OPC Canvasses Six Month Sitting Period For National Dialogue

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The Odu’a People’s Congress (OPC) on Monday in Lagos suggested that the planned national conference should be convened between February and July 2014.

According to the Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, the conference should last six months.

Addressing newsmen in Lagos, OPC Founder, Dr. Federick Fasehun, said the fall-out from the conference should serve as a guidepost for the 2015 general elections.

President Goodluck Jonathan had on Oct. 1 endorsed the national conference and announced the setting up of an Advisory Committee chaired by Sen. Femi Okurounmu. The panel has already been inaugurated and is set to begin work.

The committee had been given six weeks to submit its report.

“The current generation of elected public officials will be the last under the current 1999 constitution. In 2015, elected persons can begin to serve under the new constitution. This will prevent the existence of a `hybrid republic’ in which political officials will show loyalty to two different constitutions,” Fasehun said.

According to him, the national conference may be the ‘last chance’ that will save the Nigerian federation.

“Everyone through their groupings must present his or her own views, aspirations and demands on Nigeria as a nation,” he said.

Fasehun, however, urged the Advisory Committee to make the conference an all- inclusive one for the 371 nationalities in Nigeria.

He added: “Not only will majority of tribes of Hausa-Fulani, Yoruba and Igbo feature in this conference; it must be representatives of all Nigeria’s minority tribes.

“Apart from ethnic representations, specific individuals and interest groups should be drafted into the project,” he said.

He also suggested that the likes of Prof. Wole Soyinka, Mr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), Prof. Pat Utomi, Frank Kokori, and Prof. Dora Akunyili should be brought into the project.

“Special interest groups such as labour, youths, women, the physically challenged, aged, traditional rulers, lawyers, the clergy, and ethnic nationalities should also be co-opted,’’ the OPC leader said.