by Dare Lawal
It’s a race against time for the presidency as it continues preparations for the national conference. According to reports, the list of delegates as nominated by the stakeholders is due to be released today, even as the members would be inaugurated on Monday.
The Special Assistant to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Sam Nwaobasi who spoke with the Guardian newspaper, disclosed that “the full list of the delegates would be released on Wednesday or Thursday, without fail because the inauguration is on the 10th of this month.”
According to the report:
A source said some states in the North Central and North East had not sent a complete list of their delegates because their nominees are mostly political allies, this has generated controversy among the elders who faulted the process of nomination in the first place.
Some of the states have made efforts to fill in the space after the closing day, contrary to the directive that nominations were to close on the February 20, 2014.
However, Nwaobasi said that every state government has done its bit in line with what was contained in the modalities.
According to the modalities released by the SGF in January, President Goodluck Jonathan has the prerogative to fill the vacant positions left by state governments.
The President also has the right to choose 37 elder statesmen, one from each of the 36 states and FCT, besides 20 others from the judiciary who must be persons not currently serving from each of the six geo-political zones.
Meanwhile, a lawyer, Dr. Tunji Abayomi has prayed the Federal High Court, Abuja Division to restrain the Federal Government from going ahead with the forthcoming national conference.
In the suit dated March 3, 2014, Abayomi argued that the President does not have the power to convoke or convene a national conference without a law backing it from the National Assembly.
Joined as defendants in the suit are the Attorney-General of the Federation, President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Specifically, the plaintiff wants the court to determine whether a national conference can be convened by the president and/or government of Nigeria without a law made by the National Assembly enabling it to be done.
In the affidavit in support of the suit deposed to by Mr. Patrick Bisong, a litigation clerk in the office of the plaintiff, Abayomi said that the Federal Government plans to spend billions of public money to fund the conference despite the absence of any law enabling the President to convoke the conference and notwithstanding the limited power vested in the President to use money to execute law or law authorised national idea.
Abayomi prayed the court to restrain the Federal Government from going ahead with the conference, adding if they are not restrained, billions of tax-payers’ money will be spent unconstitutionally.
He said that to settle the rights of the parties to the action, urgent attention to the cause of action has become necessary.
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the matter.