President Goodluck Jonathan has blamed time and former Speaker Aminu Tambuwal of the House of Representatives for his inability to implement the recommendations of the 2014 Confab Report inaugurated by his administration.
Speaking at the public presentation of a book ‘The National Question’ authored by Akpandem James and Sam Akpe on Tuesday June 28, in Abuja, Jonathan said that he had the full mind to implement the recommendations of the confab had he won a second term.
Jonathan who is out of the country was represented at the book launch by erstwhile secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim.
While calling on Nigerians to remove politics from things of national interest, said:
“Whenever people say that I should have implemented its 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 were just playing politics with such an important matter.
“Those knowledgeable about the processes of constitutional reforms will know that to implement the Confab report, a number of alterations would have been made in the constitution which would have required 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.”
Besides time, President Jonathan also cited the political differences with Speaker Tambuwal for the failure to implement the 2014 Confab report.
“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.
“When you know that your parliament is under that kind of situation, it would have been imprudent on my own 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 have required 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.
Also adding to the issues of time and Speaker Tambuwal was the suspicion towards the 2014 confab report from the general public, a development President Jonathan said made it imperative to push the implementation to after the 2015 General Election.
“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.”
“When I contested the 2015 elections, my expectations was that I 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, my first two years would have been dedicated to implementing a reasonable part of the recommendations.”
“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 national interest. We play politics with our security. We play politics with our economy. We play politics with almost everything. That, definitely, is not the way to go, if we must make progress in realising our national aspirations and goals.”