Confab: New group emerges
A new presure group, Initiative for National Consensus, has emerged from the just-conduced National Conference.
More than eight pressure groups were formed during the four-and-a-half-month conference, but none announced its continuity beyond the conference.
The group, according to its conveners, is a non-partisan advocacy association of politicians, academia, professionals and other interests.
Refuting insinuations that the composition of the conference was intended to boost President Goodluck Jonathan’s political ambition towards 2015, members of the group said they were not working for the President.
Addressing journalists shortly before the closing ceremony of the conference yesterday, the Protem Chairman of the group, Remi Olatunora, noted that most of the delegates to the conference were not politicians.
He said: “It must be made clear that we are not formed to work for the political aspirations of the President. Of course, it was insinuated before the beginning of the conference that it was meant to boost President Jonathan’s chances against 2015.
“But I want to say that this group is not about President Jonathan.
Besides, the composition of this group is such that even most of the politicians that are members of this group are not in the same political camp as the President.
“Moreover, the President has over 3,000 groups working for him, so there is no need for us working for him.”
According to him, the survival of the country and the implementation of the recommendations of the conference was the driving force behind the formation of the group.
“The main reason behind the formation of this group is to ensure that the report does not end up on the shelves as white paper like the ones before it.
“We realised that so much efforts were put into the production of this document and as all Nigerians can see, dialogue and consensus prevailed in bringing about the report.
“It is our determination that we do all we can to see that what we recommended see the light of day.
“We reasoned that to succeed in that task, we have to come together as a formidable group.
“It was unanimously agreed by the conference that a group be formed that would relate with the Presidency on the implementation of the report, but we don’t want to take anything for granted, and that is why we are forming this group.
“As I said earlier, we have to hit the ground running. Knowing very well that we are going into an election year, time constraint may be a factor for the Presidency and the National Assembly. So, it is our belief that we should be proactive by contributing our own quota to national development.”
On how the group intends to accomplish the set task, Olatubora said members of the group would liaise with the Presidency, the National Assembly and others policy makers on how to go about the implementation of the report.
He also said the 25-member group is open to all delegates to the 2014 conference.
“It is not a closed group. We are just the conveners. The group is open to all and ready to take off.”
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