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National Conference adjourned abruptly

26 March 2014, 09:41

Abuja - The National Conference on Tuesday was abruptly adjourned following sharp disagreement among delegates over the mode to be adopted on matters requiring voting.

The Order VI Rule 3 provides that any decision in the conference shall be decided by at least a three-quarter majority.

The clause reads: "Any questions proposed for decision in the conference shall be determined by consensus and when this is not achievable by a three-quarter majority of the delegates present and voting.”

The clause was deferred on Monday at the resumption of plenary to Tuesday because it generated disagreement and a consensus could not be reached on it.

However, when the issue was raised on the floor of the conference on Tuesday, it generated much disagreement which generated rowdy session as delegates moved to engage in "a free-for-all”.

It took the intervention of some delegates to calm fray nerves before it was agreed that the plenary be adjourned to allow for more consultations.

Fola Adeola, representing Ogun, said that the leadership of the conference should make use of the geo-political zone leaders to resolve the issue.

Adeola particularly appealed to the delegates to allow the leadership to confer with Ibrahim Coomassie from North-West, Olu Falae from South-West and Edwin Clark from South-South, among others.

"When a matter becomes heated and emotional, it is very difficult for 492 people to negotiate.

"Is it possible that you can seek the services of the leaders of the different zones to engage with their different membership.

"There is a lot more that we would need to negotiate over. A consensus, we have all agreed, is far superior to voting.

"I am hoping that if we break into our different zones, we can talk to ourselves, we can ask ourselves what are our concerns.

"The difference between two-third and 75 per cent is 41 people. To some people, it is the whole world, to some people, it is very few,” he said.

"Negotiations will always be given and taken and I believe that a smaller number is better and able to reach a reasonable conclusion than 492 people, because emotions are just being whipped.”

Contributing, Atedo Peterside, a federal delegate, cautioned the delegates to be wary of the presence of the media whose responsibility he said was to report proceeding of the conference to the world.

"There is a reason the whole nation is here. The whole nation is watching; they are listening.

"Let us not over-emphasise our importance. Even Shakespeare said he stooped to conquer and others say that pride comes before the fall,” he said.

Peterside said that whatever percentage any voting attained, whether by consensus, two-third or three-quarter, should be referred to the house and let it be subjected to Nigerians at the end.

He advised that the matter be deferred to Wednesday for continuation of debate.

Earlier in her contribution, Sen. Florence Ita-Giwa, advised that voice vote be adopted at the early, stage to avoid divisions.

At this stage, the presiding officers conferred among one another on the issue.

Speaking on their behalf, the deputy chairman, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, said that the chairman should be allowed to relate with the leadership of each delegate and be able to reach a consensus.

This was unanimously adopted with a thunderous applause by the delegates.

"I thank you all for agreeing with what the deputy chairman said. In order words, this matter of three-quarter or two-third will be adjourned until further notice.

"We will continue with our programmes, our work plans, we adopt rules and maybe start the presidential address before we go into committees,” the chairman, Idris Kutigi, said.

Kutigi consequently adjourned the conference to Wednesday to allow for more consultations over the contentious issue.


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