Former President Goodluck Jonathan has said that the various challenges currently facing the country could have been addressed if President Muhammadu Buhari had implemented key recommendations of the reports of 2014 National Conference.
Speaking yesterday in Lagos at the launching and presentation of the Memoirs of Senator Femi Okurounmu at the University of Lagos, Jonathan also explained why his administration couldn’t implement the Confab report before he left the office.
While stating that he initiated the Conference because he believed that the call for a National Dialogue could no longer be ignored because there is a need to reconcile ethnic differences, heal old wounds and address mutual suspicions, he stated that the recommendations of the Conference were far-reaching in setting an agenda for peace and unity.
According to him, “I believe that the solutions to most of the problems we face today lie in our honest assessment of the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference. If we take politics out of our consideration, there is every likelihood that a diligent implementation of the key recommendations of the Conference will lead the nation out of the woods.”
While calling for an end to the selection of the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by the sitting President, Jonathan said the unilateral selection of the electoral management team by the President reduces the confidence of the electorate in the process.
“There are three ways countries constitute their electoral management bodies. In Canada and India, the President doesn’t play any role in the emergence of the electoral body; it is an institution that composes the body. In countries like Nigeria, Kenya and others, the President single-handedly, like I did too while serving, appointed members of INEC. And there is a middle ground process that combined the two.
“In some countries, some independent bodies interview some people and select a number from the pool, and the President picks the head of the electoral team from there. So, anybody he takes must have passed the minimum benchmark to be there. I am not talking about the current administration, but I’m talking about the interest of the nation. Nigeria is very big and complex; we must start to review how our electoral management team is set-up.”