The former minister for information, Prof. Jerry Gana has said the national conference announced by the President should be conducted after the 2015 elections to ensure better deliberation and discussion.
Prof. Gana applauded the initiative noting: “With reference to the timing of the conference, Middle Belt has two proposals: if the ongoing preparations can be concluded by December or January this year, the conference can sit for six months from February to July 2014 and submit its report in August. However, in view of preparations for the national election early 2015, it may be wiser to convene the conference after 2015 elections. As such, preparations for the conference could be perfected in 2014, but could actually be convened for February/March 2015 and allowed to sit for the rest of the year 2015.”
On how to select representatives, he said: “With reference to the mode of representation, Middle Belt is also proposing a basket of selection or election criteria, namely, each ethnic nationality should be represented at the conference to ensure equity, social justice and self-determination.
“People should be allowed to elect the participants, government should not select delegates for the people; it should be purely a people-oriented programme if it must achieve its desired result.”
While speaking at the proposed national dialogue consultation of the North Central Zone in Jos, Jerry Gana noted that the Middle Belt is in support of the conference, provided it does not lead to the disintegration of the country. Gana further said: “We hope it is not a conference to dismember Nigeria. We have paid the price of unity by souls of so many of our people. Our expectation is that the conference would give Nigeria a robust opportunity to live together under one God. The 21st century is a century of big nations; we would always be better together.”