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Nigeria: Yar’Adua – national and global pressure mounts 0

Elder statesmen, over 200 members of the House of Representatives and world powers yesterday made strong statements on the continued absence of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua from the country which has left a power vacuum in Nigeria.

The Eminent Elders Group, comprising former Heads of State, Presidents, Vice-Presidents, Chief Justices of Nigeria (CJNs) and other elder statesmen urged Yar’Adua to transmit a letter to the National Assembly to enable Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan step in as Acting President.

About 200 out of the 360 members of the House of Representatives have also signed a letter asking the President to formalise his medical leave on a day the US, UK, France and European Union voiced their concern on the power vacuum.

The Senate had, at the end of a two-day closed session, which held on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, passed a resolution urging Yar’Adua to formally notify the National Assembly of his medical vacation in Saudi Arabia in line with Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution.

The elders group, led on the visit by Second Republic President, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, yesterday met separately with Senate President David Mark and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Dimeji Bankole, behind closed-doors to present to them a letter containing its resolutions on the state of the nation.

The letter written and signed by a former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, on behalf of the group, reads: “I have been mandated and have the honour to address this letter to Your Excellency on issues of fundamental importance to the wellbeing of our dear nation, Nigeria.

“For well over eight weeks now, our President has been ill and out of the country. This illness and long absence from the country is causing serious concern not only to Nigerian citizens but all those who do business with Nigeria and have the wellbeing of the country at heart.

“It is for this reason that I called the meeting of some of our former Presidents and Heads of State, former Chief Justices of Nigeria and elder statesmen today (January 27).”

The group said further in the letter entitled, “The State of the Nation”, that “Following a critical review of the general political situation of the country in the recent past, but more especially since the illness of the President and his prolonged absence, it was decided to address this letter to Your Excellency, the Vice-President and the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives.

“Resolution of the issue of Acting President pending the return of the President: it is important to resolve this issue by inviting the President to formally issue the necessary communication that will enable the Vice-President to be Acting President in accordance with Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution as soon as possible.”

Shagari met with Mark and Bankole in company with Second Republic Vice-President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme; former CJN, Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi; former Minister of Defence, Lt. Gen. T.Y. Danjuma; former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana; and a member of the Senate (1999-2007), Senator Jonathan Zwingina.

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By Sufuyan Ojeifo and Paul Ohia With AgencyAllAfrica (Source: This Day)

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Direttore Responsabile Stefano Arduini