1. There should be a massive use internet and social media for the National Conference. These modern tools can change and ease the headaches and complications of electives representation. You can never have perfect representations. Else you should be talking about 170 million representatives of Nigerians for the conference. Logistic problems created from having 1000 delegates alone would ensure that deliberations are postponed indefinitely and no resolutions arrived at.
2. Hence there should be 12 human representatives from each of the 6 geopolitical zones. That is a total of 72.
3. The conference of regional governors like the South-South Governors Forum or North East Governors Forum should meet and nominate 2 human representative each from their states. The 6 legislatures of each geopolitical region should then ratify the 2 that would represent each state.
4. It must be emphatically stressed that the governors should nominate the best minds the state can offer to present and argue their case.
5. They must be professionals; historians, lawyers etc etc not politicians (that is practitioners of partisan politics). It is the destiny of their peoples from centuries to come we are talking about here. (Although going to the conference turns the professionals to politicians anyway).
6. In addition to these human delegates, there should be added another tier of delegates, the cyber-representatives. There should be one of this of every local government in the country and it is limited to 50 in every state. Each of these encrypted computers should be networked to the central computer of the national conference and a vote on issues is expected to come from this computer when votes are called for. I will explain this further later.
7. Another tier of delegates is the all Nigerians. A dedicated YouTube channel should broadcast all the proceedings and debates of the conference live with advanced advertisement of items to be deliberated on. First, the decisions and resolutions of the conference should be powered more by reasoning, logic, argument and facts and less on voting as breaker of deadlocks.
8. All Nigerians should be able to login and participate in the conference though texts, tweets, emails which the conference delegates should be obliged to listen to. In fact need it to be stressed that the delegates should consider themselves conduits for the all Nigeria computers and the ones in every local government. The conference delegates should in actual fact be deferring to the people every time and soliciting their opinions and asking them how to vote on issues through these dedicated computers.
9. Nigerians traditionally contributes brilliantly and enthusiastically to news or opinion pieces when blogged. But you won’t see them queuing up in front of ballot boxes to vote. It is this profuse use blogging that should be harnessed for the National Conference through the robust use of E-representatives and iDemocrats.
10. The use of E-representatives and cyber Representatives, would cut logistical problems, voter apathy, and ease with each special interests hijack process of elective representation. It would make Nigerians, mostly young Nigerians have a true say in their destiny. It is also very cost effective too.
11. All Nigerians can contribute as I said in No 7 above but it is not all Nigerians that should vote. Instead, just like WAEC or JAMB scratch cards, the central coordinating committee of the Conference should distribute 50 cards with dedicated pins to each of the 36 state legislatures. These legislatures should then redistribute them to legislators from each local government. With each of this card, they can then set up an iDemocrat computer portal through which they would be able to login into the proceeding of the conference, pass on information, facts, opinions and exercise their votes when they are called for. From the TV screens of the conference, all Nigerians should be able to see the votes coming from each electronic portal just like in the American Congress.
12. Each federal legislator should coordinate with his/her respective state legislator and local government counsellors to organise who and who would have this pin for their local government council. They may give the pin to a think-tank in their local government who they trust with advancing their interests or they can give it to the faculty of law of a university in their area. So that they can set up the iDemocrat computer portal in the university. Whether these think-tank or university have 10, 100 or 500 in number contributing facts or debunking claims, they still have a single vote from their electronic portal when the time for voting comes.
13. This is why the two delegates the governors put forward matter less than the E- Reps or iDemocrats. The delegates hence should consider themselves more of secretaries of the E-representatives or iDemocrats.
14. At the conference for redrawing Nigerian constitution in London in 1953, all the three regions had 5 representatives each and 15 advisers per region. They met from 9 in the morning to 1pm at the first floor in Carlton House London. For the afternoon session, they were expected to consult with their advisers. The following morning the delegates, more informed and coached about tactics and strategies, hit it off again. They met for three weeks
15. This time around, E-reps and iDemocrats would be the advisers and protagonists of their local government area objectives.
16. Only 55 delegates were present for drafting, debating and ratification of the US constitution in September 1787; they met for 4 months. The leaner the better. The hurt to expansive representation which lean conferences engender can now be compensated for by making Internet and social media the most powerful delegate at the conference.
17. TWO delegates for each state, ONE iDemocrat portal for each local government, the conference is a success and Nigeria has a bright future.
Damola Awoyokun is the Executive Editor of www.pwc-review.com