CONFAB OUTCOME

by BBC NEWS

As the Nigerian government begins moves to implement the conference's resolutions, many Nigerians are asking if the exercise was worthwhile.


Experts question the viability of some of the decisions and the feasibility of their implementation.
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We came in, we came out and we conquered”

Chief Edwin Clark Conference delegate

The delegates, drawn from all parts of the country and representing diverse interests, debated issues ranging from the contentious revenue-sharing formula to the divisive political structure of the nation.

They passed more than 600 resolutions and produced a 10,335-page report, which has been submitted to President Goodluck Jonathan, who promised to implement them.

"We shall send the relevant aspects of your recommendations to the Council of State and the National Assembly for incorporation into the constitution," he told the delegates' leaders.

"On our part, we shall act on those aspects required of us in the executive."
'More united'

Their chairman, former Chief Justice Idris Kutigi, said fears that the conference would lead to the disintegration of the country had been dispelled.

"We have held a National Conference and we are more united today than ever," he said.
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Main recommendations from the National Conference:

Scrapping the current system of 774 local authorities - this is intended to save money and reduce corruption. States would be able to set up their own local systems
Creation of 18 new states - equally spread around the country. Also suggested that states wishing to merge can do so if certain conditions met
Revenue allocation - proposes reducing share of national income going to the federal government and increasing share for the states
Modified presidential system of government that combines the presidential and parliamentary systems of government. The president should pick the vice-president from the legislature
Power should be shared and rotated at all levels of government. Presidency should rotate between north and south and among the six geo-political zones of the country. Likewise, the governorship post should rotate among the three senatorial zones in each state

Viewpoints on 100 years of Nigeria
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Head of the northern delegates Alhaji Ibrahim Coomassie said that whatever they did, they "did so for one Nigeria".

His southern counterpart Chief Edwin Clark said: "We came in, we came out and we conquered."

Mr Jonathan seems delighted by their words: "It is now very clear that as Nigerians, we have devised a way of addressing and resolving our differences amicably: We dialogue and dialogue until we agree."

But while the president and the delegates revel at what they see as the success of the conference, critics dismiss it as a diversionary tactic and waste of resources.

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