Spokesperson for the delegates that have disagreed on the mode of selecting Committee Chairmen at the ongoing National Conference, Abdulwaheed Omar has raised alarm that some powerful members of the Conference have already started manipulating some rules and orders in the Conference which, if the trend is allowed to continue may lead the Conference to derail from its objectives.
He said: “We are afraid if we go by this trend, only God knows what other things will be manipulated again in the same way. We are saying we have to practice democracy and we are demanding that this decision be reversed so that we will go back to the popular decision.”
Omar spoke to newsmen today at the venue of the Conference, against the background of the protests by some delegates over the decision of their principal officers to withdraw the power of committee members to select their chairmen and deputies.
Omar said that the move to thwart a decision already agreed by delegates is not acceptable, adding: “We are protesting against something that is being brought through the back door; the decision for the committee to select their chairmen and deputies at the committee level.
“This decision was concluded by delegates at the plenary, only for it to resurface through the Committee of 50, who are only mandated to talk about the voting pattern.
“The leadership of the conference is using the Committee of 50 to come up with something they were not originally mandated to discuss and we are saying this is the beginning of a dangerous pattern.”
He recalled that in 2005, it was the committees that selected their leaders and asked: “why will it be different this time?”
It would be recalled that on March 20, an amendment to the Rule was proposed at the conference that committee members should select their chairmen and deputy chairmen from among themselves.
Arguments for and against the proposal were canvassed by many delegates and when the conference Chairman, Retired Justice Idris Kutigi put it into a voice vote, the ‘ayes’ had it.
However, the leadership of the conference, on Monday, rescinded the power it gave the delegates to appoint their chairmen and vice chairmen at the committee level.
This followed a motion by Hon. Muhammed Kumalia (North-East) that the position taken on Order XII of the Draft Rules of Procedure be rescinded.
The Rule had proposed that the Chairman, in consultation with the Vice-chairman and the Secretary, should choose the committee chairmen and secretaries.