Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria’s former president has given reasons his administration jettisoned the implementation of the report at the public presentation of a book in Abuja on Tuesday, June 28.
Titled: “The National Conversation”, a chronicle of the activities of the 2014 National Conference, the book was written by Akpandem James and Sam Akpe.
Telescope.ng gathered that Jonathan defended his administration through former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF)/ one-time Senate President, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, who stood in for him at the book launch.
He said those blaming him were either playing politics or ignorant of the political environment at the time as well as the length of time it would take to implement the report of a conference of that magnitude.
The former President said: “Whenever people say that I should have implemented the recommendations, my feeling is either those people did not understand the political environment at that time, the length of time it would take to implement the report of a conference like that or probably was just playing politics with such an important matter.
“Those knowledgeable about the processes of constitutional reforms will know that to implement the Confab report, several alterations will be made in the constitution which would require the involvement of the National Assembly and state assemblies.
“Such elaborate review couldn‘t have been possible at that time because by the time the report was submitted in August 2014, we were already on the verge of a general election.
“It is also important to point out that at that time, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, who was a member of my party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had already moved out, with some members, to the opposition party. That meant that a reasonable part of the National Assembly was anti-government.
“When you know that your parliament is under that kind of situation, it would have been imprudent on my part to take such a precious document, which I consider as crucial to our development yearnings, to a parliament that would not give it due consideration.
“If we had a task that would require the alteration of the constitution, enactment of new laws, and amendment of some existing ones, there was no way that could have been done overnight.
“We were also fully aware that for the segments of our population that were already suspicious of all the actions of government, our intentions could have been misread, especially against the backdrop of the ECOWAS protocol on constitutional reforms which states that no substantial modification shall be made to the electoral laws of member states in the last six months before elections”
He also attributed his inability to win the 2015 general election to the non-implementation of the report.
He said: “When l contested the 2015 election, I expected that l would win a second term within which period I would have worked for the implementation of the Confab report.
“I felt that within the next four-year mandate, the first two years would have been dedicated to implementing a reasonable part of the recommendations.”
Jonathan who said the essence of the 2014 Confab was to encourage a healthy conversation among the populace, address the queries agitating the minds of Nigerians and mend fences where possible, lamented that most issues are being politicised at the detriment of national development.
He said: “If we take politics out of our national calculations, we would all agree that with a fresh government it would have been easier to achieve the implementation of the report.
“One of the problems of this country is that we like playing politics with things that have very much to do with the national interest. We play politics with our security. We play politics with our economy. We play politics with almost everything. That is not the way to go if we must make progress in realising our national aspirations and goals.”
He then pleaded with Nigerians not to play politics with the 2014 Conference report, insisting that “at the appropriate time, the country through a dedicated parliament will do the right thing. And the right thing is to duly and dispassionately consider the report of the conference to implement the recommendations for the good of the country.”