Panel member allays fear over confab
• Says conference will determine what happens to outcome
A MEMBER of the Presidential Advisory Council on National Dialogue, Tony Uranta, has allayed the fear that the Federal Government would hijack the conference, but urged Nigerians to exercise faith in the process.
Addressing journalists in Lagos yesterday, Uranta described the proposed national dialogue as a “true” peoples’ conference a lot of statesmen had dreamt about a long time ago.
He added that the conference would be fully controlled by the people without external influences. “When the conference begins, the people will decide whether there should be a no-go-area or not. The people are in control of the conference. The President has only 71 delegates out of 492, making 14.43 per cent,” Uranta said.
He added that although the committee earlier opted for elections, recommending that election be held based on adult suffrage, “but there is currently a bit of brouhaha about the budget for the conference.
“Some people have said that what the President has done is to carry out his agenda or make sure his agenda will be carried out. We made sure and the President was honourable enough to stand by our recommendations. This conference will be truly and fully the one Nigerians have yearned for.
“In the committee, our report said let the national conference decide what happens to its outcome. You have to be strategic in thinking and planning. If we must put a bill to the National Assembly before the convoking of the conference, that means the conference will not take place this year.
“If we say we must have a referendum, that may mean certain vital interests in Nigeria will start working hard against the conference. Left alone to me and individuals within the committee, we would have preferred a referendum. For political and strategic reasons, we decided that the conference should decide if they want it or not, whether it wants a brand new constitution and how it wants to go about having it. Believe me, when the people speak, I want to see who will stand up and oppose them,” Uranta said.