Nigeria’s former President, Goodluck Jonathan, has provided reasons why he did not implement the report of the 2014 national conference which would have ensured major constitutional reforms.
Jonathan said that he did not have enough time to implement the decisions of the national conference as it was submitted close to 2015 general election.
The comment by the former Nigerian leader follows numerous commentaries and controversies that have for many years trailed the outcome of the conference that assembled various leaders, traditional rulers and top politicians across the country.
This was made known by President Jonathan at the public presentation of a book ‘The National Question’ authored by Akpandem James and Sam Akpe.
Jonathan was represented at the event by former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim. He noted that Aminu Tambuwal, who was a member of the PDP, just moved to the then opposition APC, with some other members of the party, making it difficult to get due consideration from the parliament.
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What former President Goodluck Jonathan is saying
Jonathan said that he expected to win a second term in the 2015 presidential election and would have dedicated the first 2 years of his second 4 years tenure to implement reasonable parts of the recmmendations.
The speech from Jonathan partly reads, “Whenever people say that I should have implemented its recommendations, my feeling is either those people did not understand the political environment at that time, the length of time it would take to implement the report of a conference like that or probably were just playing politics with such an important matter,” Jonathan said.
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“Those knowledgeable about the processes of constitutional reforms will know that to implement the Confab report, a number of alterations will be made in the constitution which would require the involvement of the National Assembly and state assemblies.
“Such elaborate review couldn’t have been possible at that time because by the time the report was submitted in August 2014, we were already on the verge of a general election.
“It is also important to point out that at that time, the speaker of the House of representatives, Rt Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, who was a member of my party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had already moved out, with some members, to the opposition party.
“When you know that your parliament is under that kind of situation, it would have been imprudent on my own part to take such a precious document, which I consider as crucial to our development yearnings, to a parliament that would not give it due consideration.
“If we had a task that would require the alteration of the constitution, enactment of new laws, and amendment of some existing ones, there was no way that could have been done overnight.
‘’When I contested the 2015 elections, my expectations was that I would win a second term within which period I would have worked for the implementation of the Confab report. I felt that within the next four year mandate, my first two years would have been dedicated to implementing a reasonable part of the recommendations.
‘’If we take politics out of our national calculations, we would all agree that
with a fresh government it would have been easier to achieve the implementation of the report.
“One of the problems of this country is that we like playing politics with things that have very much to do with national interest. We play politics with our security. We play politics with our economy. We play politics with almost everything. That, definitely, is not the way to go, if we must make progress in realising our national aspirations and goals.’’