The Presidency has said President Goodluck Jonathan was not aware of a minority report when the Presidential Advisory Committee on the proposed National Conference submitted its report.
Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President Okey Wali, on Wednesday, alleged that Dr Jonathan refused to receive the minority report from the committee.
In a statement yesterday by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, the Presidency said the allegation was false and incorrect.
The statement reads: “The allegation reportedly made by the President of the NBA, Mr. Okey Wali …in Abuja that President Jonathan refused to receive a minority report of the Presidential Advisory Committee on the proposed National Conference is untrue and incorrect.
“In fact, President Jonathan is unaware of the existence of a minority report supposedly prepared by a member of the committee, Chief Solomon Asemota.”
“It is also a verifiable fact that Chief Asemota himself was present at the submission of the committee’s report to the President on December 18, 2013, when the Chairman, Senator Femi Okurounmu, spoke as follows in his address to President Jonathan: ‘Before concluding my address, Mr. President, I want to make one or two comments about some newspaper reports to the effect that there is a minority report of our committee. We have so far refrained from commenting on these reports because we consider it politically indiscreet and a grave violation of protocol for anyone to be commenting on a report that is yet to be formally submitted. Now that our report is before you, Mr President, I say quite emphatically, that we have no minority report.’”
According to the statement, Asemota did not raise any objection to Okurounmu’s comment, neither did he make any effort to present a dissenting minority report to the President.
It added: “There was, therefore, never any issue of President Jonathan refusing to receive such a minority report from Chief Asemota, and the Presidency is completely unaware of any factual basis for the claim by the NBA President to that effect.
“Mr Wali’s castigation of President Jonathan’s purported rejection of a minority report is consequently unfair, based, as it is, on a wrong premise.”
The Presidency stressed that Dr Jonathan did not interfere in the committee’s assignment.
Also, a member of the Presidential Advisory Committee on the National Dialogue, Mr. Tony Uranta, has said Wali (SAN) and Asemota (SAN) were not truthful in their allegation that the Presidency refused to accept a minority report.
In a statement yesterday, Uranta said he was surprised by the claim that President Jonathan refused to receive a minority report, whereas there was nothing like that.
Uranta said: “One is appalled at Okey Wali’s loose use of words in the body’s statement regarding the imminent National Conference, because it is a lie that President Jonathan refused to receive a much-touted phantom minority report when the PACND submitted its report.
“No other report, than the PACND’s, was offered the President. Wali is a lawyer. Can he educate us on how you can refuse/reject something you were never offered?
“It is even more disappointing that a respected lawyer of Mr Asemota’s standing could go about bandying falsehood …that he was denied the opportunity to freely air his views on issues of representation and legal framework for the National Conference.
“He voted along with every other member on every issue and he was, in fact, the Chairman of the PACND’s Sub-Committee on Legal Frameworks!”