THE Presidential Advisory Committee on National Conference on Friday commenced its assignment with an interactive sessions in Akure, Ondo State, where various groups and organisations presented their positions on the agenda and the direction of the conference.
Many of the groups that presented memoranda at the event were however unanimous in their demand for a Sovereign National Conference, the outcome of which would only be subjected to a referendum.
Prominent among the groups that presented inputs for the conference were the pan-Yoruba socio political group, Afenifere, the Yoruba Unity Forum, PRONACO, students, Arogbo-Ijaw group, Movement for National Reformation, Atayese, the Ondo Study Group, National Council of Women Societies, among others.
Presenting the position of Afeniferes the leader of the group, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, stated that the national conference should be made up of ethnic nationalities which must accommodate the civil service, religious leaders, labour leaders, students and other special interests.
The group also canvassed for 700 delegates with a maximum of 100 delegates from the six existing zones, while the remaining 100 should represent the special interest group.
The group also suggested a six-month duration for the conference, while the agenda for the conference should include philosophical foundation of Nigeria, structure of the nation, revenue generation, economy, defence and national security.
In the same vein, the Arogbo-Ijaw’s position was submitted by Chief F. J. Williams that five persons each should be enough to articulate the positions of the ethnic nationalities.
The group, however, disagreed over the role of the National Assembly in the conference, saying the decision should not be forwarded to the National Assembly.
According to the group, “the National Assembly is part of the Nigerian fraud, adding that “sovereignty belongs to the Nigerian peoples.”
The chairman of the committee, Senator Femi Okurounmu, assured Nigerians that their views would be respected.
Ondo State governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, in his remark, noted that the state was picked to host the first in the series of the committee sitting because Ondo State was regarded as the cradle of democracy in the country.
He assured the committee that the people of the state would actively participate and support the conference.
Mimiko said the ideas and discussion of the dialogue would go a long way in shaping the nation towards the long-awaited development.
Earlier, Okurounmu had, at the palace of the Deji of Akure, Oba Adebiyi Adesida, said the conference was necessitated by the agitation of various groups and nationalities in the country.
The monarch urged members of the committee to be committed to the assignment.