The Secretariat of the ongoing National Conference has explained what transpired before chairmen and vice chairmen of the various committees emerged at the conference in Abuja, Nigeria.
It made the clarification in a statement signed by Assistant Secretary, Media and Communication, Mr. Akpandem James in reaction to issues raised by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Nigerian Labour Congress(NLC) in their joint press conference.
Our attention has been drawn to claims by the Nigerian Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress during a joint press briefing this morning that the Secretariat of the Conference amended the records of proceedings to allow it powers to appoint Chairmen and Deputy Chairmen of Committees.
The group, in a press statement issued later, protested against what they termed “the decision of the Conference leadership to unilaterally reverse a decision consensually taken by the entire membership of the conference that Chairmen and Deputy Chairmen of Committees would be elected or selected by the Committee”.
In another breathe they blamed the 50 representatives for changing the decision of the majority regarding such appointments, claiming that it was not part of their mandate.
For the avoidance of doubt and for the information of the public, the Secretariat wishes to explain as follows:
It would be recalled that Under Order VI (6) the Secretariat had proposed that:
(a) “The Chairman shall, in consultation with the Deputy Chairman and Secretary, appoint Chairmen and Deputy Chairmen of Committees.
(b) The Chairman shall have the powers to review the performance of the Chairmen and Committees and remove them in consultation with the Deputy Chairman.
During the discussion of the draft Rules of Procedure, delegates amended that Order to read:
(a) Members of the Committees shall elect the Chairmen and Deputy Chairmen of their respective Committees.
(b) Members of the respective Committees shall have the powers to review the performance of the Chairmen and Deputy Chairmen of the Committees and remove them in consultation with the Chairman of the Conference.
At the consultative meeting between Principal Officers of the Conference and 50 selected delegates, mostly elders, representing the various interest groups to resolve the issue that arose over the voting formula, the issue of committees and leadership was also raised by delegates, who pointed out that in view of the posturing by members over the voting pattern, the earlier agreed position regarding the appointment of Committee leadership may throw up another contention.
It was subsequently agreed at the meeting of Thursday, March 28, 2014, that the principal officers of the Conference should handle the matter for the sake of achieving spread and competence. It was decided that the decision should be taken to the plenary on Monday March 31, 2014, for ratification.
At the resumed sitting on Monday, March 31, 2014 after the adoption of the position on the voting pattern, Hon. Mohammed Umaru Kumaila moved a follow-up motion from the Consultative Meeting to allow Principal Officers of the Conference select Chairmen and Deputy Chairmen of the proposed Committees to reflect competence, federal character and equity. The motion was seconded by Hon Orok Otu Duke.
A counter motion was moved by Comrade Ebuchukwu Ezike that the earlier decision reached by the conference to allow delegates select Chairmen/Deputy Chairmen of Committees be retained. It was seconded by Jaye Gaskiya.
At that point, the Deputy Chairman of Conference, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, put both motions to voice vote. Delegates voted to retain Order VI (6) as earlier proposed, to the effect that Principal Officers of the Conference select Chairmen and Deputy Chairmen of the Committees to reflect spread and competence. A motion to adopt the Procedure Rules as amended was subsequently moved by Dr (Mrs) Hannatu Ibrahim and seconded by Ambassador Adamu Aliyu. The Conference adopted the Procedure Rules as proposed and amended.
The Votes and Proceedings for March 31, 2014 when the amendment was made, which clearly stated the issue in question, was read on the floor of Conference on Tuesday, April 1, 2014 and t no delegate raised any issue regarding the amendment as contained in the Votes of Proceedings of March 31, 2014.
Assistant Secretary, Media and Communications