Ben Dunno, Yenagoa
Former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Chief Olu Falae, has accused the Federal Government of lying about the 2014 national conference.
He described the conference’s recommendations on restructuring as the only report that recorded overwhelming acceptability based on consensus by all delegates who representedvarious ethnic nationalities in the country.
Falae spoke at the South South mega rally on restructuring in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital, at the weekend.
Also, a onetime minister of Finance, Falae said there can never be a report that would be able to accommodate the divergent views and aspirations of the various ethnic groups and yet supported by all delegates as the 2014 conference.
The former SGF explained that the level of patriotism displayed by the delegates on the burning issues of restructuring, especially at the committee level of the conference, was unprecedented as the delegates were able to see and feel the peculiarities of each ethnic group, and voted in such a way that no ethnic nationality would be left out or placed in a disadvantaged position at the end of the day.
“We were focused, committed and independent minded in all our deliberations concerning the issue of restructuring because we know how critical it is to development of the nation. Nobody guided us or gave us direction on what to do. We all sat and placed the issues bare on the table, and we all deliberated on it one after the other until we arrived at an appropriate resolution to the issues before voting.
“It is, therefore, surprising to me to see and hear a government that came onboard saying it would not go through the conference report, let alone implementing its recommendations. I was taken aback to hear the government trying to justify its action of not implementing the report and whipping up various sentiments to down play the report.
“But, they are lying. I know they have read the report. How did I know this? Go and read the recommendations of the All Progressives Congress (APC) review on the restructuring, led by Nasir El-Rufai, the governor of Kaduna State. We know that El-Rufai has read the conference report before bringing out the recommendations because most of them are already contained in our report,” he said.
Also, Chairman on the occasion, Chief Albert Horsfall, emphasised the need for the stakeholders in the struggle, especially the leaders and elders at the forefront, to remain positive, united and committed in their quest to chart a new course to the growth of the nation.
He said having seen an ideal Nigerian society in the 50s to early 60s, the only legacy they can bequeath on the next generation before they pass on, would be to return the country to those years where justice, equity and fairness formed the basis on which the masses were being governed.
Horsfall said restructuring did not just start today as it was enshrined in the 1963 Constitution until it was removed by the various constitutional amendments carried out by the military for their selfish interest.
He urged those leading the struggle not to be distracted or allow themselves to be used by some persons or groups who are bent on frustrating the struggle to bring disunity among them, stating that their strength lies in their unity.