RAFSANJANI: Don’t Tie Implementation Of Confab Recommendations To An Individual

Mr. Auwal Ibrahim Musa Rafsanjani is of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy (CISLAC). He represented the civil society during the 2014 National Conference. In an interview with KAMAL TAYO OROPO, he said the conference is a Nigeria’s affair and must not be reduced to personal affairs or a tool for campaigns.

THE Confab whose report was submitted to President Jonathan in August last year, no doubt points the way to resolving some of the country’s fundamental questions. Will you agree that the timing of the confab has proven inappropriate, considering general election and pervasive insecurity engulfing parts of the country?

   We, the Civil Society Delegates to the National Confab believe it was organised at the right time to deliberate on topical issues that we must critically put into consideration moving forward as a nation.  It would be recalled that elections and security were among focal issues of discussion during the conference.

Besides the Yoruba group, Afenifere, which declared support for implementation of the confab report, why are politicians not interested in making the demand a campaign issue?

   It is one thing to bring people of diverse experience together to deliberate on national issues. It is also another thing to sincerely implement key recommendations from the deliberation to maximally benefit the country, not to take advantage of such to canvass support for a person, mainly for personal interests. This is Nigeria’s affair. It is not a personal affair. 

   We find it disturbing that the group canvasses for implementation of the report as a ploy to support a political candidate, not for the betterment of common Nigerians. We find it embarrassing that after such huge resources were committed towards organising the conference, the group canvasses for implementation of the report, primarily to benefit a political candidate, not to benefit common Nigerians.   

Why has the APC, which is significantly peopled by progressives not keen on the confab?

   In July, 2014, it would be recalled that All Progressives Congress had vowed to reject the outcome of the National Conference likely to be submitted to the National Assembly by President Goodluck Jonathan. To avoid being part of the process, the APC did not send any representative to the Conference, which it described as a jamboree. We must however, demand for effective implementation of the recommendations for the maximum benefit of the country, notwithstanding rejection by one political party or group. We must remember that the Confab was organised in the interest of Nigeria, not a political party or group.

What hopes are there for the implementation of the recommendations?

   Well, we strongly hope that the recommendations will be sincerely implemented to maximally benefit the interest of common Nigerians and the nation at large.

Which of the recommendations do you consider so crucial and would not wish forgotten?

   The Modified Presidential System of government as recommended by the Confab, if implemented would combine the attributes of parliamentary and presidential systems. The concept has the potential of entrenching the principles of separation of powers as practiced in presidential system and promotion of co-operation and harmony between executive and the legislature as operated under the parliamentary system.

   Scrapping of Joint State and Local Government Accounts to be replaced with a State Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission is another key recommendation, I believe would help to ensure the Local Governments are politically and economically independent to encourage development at grassroot levels.

   Another key recommendation that remains essential to our democracy is the financial autonomy conferred on State Houses of Assembly as a way of freeing them from direct control by the executive.



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