Editorial Suite

MANY Nigerians have great expectations that the outcome of the proposed national conference will go a long way in solving the myriads of problems in the country. And they are not alone. Just like Charles Dickens thought that his book entitled Great Expectations was a very fine idea, President Goodluck Jonathan must equally have thought that his proposed national conference and the committee he inaugurated lastweek to set out the modalities of the conference is also a very fine idea. The proposed national conference already has the characteristics of Great Expectations, a graphic book, full of extreme imagery, poverty, prison ships, “the hulks,” barriers and chains, and fights to the death. It combines intrigue and unexpected twists of autobiographical detail in different tones. Great Expectations has a colourful cast. The range from the capricious Miss Havisham, the cold and beautiful Estella, Joe the kind and generous blacksmith, to the dry and sycophantic Uncle Pumblechook, The others are Mr. Jaggers, Wemmick and his dual personality, and the eloquent and wise friend, Herbert Pocket. The novel reflects the events of the time, the 1800s, Dickens’ concerns, and the relationship between society and man.

In the Nigeria of the 21st Century, one can say that all the characters in Great Expectations are amply represented. The book may not have ended the way the key characters wanted it to. This may also happen with the solve- all-Nigeria’s-problems-confab, a great book of drama waiting to unfold. Already, the intrigues in the relationship between all the ethnic nationalities and most importantly the thorny issue of who controls proceeds from natural resources which yield the major revenue for the country is surfacing. Already, the key players at the conference, if it will ever take place, are taking extreme positions on critical issues. Some of them are already playing to the gallery while others are grand standing on the merits or demerits of the conference. From the Jigawa state government which has said that it will not be part of the confab to indigenes of the Niger Delta region, who want to have full control of the revenue generated from natural resources in their domain, one can see the handwriting on the wall already.

The last time a political confab was called in the country, it ended in a stalemate with the Niger Delta delegation working out of the conference. In the end, a lot of money was pumped into the exercise which ended up achieving nothing except providing a platform for participants to let out a lot of hot air and fury which signifies nothing and eventually gnawing a hole in the Nigerian treasury. Despite this, there is still hope that the proposed confab may be the last opportunity Nigeria has to talk and decide the basis for its unity as a nation amidst skepticism from doubting Thomases that it is a grand deceit. Realnews editorial team decided to x-ray all the pertinent issues raised about the proposed national conference to help Nigerians decide if the national conference/dialogue is really desirable and whether its outcome will indeed meet their great expectations. The cover story entitled: National Conference: Is It A Greek Gift? was anchored by Olu Ojewale, our general editor. Enjoy it.

Maureen Chigbo
Editor

mechigbo@realnewsmagazine.net  |  mechigbo@yahoo.com

— Oct. 21, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

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