Abuja - Retired Justice Idris Kutigi, Chairman of the completed National Conference, on Thursday said President Goodluck Jonathan did not influence the decisions of the conference as speculated in some quarters.
Kutigi said this at the closing ceremony of the conference in Abuja.
He said even when the conference sought the President’s intervention on the voting pattern it should adopt, Jonathan still told the delegates to sort it out themselves.
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“We have finally laid to rest the apprehension that a National Conference will lead to the disintegration of Nigeria. We have held a national conference and we are more united today than ever.”
“Let me state here categorically, and with the fear of Almighty Allah in my heart, that not once did you (Jonathan) interfere or dictate to us (the delegates) in the course of this conference.”
“The only time we tried to consult the President during the conflict over voting percentages at the very beginning of the conference, we were told that the issue was for us to resolve.”
``At no time after that did he meet with us or speak to us,” the conference chairman said.
Kutigi, who presented the 22-volume report with over 10 000 pages to the President, also said the conference ended successfully contrary to speculations that it would be a failure.
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“When Mr President inaugurated the 2014 National Conference on March 17, 2014, we knew we were taking on a tough assignment.”
“Most Nigerians did not believe that this whole enterprise was going to last this long or come to a successful conclusion.”
“Yet here we are five months later at a ceremony to mark the successful execution of our mandate.”
“It is not that we lasted this long that is newsworthy; but that we overcame all the obstacles in our way,” he said.
Kutigi said there were moments when delegates disagreed on some issues.
“But we were still able to address our differences and sought to construct solutions that will become building blocks for a stable nation,” he said.
The conference chairman said the conference approved over 600 resolutions dealing with issues of law, policy and constitutional amendments.
He added that the conference did not deal with frivolous or inconsequential issues, saying they showed courage in tackling substantial and fundamental issues.
The chairman also said resolutions at the conference were adopted by consensus, adding ``not once did we have to vote or come to a division.
“This is a message that we wish the world to hear loud and clear. Nigerians are capable of not only discussing their differences but are also capable of coming up with solutions to these difficulties.”
Kutigi called on the National Assembly to play its role in ensuring that the conference report translated into laws for the benefit of all Nigerians.
He also commended the delegates and the management team for their tenacity and dedication in spite of the enormity of the job, and ensuring that the conference ended successfully.