Junaid Mohammed, a Second Republic federal lawmaker, on Tuesday said the 2014 national conference convened by former President Goodluck Jonathan was a fraud which was allegedly manipulated by the former president and some other people in order not to favour the North.
Jonathan, who lost the 2015 presidential election handed over the report to President Muhammadu Buhari. However, Buhari has refused to implement it saying it will be kept in the archives.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Daily Independent on calls by some Nigerians that the report of the conference be implemented, Junaid, who was also a delegate to the conference, said many of the issues that were rejected during the conference were smuggled into the final report of the conference.
“Those saying that the report should be implemented have they read the report? Has anyone of us who attended the conference told Nigerians what aspect we want to be implemented?
“I was at the 2014 national conference. I represented Kano State which is one of the two biggest states in the country. I had been involved in several conferences in the past and even after the 2014 conference, we also had another one here in Kano concerning the state.
“As far as I am concerned, that 2014 confab is a fraud. What they are purporting to be the report is a fraud. Most of the issues that we discussed which were rejected was brought back into the final report through the backdoor. They did that with the full cooperation of the then President Goodluck Jonathan.
“But we defeated every issue they brought even though we are in the minority. If you want to have a constitutional conference, one, it must be representative of the whole country. People don’t feel unnecessarily marginalised”, he said.
Junaid said it was absurd that the Northern region, which he said has the highest population and has always been in the majority even before 1914 amalgamation was treated as a minority at the conference.
According to him, despite being accorded the minority status, the North defeated others in most of the issues discussed at the conference.
“The North has been in the majority of Nigerian population even before 1914. You cannot have a constitutional conference in which the North has been reduced to a minority and you say you are holding a national conference. How is that possible? In spite of this fraud, we still defeated them.
“It was one of the gimmicks employed by former President Goodluck Jonathan and we know that. In fact, the idea in the North was that we should boycott the confab.
“But we thought that may affect the unity of the country and we don’t want to be held responsible historically for that. So, that was why we went, we saw and we defeated them”, Junaid said.
However, responding to Junaid’s claim, Afenifere, pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, challenged him to mention some of the rejected issues discussed at the conference that was smuggled into the report through the backdoor.
Yinka Odumakin, the group’s National Publicity Secretary, said Junaid displayed brazen disregard for the truth, character and integrity through his utterances.
“Can Junaid mention such items? One is amazed at how some of our compatriots display brazen disregard for the truth, character and integrity when they push sectional and parochial agenda no matter the level of facade they wear.
“I put it to Dr. Mohammed that he is not a witness of truth until he points out those items”, he said.