Yar' Adua's absence: Anyim leads 41 prominent Nigerians to NASS

THE SUN Newspaper-Amos Dunia

Fourty-one eminent Nigerians amongst whom were former top public office holders led by former President of the Senate, Anyim Pius Anyim on Wednesday stormed the National Assembly urging members of the Federal Legislature to take immediate and adequate steps to resolve the current political and constitutional crisis over the continued absence of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua from the country on account of ill-health.

The group under the aegis “Concerned Nigerians” noted that the present situation required urgent resolution in the best interest of the country and democracy stressing that the only visible step to be taken to resolve the crisis remains transmitting of a letter by President Yar’Adua to the National Assembly regarding his absence from office as provided for in the Constitution.

In a seven-page document read by Senator Anyim, the group of concerned Nigerians stressed that it was not in the best interest of the nation or any other nation for that matter to be without concrete authority at any time, more so in an executive presidential system of government.

According to the group; “We also believe that the leaders of this nation and more so our elected representatives have a very serious duty to manage our national challenges to ensure national stability and democracy. In the interim, what is required is a letter under the signature of Mr. President. You can agree sir that neither the letter nor the signature can be obtained through protest, threat or even bringing down our democracy.”
Senator Anyim further said after a careful examination of Section 145, it showed that the Section grants a lot of discretion to the President to transmit this notice to the National Assembly, adding that besides, the same section did not contemplate a circumstance where the President is not capable of transmitting such written declaration for reasons of health, haste or any other circumstances beyond his control.

Accordingly, the Anyim led group tasked the National Assembly on the need to take due cognisance of the weaknesses in the constitution regarding the current Constitution vacuum.
According to Senator Anyim; “We want to emphasize that the present state of affairs in Nigeria has exposed the weakness of our Constitution in this regard and the most cogent step to take is to prepare its amendment with a view to preventing future occurrences. In the interim, what is required is a letter under the signature of Mr. President. You can agree sir, that neither the letter nor the signature can be obtained through protest, threat or even bringing down our democracy.”

Senator Anyim further urged the leadership of the National Assembly to take concrete steps to uphold the Constitution with due regard to national stability and democracy stressing that the resolutions adopted by the two chambers of the National Assembly and the Court judgment fell short of being bold as the peoples representatives on the matter.

“The National Assembly should come out boldly to assure the nation that the machinery they have set in motion is capable of yielding the desired results. That the National Assembly should appeal to all those who are agitated to please down tools while the National Assembly expedite efforts to resolve the impasse. This, we believe, will calm down the tension and forestall the possibility of people taking laws into their hands and that every effort should be made to effect the amendment of necessary sections of the Constitution in this regard to forestall a reoccurrence in the future,” Senator Anyim stressed.

In his response, President of the Senate Senator David Mark who led members of the body of principal officers and other Senators to receive the group, assured that any step that would be taken to redress the issue would be in line with the provisions of the Constitution.

According to Senator Mark; “This Senate and indeed the National Assembly will be guided by the Constitution. Whatever we do, will not go outside the Constitution. Yes there are obvious problems and we admit that there are problems, and the solution must be found in the Constitution itself. What I want to appeal is for Nigerians to understand that in finding the solutions, we are concerned and worried about the unity and stability of the country. We do not want to do anything that will aggravate the current situation. If they exercise patience with us we will definitely find a lasting and therefore solution within the Constitution itself.”

The Senate President further explained that nobody envisaged where the country presently found itself and therefore assured that the members of the National Assembly currently working on the review of the Constitution would learn from it.

“This ostensibly is a lesson for us and the National Assembly is conscious of what has happened and we will make sure we don’t have a reoccurrence of this when the Constitution is amended. We are concerned of the stability of this country and we are guided by the Constitution,” Senator Mark said.
The list of members of the group of Concerned Nigerians that appended their signatories to the statement include;
1. Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, GCON
2. Amb (Dr.) Hassan Adamu, CON (Wakilin Adamawa)
3. Chief Shuaib Oyedokun
4. Major General Mohammed Magoro (rtd.), OFR, (Galadima Zuru)
5. Hon. Chibudom Nwuche
6. H.E./Senator Jim Nwobodo
7. Hon. Justice Peter Akere (rtd.)
8. H.E. Rev. Jolly Nyame
9. H.E. Garba Nadama
10. Rear Admiral Peter Ebhaleme (rtd.)
11. Alhaji Ibrahim Bunu
12. Chief (Mrs.) Remi Adiukwu-Bakare
13. Senator Isaiah Balat
14. General Chris Garba (rtd.)
15. H.E. Dr. Rabiu Kwakwanso
16. Chief (Mrs.) Helen Esuene
17. Alhaji Mantu Ibrahim, CFR
18. Senator Walid Jibrin, OON
19. Alhaji Yaro Makama
20. Chief (Engr.) Charles Ugwu, OON
21. General A.B. Maman, (rtd.)
22. Professor Emeka Okoli
23. Senator Zigo Aziz
24. Barr. Danladi Ochekpe
25. Lady Ime Essien Udom
26. General Paul Tarfa (rtd.)
27. Hajia Zainab Maina, MFR
28. H.E. Amb. Adamu Aliyu, mni, (Walin Katagu)
29. Hon. Austin Opara
30. Alhaji A. Alhaji
31. Professor Tunde Adeniran
32. Alhaji Shaba Lafiagi
33. Gen. Sam Teidi, (rtd.)
34. Mr. Abu Shuluwa (Sema-Wan-U-Tiv)
35. Chief G. Adukwu, OON
36. Comrade Pascal Bafyau, mni
37. Chief Mrs. Chinwe Obaji
38. Hajia Hawa Kida
39. Chief Innocent Anoliefo
40. Alhaji Bala Abdullahi
41. Captain Paul Tahal.


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