Nigeria will be better if Buhari implements 2014 confab report – Jonathan

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Immediate past President, Goodluck Jonathan, has said that Nigeria would have been better if President Muhammadu Buhari had implemented the recommendations of the 2014 national conference.

Speaking on Thursday at the book presentation of Senator Femi Okurounmu which he chaired at the University of Lagos, the former President said that the nation’s major challenges can be addressed effectively if the report of the conference is executed.

He said his administration would have implemented the report of the confab but due to political and timing issues, it was impossible for him.

According to him, the conference took out politics and that the recommendations would have taken Nigeria out of the woods.

He added that if the report was to be implemented, it required an amendment of parts of the 1999 Constitution and that it was not a thing to be rushed.

“I initiated and inaugurated the conference because I believed that the call for a National dialogue could no longer be ignored. It was a decision taken to reconcile the ethnic difference, heal old wounds and address mutual suspicions. The recommendation of the conference is far-reaching in setting an agenda for peace and unity. They amply captured the solutions to the problems of today and made suggestions that will address the worries of tomorrow.

“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 consideration, there is every likelihood that a diligent implementation of the key recommendations of the conference will lead the nation out of the woods.

“This will heal frayed nerves, promote solidarity, engender peace and reposition our nation for meaningful growth and sustainable development,” he said.

Jonathan also said democracy was key to achieving the dreams of the people but noted that the electoral process must be credible to achieve better living.

“An electoral process that does not earn the support and participation of the citizen is a recipe for violence and political crisis. It is necessary for democratic nations to take relevant measures to ensure the impartiality and independence of the Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs), as a means of guaranteeing the credibility and legitimacy of electoral processes.

“We understand that there are no perfect elections anywhere in the world. However, there are minimum standards expected of every nation that is desirous of organising credible elections. In this regard, the process of constituting the EMBs is very critical. In many thriving democracies, the responsibility of appointing electoral umpires is no longer left in the hands of one powerful politician,” he stated.

This, he said, was because no matter how he went about it, his intentions and choices would not be entirely trusted by the stakeholders, stressing that one way this could be achieved was for the relevant arms of the National Assembly to study the different models of recruiting members of the EMBs in other countries as a guide towards establishing a functional template that would secure true independence for the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

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