* We do not expect any positive outcome from the conference--> ERC
President of the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria, Lagos State, Engineer Kameel Kalejaiye has impugned the viability of the exercise in addressing the problems faced by Nigerians.
Engineer Kalejaiye while addressing news men at the annual Campus Interactive Forum organized by Council of Higher Institutions, COHI, in Lagos recalled that the former President Olusegun Obasanjo had trailed that path before but yielded no result or implementation.
"The national confab is a waste of Nigeria resources. If National Assembly rejects the recommendations from confab then we have wasted the time of delegates and wasted 3months out of our daily lives monitoring the confab. This Confab is only aimed at wooing Nigerians for the interest of the President in 2015." He added.
Meanwhile, the Education Rights Campaign (ERC) has also declares President Jonathan's National Conference a charade.
In a press release, the group described the National Conference has an expensive sideshow that is not designed to address the country's challenges like mass unemployment, rotten public education sector, and degenerate public health services etc.
It also condemned the participation of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) at the National Conference which has been convened by a deeply unpopular government looking for any straw to hang onto.
"We do not expect any positive outcome from the conference as it is not a SOVEREIGN conference of the elected representatives of working and oppressed masses of Nigeria. Rather it is a gathering meant to rebuild the damaged reputation of the government by presenting a semblance that Nigerians are talking when indeed what is happening is that a few people have been invited closer to dine with the government and thereby reduce the opposition against this brutally anti-poor government."
ERC urge the mass of students not to entertain a single shred of hope that the six delegates presented by National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) will ever represent their best interests.
The group stressed that "NANS as an organisation has in the recent years failed woefully to represent the best interests of students concerning issues such as education funding and democratic management of schools. During the last strike of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) which was waged for adequate funding of the public universities, the national leadership of NANS came out in support of the Federal government. Right now public Polytechnics and Colleges of Education have been shut for months yet NANS has not deemed it urgent to call a nationwide protest to compel government to meet ASUP and COEASU's demands. Against this background, it should be clear to all discerning minds that the six delegate slots allocated to NANS is not an appreciation of the weight of the students population in society as some impressionable minds have said. Rather it is actually a celebration of the complete ideological capitulation of NANS to the government."
"The national confab with delegates appointed from different ethnic, cultural, professional groups and civil societies is designed to promote President Jonathan's second term bid and not to address the country's political and socio-economic problems."
The group thereby strongly oppose the expensive sideshow and task the trade union movement to immediately call for mass actions towards mobilising the entire working class and poor masses to fight against underfunding of public education, mass unemployment, privatization among others.