Professor Ben Nwabueze has declined his appointment to serve on the National Conference Advisory Committee by President Goodluck Jonathan, saying it was ?inappropriate?.

Jonathan had, in his Independence Day address on October 1, 2013, named Nwabueze a member of the 13-member body headed by Senator Femi Okurounmu.

Nwabueze, who had earlier nominated Solomon Asemota (SAN), to replace him on the committee, added in his statement circulated on Thursday that he had been in London since September 8 treating prostrate cancer.

He said his appointment with the consultant oncologist had been shifted many times because of several postponements due to The Patriots meeting with the President and the National Summit at Uyo, both of which eventually took place on 29 August and 3/4 September respectively.

He, however, said that he had to cut short his medical trip on October 12, “to keep a long-standing commitment to chair the Anambra Literary Creativity Festival at Awka on 15 October”.

Nwabueze added that he wrote a letter to the President earlier, seeking to be replaced by Asemota because he (Nwabueze) was still abroad receiving treatment.

He added he was expected that The Patriots, through the contacts it? had with the President, would be asked to nominate a younger person to serve on the committee.

He said: “After The Patriots fruitful meeting with the President, a member of our team who has access to him on a personal basis was mandated to go back to get him to set up the Committee on the National Conference of which he had earlier given a hint.

“My understanding from the contacts with him was that The Patriots would be asked to nominate a member to the Committee.

“I never expected to be appointed chairman or member of the Committee, and would, quite frankly, have considered such an appointment inappropriate in the circumstances.

“It is an appointment for a younger person, not for an old man of 83 years afflicted by ill-health.”

According to him, he had expected that his contribution to the national dialogue would have been to help prepare “a Draft People?s Constitution” which he had hoped to send to the President and the National Assembly without pre-empting the work of the OKunrounmu-led committee.

He added: “While still in London and before the setting up of the Presidential Committee was announced, I wrote to 13 prominent lawyers and political scientists to join me in a committee to prepare a Draft People?s Constitution which will be submitted for deliberation at the Uyo National Summit when it re-convenes in terms of paragraph 7 of the Communique adopted at the 3/4 September Meeting, and thereafter to be presented to the Presidency and the National Assembly as a working Paper for the National Conference proper.

“This is the area in which I think my contribution to the work of the Conference would be particularly useful, and I do not see this as in any way conflicting with the Terms of Reference of the Presidential Committee, although they (i.e. the Terms of Reference) contain a somewhat vaguely worded item, to wit, ‘to advise government on legal procedures and options for integrating decisions and outcomes of the national dialogue/conference into the constitution and laws of the nation’.?


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