NewsReel 24/12/13 - Nigeria: News Analysis On Proposed National Conference

[ Masterweb Reports: Chuks Ibegbu reports ] - The proposed National Conference will soon commence. In this commentary, Chuks Ibegbu, a public affairs analyst looks into issues Igbos need to present at the conference. The proposed National Conference initiated by the Goodluck Jonathan administration will soon commence. The Presidential Advisory committee on the conference after its nationwide tour recently submitted its report to Mr. President with suggestions on the modalities for the conference.


Over the years , many Nigerians have been calling for the convening of a National Conference so that Nigerians can sit down and discuss their nationhood and how they can live together as a people.  Some suggested a Sovereign National Conference, National Conference or constitutional review. Whatever the tag, the basic issue is that Nigerians  need to sit down and discuss their past, present and future. No nation can afford to be moving in a circus without pausing to x-ray their nationhood at some moments in their existence . Some people argue that the National Assembly has the latitude to discuss
issues that are canvassed at the National Conference. This is not plausible . There are several issues that the National Assembly is not fully equipped to look into.

For instance, the National Assembly may not discuss and resolve such issues as the restructuring of the country or the divisibility and indivisibility of the country as may be agreed by Nigerians and other contentious national issues. It is at the realms of a National conference that such issues can be addressed without any hindrance.

For Ndigbo, this National Conference is a veritable opportunity to redress the imbalances and injustices of the past. . Ndigbo have the least number of states and local governments in the country which translates into the least federal allocation, least opportunities at the center and so on. Past Censuses were unable to capture the true demography of Ndigbo at home and outside Igbo land. The exclusion of census paradigms as ethnicity and religion wrought a great havoc to Ndigbo during past censuses as Ndigbo living outside Igboland were subsumed under the population of the areas they reside without benefitting anything however from the value they demographically add to those places. The  naïve actions and inactions of a peacefully militant pressure group in the East worsened our case during the 2006 census exercise. For instance, a  state like Abia with an estimate of ten million or more people was said to have only a little above two million persons in the last census exercise. Aba alone has more than
one million houses and none of these houses have less then twenty residents. One can then imagine how Abia state and in corollary other Igbo states were undercounted in the past census exercises with its attendant consequences on them.

There are other issues that are critical for Ndigbo to table at the
conference. For instance after the civil war many oil rich parts of Igboland were excised to neigbhouring states by the JUSTICE MAMMAN NASIR boundary adjustment committee. This is why states like Abia and Imo have fewer oil wells than they deser

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