the law no matter who is involved. I want to call on our young people to remain peaceful. This is the time to stand together for our country. This is the time for us to be united. This is not the time for people to e treated unjustly. This country belongs to all of us.
Senator Abe stated: “It is time for us to give these agitators some attention. I hope what we say here is what we do in our private places and in our constituencies. I condemn any attempt by anybody to threaten the rights of other Nigerians.”
Kwankwaso added: “Let it not appear as if the issue is between northern Nigeria and the South East. The problem is everywhere. The Acting President met with northern leaders on Tuesday. On Wednesday, I am aware that he is meeting with South East leaders. There are three geopolitical zones in the north. If the Acting President met with leaders from the three geopolitical zones in the north, he should also meet with leaders from the three southern geopolitical zones.”
Meanwhile, Ekweremadu, has described as “victory for democracy,” the discharge and acquittal of the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
Reacting to the Tribunal’s verdict on Wednesday, Ekweremadu said it did not come to him as a surprise given that, like the trumped up forgery and conspiracy charges slammed against himself and the Senate President, but which was later withdrawn by the Federal Government, the CCT trial was hatched in the coven of evil politics and was, therefore, bound to fall like a pack of cards.
He said: “This is another sweet victory for the 8th Senate in particular, separation of powers, rule of law, and the nation’s democracy. The trial, just like the arraignment of the presiding officers of the Senate on trumped up charges of forgery of Senate Standing Rules, was political vendetta and manipulations taken too far.
“It was never built on any iota of truth, but on the quicksand of falsehood and was, therefore, condemned to sink under the weight of law and justice.”
While congratulating the Senate President for “standing firm and tall in the face of political tribulation” and commending the Distinguished Senators for their unflinching support and solidarity to the Senate leadership, Ekweremadu, however, said the Senate would, nonetheless, never let down its guards.
He also thanked Nigerians who have continued to stand with the Upper Chamber every step of the way despite apparently contrived and reckless efforts to destabilise and bring the Senate and its leadership to disrepute.
By Ehisuan Odia…