Debonair journalist, Ray Ekpu has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately dust the reports of the 2014 National Conference and implement those he can without delay.
The National Conference, CONFAB, set up by the former President Goodluck Jonatha submitted a 24 volume report which is gathering dust right now in Aso Rock and Ekpu, a member of the historic gathering of Nigeria’s best brains and experts is not happy about this..
The Co-founder of the Newswatch Magazine said the only way Nigeria can overcome the spate of insecurity, economic stagnation, political upheavals, herdsmen-farmers crises, menace of the Niger Delta militants and others is to read the reports now.
For instance, Ekpu said that the issue of state police is expressly resolved in the reports as he insists that Nigeria cannot experience any meaningful growth without state police which he says is a way of also restructuring the country.
“We need state police if we have to restructure Nigeria,” Ekpu said. “If you don’t have state police you will not stop this security problem. In any case, the Federal police are being sponsored, manned and equipped by state government. If they remove their support, you will have people walking around calling themselves police without uniform, without equipment, they are just police in uniform, sometimes tattered uniform, sometimes they wear slippers, they can’t even buy their kits. That’s not dignity.”
The foremost columnist who spoke to the team of The Crest editors recently argued that President Buhari or the Secretary to the Federal Government, Boss Mustapha should take time out to read the Documents submitted by the 2014 Conference rather than allow the reports to continue to gather dust in Aso Rock.
He said: ”It is true that that conference produced perhaps the best reports. I don’t know of any report that you can find today that has dealt with many of the problems of Nigeria. The reason is that they had a pre-conference. They went round the country and they talked to people in all the zones, presentations and so on, it was based on the report of the pre-conference committee that President Goodluck Jonathan set up the conference itself.
“So, the members of the conference committee were also part of the national conference and the report of the committee was also incorporated in our reports. They gave us the reports of all the past national conferences and we sat down and distilled some of the decisions that have not been accepted, analysed them and so on. We talked to foreign experts, we talked to Nigerian experts, we talked to civil servants, retired and serving, talked to private sector people, so it was serious business and to finish and have documents like that, I think 24 volumes with statistics, information from different parts of the world in several volumes, kept under the carpet is wickedness.
“I heard the former secretary to government Mr Babachir Lawal saying it was job for the boys. He dismissed the conference and said it is job for the boys, no time to look at it, I am very busy. What are you busy doing? Cheer laziness. We are not coming up with new ideas. If I were in charge, I will look at it even if I didn’t tell you I will look at it and see if it is interesting?
“So you have tons of those documents with loads of information gathering webs somewhere and then this round trips, going round in circles….
“Yes, I blame Jonathan for not implementing part of the reports before he left office. The conference made it easy for anybody who wanted to implement the decisions, by tabulating the decisions — decisions that could be implemented administratively, decisions that needed legislation, amendment of legislation. We had senior advocates who did the review, so we put it there. The actual portions of the constitution that could be amended we got experts who also provided all these, so you have three things. If the government wants the administrative ones, it could have done that, but I don’t know what happened. I don’t know this mystery that is in government.”
Note: This is just a tip of the iceberg, as the full four-hour interview with the former Concord Press Editorial Board Chairman will be published by The Crest, in series, beginning from Saturday, the 33rd anniversary of the dastard assassination of his best friend Dele Giwa by the mysterious mail bomb of October 19, 1986. Ekpu gave the full details of how his friend was killed, the various battles the Newswatch had with the military junta and the much talked about $12 billion Gulf War windfall. He gave an insight into the story of Gloria Okon, the state of the nation, how billionaire businessman, Jimoh Ibrahim allegedly tricked them and bought Newswatch. And a whole lot more.
Have a date with The Crest.