Former President Goodluck Jonathan has said that the solutions to most of the multiplicity of challenges facing Nigeria can be realised if the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference are implemented.
He stated this on Thursday in Lagos when he spoke at the launch of a book in commemoration of the 80th birthday of a former senator, Femi Okurounmu.
The book is a memoir by the politician and is entitled “The Dream: Pursuing the black renaissance through the murky waters of Nigerian politics”.
Jonathan said, “Our country is faced on all corners by a multiplicity of challenges, bothering mainly on security and national cohesion.
“Although these problems are not new, the discord has continued to widen over time. I understand that efforts are being made toward addressing some of these challenges, however, we seem to play politics with sensitive and serious matters.
“The call for reforms has continued to grow louder, gathering the kind of momentum that should no longer be overlooked, if the nation must make real progress. 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 our consideration, there is every likelihood that a diligent implementation of the key recommendations of the conference will lead the nation out of the woods.”
Jonathan had convened the conference in 2014 to address some of the challenges the country was facing.
Between 2014 and 2015 when he left office, his administration appeared not to have shown the will to implement the recommendations of the conference.
However Jonathan, who was the chairman of the book launch, explained that his administration did not implement the recommendations of the conference because the report was submitted to him towards the end of his tenure.
According him, he got the report while 2015 elections were approaching, and the executive and legislature were very busy preparing for the polls.
Jonathan had lost in that election to President Muhammadu Buhari as incumbent, a development that put a final stop for him to be the one to implement the report.
“I noticed that each time I express this belief and optimism, I always get hit with the counter narrative that seems to question my inability to implement the recommendations during my presidency.
“This is a question I have answered in many fora. In my book, ‘My Transition Hours’, Chapter 10 provided detailed answers in this regard.
“My administration was prepared to change the narrative for our constitutional democracy with the assurance that sovereignty really belongs to the people.
“However, we were time constrained. The conference was concluded less than one year to the end of my tenure.
“We received the report specifically on August 21, 2014, at a time the nation was in the mood of electioneering.
“Then, the members of the National Assembly, whose duty it was to consider and validate the process, were pre-occupied with the battle of political survival.
“I believed that given the nature of the consultations and due deliberations involved in advancing the process, an orderly and systematic implementation could have been concluded in less than a year.
“It was obvious we did not have that time before the end of my administration.”