Wednesday, 5 February 2014

National Council Of State Meeting: The Outcome

The National Council of State (NCS) that held a meeting yesterday in Abuja endorsed the forthcoming National Conference, and deliberated on the planned centenary celebrations and the security situation.

The NCS is the highest constitutional advisory body in Nigeria. Its members are all former presidents and heads of states, past chief justices of the Federation, the 36 states incumbent governors as well as the leaders of the National Assembly. The Councils is chaired by the President.
The politicians endorsed the National Conference proposed by President Goodluck Jonathan saying anything that would strengthen the unity of the country should be encouraged.
The Council also advised politicians to desist from making provoking statements that can threaten the peace and security in Nigeria.

The absentees
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former Head of States General Muhammadu Buhari, and Governor Rotimi Amaechi were absent from the gathering.
Amaechi's Chief Press Secretary David Iyofor later explained that the Governor's absence was not deliberate as he had to travel out of country.
It is still unknown, however, why Obasanjo and Buhari ignored the meeting.
Both politicians oppose President Goodluck Jonathan’s plan to contest election in 2015, what might have prevented them from coming to the NCS gathering.
Buhari had earlier said he would not attend the NCS until the injustice allegedly done to him during the 2011 election was redressed, while Obasanjo recently accused Jonathan of violating his promise not to run for a second term in office.

READ MORE: former Nigerian leaders, Olusegun Obasanjo and Muhammadu Buhari were conspicuously absent at the meeting. Although no reason was adduced for their absence, both men have one thing in common: opposition to President Goodluck Jonathan’s planned re-election in 2015.
The discussion
After the six-hour meeting, the Benue State Governor Gabriel Suswam answered journalists' questions.
He said the President briefed the Council on the National Conference, and the participants made a lot of contributions that the Council approved.
He said that the National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki briefed the NCS on the security situation in the country.
According to Suswam, Dasuki said that some of the
"unguarded statements by some prominent Nigerians are capable of inciting people; that we should be careful as major actors in the polity to avoid making some unguarded utterances that could unwittingly incite the generality of Nigerians," Suswam told the journalists. "The Council took note of that and agreed that people should be more careful about what they say as public office holders," he added.
The NCS also approved the list of chairman and new members of the National Population Commission.
The Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha told journalists that the Council deliberated on new strategies on how to move Nigeria forward.
"Politicians have also been warned against unguarded utterances so as not to heat up the polity. The meeting has helped to resolve a lot of issues," he said. "We have to adopt some new strategies for tackling security issues in the country. We discussed National Conference which we saw as a welcome development," Okorocha added.
He noted that although his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) had not yet decided whether they would take part in the National Conference, the party’s governors that attended the Council meeting supported the national confab.
"Yes APC has not taken a position on whether to participate or not but this is not about party position, it is a matter that affects the whole country," Okorocha stated.
But he added that the "discussions were not along party lines."

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