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Monday, 4 November 2013

Disquiet in National Dialogue Committee over Nyiam

403--Col-Tony-Nyiam-(rtd).jpg - 403--Col-Tony-Nyiam-(rtd).jpg
Col. Tony Nyiam (rtd),

•SGF summons embattled member   
•Edo refutes allegation
• Abia backs conference, seeks restructuring     
•ACF opposes inclusion of ethnic nationalities
By Emmanuel Ugwu,  Adibe Emenyonu and John Shiklam                                                 
There is a growing concern among members of the Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue over the continued membership of  Col. Tony Nyiam (rtd), who led suspected party thugs on Monday to heckle Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, in Benin City.

The members, who were not happy with Nyiam's decision to rebuff their entreaties for him to resign in the wake of his misconduct, it was gathered, met yesterday to consider how to handle the situation.

One  of the steps they took was to call the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, who, it was learnt, summoned Nyiam to Abuja.
Nyiam, who had initially agreed to resign his membership of the committee, seemed to have made a U-turn as he sought to take further part in the committee's activities.

Although he went with his colleagues to Enugu State on Tuesday during which they received memoranda from stakeholders in the state, he did not participate in the public hearing as he sat out at the car park of the Government House, Enugu, while other members were meeting with the stakeholders.

He was also not with them yesterday as they visited Abia State to receive input from stakeholders on how to organise the national conference.
A member of the committee told THISDAY that they "met yesterday to  deal with Tony's case- that he had withdrawn his resignation, that his lawyer and people have told him that we cannot stop him from participating. He was visibly agitated.

"We had to call the SGF who has now summoned him to Abuja. Members had told the chairman that they felt uncomfortable with his suspicious movements and one had already received a threatening text message."

Nyiam's misconduct continued to generate more reactions as the Edo State Government faulted his defence of his action in Benin.
Also, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has expressed opposition to suggestion that the delegates to the national conference should be drawn from ethnic nationalities, among others.

As the committee continued its consultations in the South-east zone yesterday in Umuahia, without Nyiam, the people have expressed support for the need for  dialogue in order to build a true nation where equity, fairness would reign supreme.

Nyiam was not among members of the committee who paid a courtesy visit to the governor, Chief Theodore Orji and when the sensitisation session commenced, he was not seen.
Chairman of the committee, Senator Femi Okunrounmu, refused to explain the absence of  Nyiam as he just blurted out “no comment” when he was asked about the retired officer by reporters.

However, THISDAY gathered Nyiam did not come to Umuahia with his colleagues while two of the members who responded to enquiries about the whereabouts of Nyiam said he did not follow them  to Abia State after the Enugu forum.

“He (Nyiam) was with us at Enugu but he didn’t come with us here,” one of the committee member said.
Orji, who was the first to address the sensitisation session, urged the committee to look out for salient proposals that will foster equity, fairness, and mutual inter-dependence of states and people in the building of a new nation.

Professor Joe Irukwu, who presented the position of Abia State, said the people and government of Abia were in support of the conference because they were committed to the project of rebuilding Nigeria.

On how the conference should be organised,  Irukwu said the state's position was that there should be equal representation of six delegates per geopolitical zone while the conference should have a chairman and six vice-chairmen picked from all the zones.
According to him,  the dialogue, when it begins,  should end before the next general election while the decisions  reached at the conference should form the basis for a people’s constitution.

Meanwhile,  responding yesterday to Nyiam's defence of his conduct in Benin on Monday, the Edo State Government said his shameful action had exposed him as a bias person that should not be trusted with such a sensitive assignment. Defending himself, Nyiam had said his grouse with Oshiomhole was because of his sarcastic remarks against the proposed dialogue.

He also accused the governor of being in the habit of criticising  the efforts and policies of the Jonathan administration.
But the state government in a statement by Oshiomhole's Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Peter Okhiria,  wondered when Nyiam became the president’s spokesman as to want to drag Jonathan's name into his shameful act.

"We find it interesting that Col Nyiam has exposed the undercurrent motive of the conference which has also confirmed Governor Oshiomhole’s initial fears about the viability, necessity and desirability of same," the statement said.

In a related development, the Arewa Consultative Forum has kicked against the inclusion of ethic nationalities as participants in the proposed national conference.

The ACF, in a communiqué  at the end of its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Kaduna,  said their participation would end up  polarising the country along ethnic lines.

It added that representation  based on equality of geopolitical zones,  of states or of ethnic nationalities was too divisive for furthering national unity.

Instead, the forum urged  the federal government  to use local government areas as constituency units for representation, adding that each local government nationwide should be represented by  one delegate.

Besides, the forum in the communiqué, which was signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Anthony Sani, expressed pessimism about the outcome of the proposed conference and expressed the hope that it will not suffer the same fate with the one that was held during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

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