The National Conference continued on a rancorous note on Wednesday morning with one of the prominent monarchs at the forum, Muhammadu Barkindo Aliyu Musdaphar, the Lamido Adamawa, threatening to pull his people out of Nigeria over what he described as the “behaviour of some elders who claimed to be supporters of President Jonathan.”
The traditional ruler who said he had tried unsuccessfully to speak for three days because he was not given the chance said the delegates who he refused to mention are putting the nation’s unity at risk with their behaviour.
Though some delegates attempted to shut him up with spontaneous shouts of “no, no, no” despite pleas by Justice Idris Kutigi that they should allow him to finish his speech, the traditional ruler continued speaking.
In obvious reference to controversies that have been generated over whether 75 per cent or 2/3 support of delegates will be needed to ratify a decision, especially when it is impossible to reach a consensus, the monarch said he was surprised at the behaviour of some delegates since President Goodluck Jonathan had already stipulated what can be discussed at the conference.
(watch the video here, courtesy of Daily Trust newspaper):
The Lamido therefore warned that his Kingdom transcends Nigeria and he is also ready to pull his people out if the country splits as a result of the action of some people at the conference. He said if his people are pushed to the wall, they can easily walk out of this country.
The Monarch added that “jingoism is not the preserve of anyone.”
“There is a state in Cameroon called Adamawa and if I run to that place, I can easily assimilate,” said the traditional ruler.
Meanwhile, the Conference adjourned till later in the day to enable delegates tackle the contentious issue of whether 75 per cent or 2/3 support of delegates should be needed to adopt a decision.
Justice Kutigi had directed his deputy, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, to call out some leaders of the delegates for an urgent meeting to resolve the issue which has resulted in the South/North divide at the conference.
The issue of how voting would be conducted on crucial issues based on committee reports attracted heated debates, and following on suggestions by members, had to be stood down for further deliberation.
It was suggested that the Conference Chairman should invite leaders of the six geo-political zones for further consultation, deliberation and negotiation, and report back to the Conference.
During debates on the issue on Tuesday, those who said all issues should be resolved by consensus or at least 75 per cent majority vote refused to accept a resolution through individual votes, arguing that those who favoured two-third majority seem to be more in number.
Chief Edwin Clark cautioned that the position of both parties must not be allowed to stall proceedings at the conference and that to get out of the situation, delegates should vote on whether to accept three-quarter majority vote or two-third.
This position was rejected by Dr. Bello Mohammed from Kebbi State who insisted that every decision must be reached by consensus, arguing that the conference was not about majority or minority but was about the Nigerian state.
Former Commandant of the Presidential Air Fleet, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga said the argument was a straight tussle between those who wanted change and those who wanted retention of the status quo. He concluded that two-third majority vote remained the only solution.
Bashiru Albasu, a retired police officer cautioned delegates that, “if this issue is not handled carefully, it will break this Conference. I suggest that we refer this issue back to those who established this Conference.”.
In their contributions, both Fola Adeola from Ogun State and Atedo Peterside moved that the Conference Chairman meet with leaders of delegates from the six geo-political zones for further deliberation on the issue and report back to the Conference.
This was after a delegate, Okon Osung (Akwa Ibom State) noted that, “we cannot discuss any other issue successfully except we are guided by our rules.”
He was supported by Akin Oyebode from Ekiti State.