Former Nigeria President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has given reasons why his government could not implement the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference which he convened to address some of the challenges the country was facing, including security and national cohesion.
Speaking today, July 11 in Lagos at the launch of a book to commemorate the 80th birthday of a frontline politician, Senator Femi Okurounmu, Dr. Jonathan said: ”my administration was prepared to change the narrative for our constitutional democracy with the assurance that sovereignty really belongs to the people.
”However, we were time constrained. The conference was concluded less than one year to the end of my tenure. We received the report specifically on August 21, 2014, at a time the nation was in the mood of electioneering.
”Then, members of the National Assembly, whose duty it was to consider and validate the process were pre-occupied with the battle of political survival.
The former president said the implementation of the recommendations of the conference required amendment of the constitution and the National Assembly did not have the time to go through the process.
”I noticed that each time I express this belief and optimism, I always get hit with the counter narrative that seems to question my inability to implement the recommendations during my presidency.
”This is a question I have answered in many fora. In my book,”My Transition Hours”, Chapter 10 provided detailed answers in this regard.
”I believed that given the nature of the consultations and due deliberations involved in advancing the process, an orderly and systematic implementation could have been concluded in less than a year. It was obvious we did not have that time before the end of my administration.”
Jonathan said his administration did not insist on a rushed implementation because he did not want be seen to have organized the conference to gain political popularity.
Jonathan, who was chairman of the book launch, said he believed the implementation of the conference report would heal frayed nerves and promote solidarity, adding that the solutions to most of the problems Nigeria is facing today “lie in our honest assessment of the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference.
”Our country is faced on all corners by a multiplicity of challenges, bothering mainly on security and national cohesion. Although these problems are not new, the discord has continued to widen over time.
”I understand that efforts are being made toward addressing some of these challenges, however, we seem to play politics with sensitive and serious matters.
”The call for reforms has continued to grow louder, gathering the kind of momentum that should no longer be overlooked, if the nation must make real progress.
”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,”
The former president described the author as a great politician who was not given to politics of bitterness.
He said Okurounmu was one of the critics of his administration, but his observations were always constructive and helpful.
Dr. Jonathan commended the politician for documenting his experiences in the memoir, saying that the book would provide great lessons for the present generation and posterity.
”He has shown courage by documenting some of his experiences in the course of his glorious service to his nation and community for the sake of posterity,” he said.
The book, a memoir by the politician, is titled: ”The Dream: Pursuing the Black Renaissance Through The Murky Waters of Nigerian Politics.”