By Muyiwa Bamidele
President Goodluck Jonathan has the out come of the National Conference would be subjected to referendum in order to reflect the wishes if Nigeria People.
The President gave the pledge at the inauguration of the National Conference, headed by Justice Idris Kutigi in Abuja.
The President, in his remarks, broke the news to the delegates that the leaderships of the National Assembly, who were also present, have assured him that provision would be made for referendum in the ongoing amendments of the nation’s constitution.
He therefore, urged both Chambers of the National Assembly and the State Assemblies to hasten up the process of amendments so that it could be ready before the national conference completes its assignment in three months time.
Jonathan said: “Let me at this point thank the National Assembly for introducing the provision for a referendum in the proposed amendment of the Constitution. This should be relevant for this Conference if at the end of the deliberations, the need for a referendum arises.
“I therefore urge the National Assembly and the State Houses of Assembly to speed up the Constitutional amendment process especially with regard to the subject of referendum.”.
President Jonathan justified the need for the conference, stressing that it provides a good avenue for people to ventilate their views without compromising national unity.
He, therefore, charged the 492 delegates and six conference officials to focus on national agenda by jettisoning sectional interests.
An elated President declared that it was the dawn of a new era, adding that the outcome of the conference would be a positive turning point for Nigeria’s development.
President Jonathan however reminded the delegates that they should not be under an illusion that it will be a simple task, saying the task ahead is formidable.
He expressed optimism that the calibre of delegates at the conference are up to the task and would overcome all obstacles that would come their way.
The President again reiterated that he had no personal agenda, saying: “Let me repeat what I have been saying that Goodluck Jonathan has no personal agenda.”
“This coming together under one roof to confer and build a fresh national consensus for the amicable resolution of issues that still cause friction amongst our people must be seen as an essential part of the process of building a more united, stronger and progressive nation.
“It is our expectation that participants in this conference will patriotically articulate and synthesize our peoples’ thoughts, views and recommendations for a stronger, more united, peaceful and politically stable Nigeria, forge the broadest possible national consensus in support of those recommendations, and strive to ensure that they are given the legal and constitutional backing to shape the present and the future of our beloved fatherland.”
Justifying the need for the National Conference, the President said: “This National Conference is a very important avenue for the voices of our people to be heard. Our people have yearnings and desires that need to be discussed.
“Their representatives at this conference are neither usurping the role of the National Assembly nor the Executive. They are complementing us in our march towards a greater and stronger union.
Vice President Namadi Sambo; Speaker Aminu Tambuwal; the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mariam Aloma-Mukhtar; and the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekerenmadu, and some state governors were present at the inauguration.