By Danlami Nmodu
A member of the Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue,Col Tony Nyiam has resigned from the committee.Reports reaching Newsdiaryonline.com said he was in fact , “forced” to resign after his conducts during the committee’s visit to Benin City embarrassed other members of the committee.
Asked to confirm if Nyiam had resigned ,a source in the Presidential Advisory Committee told Newsdiaryonline.com “Yes .He was forced by members of the committee to resign for his undemocratic and unacceptable behaviour.”
It was learnt that Nyiam shouted down Governor Adams Oshiomhole while he was addressing the committee much to the embarrassment of the members.Sources said the way Nyiam conducted himself made committee members threaten to step down if Nyiam continued to serve. “Many committee members threatened to resign if he remained on it”.
It was learnt that the way Nyiam behaved made many of the committee members suspect that there could in deed be a hidden agenda.Otherwise, why embarrass a governor?,one insider asked.
It was learnt that it took the intervention of Anyim Pius Anyim,secretary to the government of the federation to calm frayed nerves among the committee members.
A press release by Peter Okhiria,CPS to Edo State Governor said thugs believed to have been hired by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), disrupted the proceedings of the Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue/Conference in Benin City yesterday, when they stopped Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State and others from making contributions to the ongoing talks.
A member of the Presidential Advisory Committee, Col Tony Nyiam (rtd) was the arrowhead of the disruption as he shouted down the Governor while making his contribution.
The thugs believed to have been imported from neighbouring states heckled the Governor as soon as they realized that his contributions would be different from the perceived opinion.
The Governor who took the stage to make his contribution shortly after the Isoko Ethnic group had made their contribution said he objected to spending huge public funds on a wasteful venture saying, during the tenure of President Olusegun Obasanjo, money was spent on similar conference and at the end, nothing came out of that conference.
“I will be surprised if anything changes. Sincerely, I have no business to deceive or mislead anyone. I believe that the outcome of this conference will not be different from that of other conferences we have had in the past.”
(Dr Sani Indabawa, Secretary, Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue restrains Col Tony Nyiam (rtd), member of the Committee, who lunged at Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State and heckled him from making his presentation to the Committee in Benin City, yesterday.)
But as soon as Governor Oshiomhole made this statement, committee member, Col Nyiam jumped on his feet and would perhaps have lunged at the Governor were he close to him. He was restrained by other members who were taken aback by his action.
Even while the Governor was still making his contribution, Nyiam started screaming at the top of his voice for the Governor to shut up and sit down. He was then joined in by the PDP thugs who disrupted the whole proceedings and many scampered for safety as a result of the unruliness of the committee member and thugs.
The Governor who insisted on concluding his remarks however yielded the floor when the thugs were getting violent.
However, the Governor had, at a courtesy visit to him in his office by members of the Committee led by Senator Femi Okurounmu, said he had no faith in the whole process.
Oshiomhole said “all I owe Nigeria now is to speak my mind. It could be error of my head but certainly not of my heart. As much as I wish you well, I just want to say that I have no faith in this process and I do not think it was necessary at all”.
The Governor said “I am unable to find any basis to give me some illusion that this exercise will not be different from the others. And I honestly think that in terms of the private sector, when a country keeps debating how we can live together that cannot be one of the basis on which the outside community will invest in Nigeria. They may well wait until we know
how we want to live in Nigeria”.
He lamented that fifty-three years after independence, Nigerians still prefer to look at themselves from their ethnic origin rather than being Nigerians, saying, “for me, I am just a Nigerian”.
“I do not think that more than hundred years when we have set aside billions of naira to celebrate centenary celebrating the fact of our amalgamation of the North and Southern Nigeria, and we have lived together as one country for over a hundred years, and we have gone through independence, we have been free for fifty three years and we are coming back to ask the question, how could we be there.
“I think Nigeria needs to address very serious issues. When I see eminent Nigerians discussing this issue, I am sure they know that Nigeria’s problem is not this politics of sharing which the national dialogue is all about, who is getting what, who has this natural endowment, who should do this or not do this. For me this is the act of perfecting poverty.
“The real challenge is getting Nigeria back to production. The real challenge is creating industrial base and this cannot be resolved through conferences. We have moved from parliamentary system in our own wisdom to the presidential system. We have test-run it and it was aborted by the military and it has re-incarnated in the present form” he said.
“Nigeria does need a serious reflection about how to return to those core values that made Nigeria work before. Those healthy competition between the governments, visit the whole question of attitude and unless that changes, I do not see how any dialogue can work”, he said.
The Governor noted “I was discussing with somebody last week and he noted that this is the eleventh conference and I ask what ten conferences could not do, how would the eleventh one do it? Why do we think we can continue doing the same thing the same old way and think that this time the outcome would be different?.
The Governor said nobody convenes a meeting without stating an agenda and asking others to draw up an agenda for that meeting adding “from conception we know we want to talk but we do not know what we want to talk about.”
Earlier the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue/Conference, Senator Femi Okurounmu said they were in Benin as part of their to the six geo political zones to get their input as regards the content of the agenda, the duration, choice of delegation and legal framework.
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