The Secretary to the Government of the Federation Mr. Ayim Pius Ayim on the 30th of January 2014 announced the nominations for the 492 delegates, including representatives of professional groups, women groups, youth groups, ethnic nationalities, labour groups and Civil Society organisations to the National Conference.
Stating that it shall last for 3 months and shall discuss any subject matter, except the indivisibility and indissolubility of Nigeria as a nation, therefore the unity of Nigeria is non-negotiable. The decision at the National Conference shall be by consensus; but where it is not achievable; it shall be by 75% majority. It shall advise the Government on the legal framework, legal procedure and options for integrating the decision and outcomes of the National Conference into the constitution and laws of the country and the Conference shall have a Chairperson and a Deputy Chairperson of unimpeachable integrity.
While, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has subsequently announced that the National conference will be inaugurated on the 17th of March, The Lagos State Civil Society Partnership (LACSOP) a non-partisan forum of Civil Society Network facilitated the South West Civil Society Consultative Forum on Priority Issues for the National Conference on Tuesday the 11th of March 2014, at Planet One Hotel in Lagos.
The forum was attended by over 50 participants comprising the broader civil society and its stakeholders from the six states of the South West Zone. The forum was also supported by Lagos State Civil Society, using an online portal for the continuous harmonization and feedback from the public on issues as they are raised during the National Conference itself on twitter.
Present at the highly engaging forum was Oba Aderemi. While,some of the notable civil society representatives present at the forum are Mr.Wale Okunniyi, Mr. Jimi Agbaje,Mr. Wale Ajani, Dr Tola Winjobi, Mr Debo Adeniran, Mrs. Jumoke Anifowoshe amongst other dignitaries.
At the end of the deliberations fourteen issues were agreed upon as priority areas to be discussed and highlighted by the civil society representatives to the National Conference. Some of priority issues discussed was the resource control issue and the need for it to be replaced with resource ownership, the issue of devolution of powers to the federating units of government. There was unanimous agreement on others like decentralized police force: state policing while, the armed forces shall remain at the centre (National) but with equal representation from the federating units.
The need for the judiciary to be decentralized to the federating units. The adoption of the Parliamentary system of government will reduce the high cost of governance to the barest minimum. While, positing that in the alternative, to reduce the cost of governance the Presidential system of government could be adopted, but without the offices of Vice President, Deputy Governors, Ministers of State and other paraphernalia of office attached to the above positions.
The need to have a First line charge account from the national revenue to provide social economic services , including free education from primary to tertiary level, healthcare, food subsidy , basic shelter, living allowance for the aged, unemployed and persons with disabilities.
Also, 35% affirmative action for women for all public, elective and appointive offices for 20 years (also to mainstream the issues of persons with disabilities). Fiscal arrangement of 50% to region of derivation. Youth participation at age 18 for voting and all elective offices.
The Citizenship law should be amended that women whose husbands are foreigners be free to be given citizenship. Electoral process should be made inclusive for persons with disabilities and
FoI Acts to be replicated in the states.