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National Conference, A Waste of Public Funds — Poll

National Conference, A Waste of Public Funds — Poll

The National Conference currently going on in Abuja may well be nothing but a jamboree.

The result of a recent online poll conducted by Punch Online points in this direction.

The poll opened on March 25 with the question ‘Do you believe the National Conference is a waste of public funds?’ as declared by a former military head of State, Maj.-Gen. Mohammadu Buhari.

At the end of the poll on April 16, a total of 1, 087 respondents responded to the question, picking either ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.

The online poll shows that 776 respondents, representing 71 per cent, believe that the national conference is a waste of public funds, indeed, a waste of time.

Conversely, 311 respondents, which represent 29 per cent, believe the conference is not at all a waste of public funds.

Indeed, those who chose ‘No’ must have been swayed by the argument that it was high time various groups in the country gathered as a think tank to resolve the myriad problems facing it.

President Goodluck Jonathan aligned with position in his speech at the inauguration of the conference.

He said, “This conference is open for us to table our thoughts and positions on issues, and make recommendations that will advance our togetherness.

“The issues range from form of government, structures of government, devolution of powers, revenue sharing, resource control, state and local government creation, boundary adjustment, state police and fiscal federalism, to local government elections, indigeneship, gender equality and children’s rights, amongst others.”

But it’s obvious that the 776 respondents, who say the conference is a waste of public funds, are not swayed by the president’s speech.

It is worthy of note however that the ongoing conference will not be the first national summit to be held in Nigeria, with eminent persons as delegates.

In 2005, the Olusegun Obasanjo-led Federal Government constituted the National Political Reforms Conference with former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Muhammad Uwais, as the chairman.

Sadly, the government, which spent huge tax payers’ money to convoke the summit, dumped the conference report on the shelves to gather dust.

A Northern-based human rights activist, Mallam Shehu Sani, who was part of the NPRC, stunned Nigerians recently when in Kaduna, he distributed copies of the conference reports to suya and akara sellers, noting that it was “to show Nigerians that this has always been the case with these conferences.”

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