News / Africa

Nigeria Leader to Inaugurate Dialogue Committee

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan speaks during an interview with Reuters in New York, September 26, 2012.
Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan speaks during an interview with Reuters in New York, September 26, 2012.
Peter Clottey
Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan intends to inaugurate an advisory committee on Monday to develop a plan to begin a national dialogue to help resolve the country’s challenges, says Rueben Abati, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to Mr. Jonathan.

“It has the mandate to work out the modalities, the form the structure the nomenclature, the agenda for the dialogue or conference,” said Abati.  “Part of the function is also advising government on the legal proceeding that may be necessary, the constitutional action that may follow the outcome of the dialogue.”

The 13-member committee is expected to comprise a chairman, a secretary, and 11 other members who are drawn from different segments of the Nigeria society, including the civil society, the academia and professional groups, says Abati.

The committee is expected to submit its report in four weeks after its inauguration.

“The purpose of this whole exercise is to address those issues that continue to cause friction within the Nigerian society.  Issues that were left unresolved by previous conferences of this nature,” said Abati. “

Observers have questioned the creation of the advisory committee, saying previous administrations failed in 1994 and 2005 with similar efforts.  But Abati says unlike in the previous governments, Mr. Jonathan has pledged to resolve the country’s problems.

“What is different is the commitment of the government of the day, the political will to make a difference and this administration is not going to define no-go areas for the conference,” said Abati.  “This is a problem solving unity forging exercises, and it is not surprising that the proposal has received the support of Nigerians across the various ethnic nationalities, and across social political organizations, who have said that indeed a dialogue is necessary.”

Some opposition groups have rejected the formation of the committee saying it's yet another effort of the Jonathan administration to distract Nigerians from the government’s failures.  But Abati disagreed with the criticisms.

“The naysayers are just individual trouble makers who are opposing it for selfish political reasons.  Because these same isolated individuals are persons who in the past have demanded an exercise of this nature, who have said this is important for Nigeria to move forward,” said Abati.

“But now that they have been confronted with, and they have seen the administration is committed to really having that dialogue and given them the opportunity to ventilate their own opinion, they are now trying to play politics just to be seen to be contrarian as a habit.”

Abati says the advisory committee forms part of President Jonathan’s effort to ensure the country’s unity as enshrined in the constitution.
Clottey interview with Rueben Abati, President Jonathan's adviser
Clottey interview with Rueben Abati, President Jonathan's adviseri
|| 0:00:00

You May Like

Isolation, Despair Weigh on Refugees in Remote German Camp

Refugees resettled near village of Holzdorf deep in German forestland say there is limited interaction with public, mutual feelings of distrust

Britons Divided Over Bombing IS

Surveys show Europeans generally support more military action against Islamic State militants, but sizable opposition exists in Britain

Russia Blacklists Soros Foundations as 'Undesirable'

Russian officials add Soros groups to a list of foreign and international organizations banned from giving grants to Russian partners

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Dotpoints
October 07, 2013 2:37 PM
I suggest according to Mr president, ee should address the causes of failure of the 1994 snd 2005 report. If not, whatever report the 13 member committee comes out with would not see the limelight.

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
October 07, 2013 2:35 PM
Unity as enshrined in the constitution indeed! The north of the country is proving the very essence of a national conference. Maybe Nigeria has become too large for itself. Some bigwigs in the country wanted a fragmented country just to make the polity ungovernable by Jonathan. Jonathan now agrees with them and they are opposing him. They introduced boko haram to spite Jonathan, but the rest of the country wants them to go settle their boko haram pet project; But boko haram is like a blackmailer - it is never satisfied, it keeps asking for more. And when those now mentoring boko haram are faced with being the sole heads of boko haram regions, will they want boko haram to continue? For the first time in his regime Jonathan has taken the bull by the horn to pass the buck back to the trouble makers. Maybe Nigeria is better off with unity in diversity

By the Numbers

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs