Hand over now - Gowon, Shagari, others tell Yar'Adua

VANGAUARD Newspaper- Emmanuel Aziken and Inalegwu Shaibu

ABUJA— EMINENT Nigerian leaders including three former Heads of State and all living former Chief Justices of the Federation have called on President Umaru Yar‘Adua to transfer power to his deputy, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, in accordance with provisions of the Constitution.

The former leaders, under the aegis of the Eminent Elders Group, EEG, articulated their position in a letter to Vice-President Jonathan, President of the Senate, David Mark, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole.

Eminent Elders’ letter
Separate copies of the letters were presented to the Senate President and the Speaker by a delegation of the elders group led by President Shehu Shagari. The meeting of the elder-statesmen which took place at the ECOWAS secretariat, Wednesday, was at the instance of General Yakubu Gowon, a former Head of State.

Others who attended the meeting included Alhaji Shagari, Chief Ernest Shonekan and former Vice-President Alex Ekwueme. Also involved were all three former Chief Justices of the Federation, Hon. Justice Mohammed Uwais, Hon. Justice Alfa Belgore and Hon. Justice Idris Kutigi; former Army Chief, Lt. Gen. Theophilus Danjuma, former PDP Chairman, Chief Solomon Lar and former Federal Commissioner for Information, Chief Edwin Clark.

The rest were, former Minister of Finance, Mallam Adamu Ciroma; former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana, former Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Ahmed Joda and Senator Jonathan Zwingina who was the facilitator.

In the letter signed by Gen. Gowon, the group said: “I have been mandated and have the honour to address this letter to your Excellency on issues of fundamental importance to the well being 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 well being 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. 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, Senate President and the Speaker of the 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. We wish your Excellency well.”

Responding to the letter by the group, Senator Mark who expressed appreciation to the group, noted that the Senate would surely benefit from their wealth of experience.

He said: “The experience this group will bring on board will be immeasurable. We believe that we need to be notified that the President is on medical vacation. In doing this, we were conscious of the security, political and power balancing in this country.

The unity of this country is of utmost importance. We are humbled by your humility. We are anxious to put this impasse behind us so that we can make progress. Our decision was based on the need for stability, unity, cohesion and the conscious need for power balancing in the country.

Above all, the security of the nation. I want to assure you that whatever we do in the Senate is always guided by national interest, unity, peace, and progress of Nigeria.”
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, received the group in a close-door meeting.

VP assures of Yar’Adua’s return

Meantime, while welcoming four new foreign envoys to Nigeria, Jonathan assured them that “the President will soon be back in the country” but gave no time frame for his return.

Yar’Adua has not been seen in public since his departure in November to receive treatment for pericarditis, an inflammation of the membrane surrounding the heart, and no minister has publicly said they have spoken to him in recent weeks, heightening uncertainty about his health.

His failure to transfer power to Jonathan has raised debate over the legality of government decisions in the country. Investments have been put on ice and analysts say government business is stagnating.

90 Responses for “Hand over now – Gowon, Shagari, others tell Yar’Adua”

OLOWOYO lanre says:
January 29, 2010 at 5:02 pmif Jonathan has been prevented so far bcos he is from s-south, why hide behind one finger we are not one and same people we are different peoples in this country let us go the way of Yugoslasvia -CONFEDRACY or disolve outright a la Soviet union they did it peacefully and are still friends up to now. NORTH buys petrol form s-south, who buys energy from Kanji, yam, tomatoes , onion etc from the north, west sells timber, to north ,also collect port duty from north and buys food items from the north. east has palm produce and coal etc . that’s the way i seeit let us try it everyone will benefit from it.

Chinda says:
January 29, 2010 at 5:00 pm@S ABDUL, Clearly the problem here is not AVM Dike. Don’t blame him because he is Igbo. The Igbo people did nothing to cause this avoidable crises. As a matter of fact, AVM Dike has acted honorably, restraining himself and the armed forces from reacting to this senseless provocation. It is predictable that if a Northern officer was the AVM now he would have taken the law into his hands. At the drop of the hat Northerners are ready to cease power damning the rest of the Nation. Remember the flimsy excuses that brought the following coupists: Gowon, Muritala Mohammed, Dimka, Buhari, Babangida, Abacha and Abusalami Abubakar. Need I say more?

Look inwards, don’t blame the Igbo for your greed and stupidity.

January 29, 2010 at 4:48 pmWhat has not been said Section 145 e.t.c and others have been quoted by the legally minded.We all must know by now that our so called leaders are selfish,inconsiderate,ill-mannered,dishonorable,and more interested in what they will milk out of the cow called Nigeria.We are 50 years as an independent Nation and we are still groping in the dark for genuine leadership.We now have a so called Eminent elders group some who had the chance to change the course of sail for this nation but failed out of ineptitude now talking.Some are talking about a path of honor as if they are better or have any honor in themselves.
Only almighty God will save us from these Tsunami of leaders that we have been cursed with

Olumadu says:
January 29, 2010 at 4:46 pmWhile I applaud the elders in their position, the Obasanjo tangent in the debacle should not be neglected. It is obvious that Yar’adua was thrust on the nation, in his plan to elect “A SICK HAUSA MAN.” There are confirmed information that he (OBJ) has a sworn arrangement with Goodluck Jonathan, to rule by proxy in the case of Yar’dua’s demise. The effort should turn into extricating this EVIL shackles from Jonathan. Obasanjo MUST BE WATCHED AND KEPT AT BAY!

If Obasanjo is not caged, Nigeria will remain in this shadow boxing of anarchy, while the center continues to disintegrate into shambles. The ugly EFFC-2 will seek revenge on EFFC-1 – in a thug-of-war that portends to do good, while blanketing the glaring evil on the society.

The whole political state is a disgrace. Yar’adua was never elected. Goodluck was never elected. The solution is then, to have a meaningful election, where votes are counted and not stashed and trashed! Goodluck has become the proverbial chicken that has come home to roost – by the same means, he is been denied his illegal rights.

January 29, 2010 at 3:43 pmFrom the Office Of Public Relation officer, (NDPSM),Comr. Owhe Emmanuel.

Do we have a legal structure in Nigeria that address the issue of the pesident’s non capabilty to perform his lawful duties? This an issue that the legal arm of the government has grossly disappointed the Nigerians as the only hope of succur.
Let the LAW take his course.

S ABDUL says:
January 29, 2010 at 3:24 pmNigerians must understand the mindset of our leaders: they’re very selfish. No one should think for a moment that OBJ really meant well by shoving UMYA in our throats. OBJ must be reminded over and over that he wanted 3rd term and when that failed he selected this sickman. Of course UMYA should have handed over to VP when it was obvious he would be away for long. The FEC and leaders of the legislators are dragging their feet for a simple reason-they’re not sure whether they’ll remain in their posts when VP takes over. Believe me if the VP had promised to retain them, they would have kicked UMYA since. What matters to a Nigerian politician is what he can get out of a deal. Not even AVM Dike will support the VP(even though they’re from the same area)if he realises that he’ll be dropped.

Godwin Ehigiamusoe says:
January 29, 2010 at 3:13 pmthe challenge of Mr. President’s health has thrown up the good and the ugly sides of our leaders. Everyone lacks courage to act. For instance do we really expect a man who some years back deployed his oratory prowess to keep late Abacha in power to now be on the side of honour and principle simply because he is now a minister. Big thanks to OBJ for coming to our rescue and the past leaders who took his cue though belatedly.

Oladimeji Adegboyega says:
January 29, 2010 at 3:01 pmWhat more can I say here other than I salute the courage of my fellow Nigerians in Khaki for folding their arms while this generation and the generation of their children are being destroyed due to lack of respect for the constitution and the rule of law. Is there anything that is working again in Nigeria?. What the hell is keeping them away from taking over the government and reshaping the Nation? Is it the International community or what?. Can Nigeria ever be successful with this present democracy?. No , capital NO. Those of us who were born and raised during the military rules in Nigeria knows the difference. If you ask me over and over again, I will tell you that I still prefer the Military to rule this country either in uniform or in Mufti. why? because many of them has discipline , patriotic ism, loyalty and the continuous existence of this noble country as a single and united entity in their blood. Abuja, the pride of Nigeria today was conceived and delivered by military government, Most Nigerians became indiscipline during the President Shehu Shagari led administration . The Buhari led military regime through his strong man, late Idiagbon restored most sanity and discipline that most Nigerians have in them today!. Even though the military have their bad side, but then i salute their true allegiance to the constitution.

oleghe frank says:
January 29, 2010 at 2:28 pmYar adua is almost gone, he cannot take decisions on his own anymore, pple are speaking for him…. these same pple are the benefactors of his government. how will u expect them to advice him to resign when they know that most of them will lose dere jobs automatically?
The FEC are made up of the ministers, the V.p and others who are benefactors of this govt. Even if jonathan wants 2 say the president is not fit to cont. will others agree? are these thesame pple that you expect to give power to the unknown? when the country’s interest is not in dere heart.
Good pple of Nigeria, enough is enough. Not until Nigerians take the bull by the horn dere will be no result on this issue; we will all still be on still.

Dr. Vitus Ozoke says:
January 29, 2010 at 2:01 pmIt must be a season of national madness. Why can’t these folks understand that it is no longer about whether Yar’Adua returns or not? The real issue now is whether Yar’Adua still has the moral and constitutional authority to continue to serve as president. By his unfeeling indifference, Yar’Adua has shown himself, in clear and unambiguous terms, to be profoundly narcisistic. He cares only about himself; he does not care about the welbeing of his country. Put differently, Yar’Adua is unpatriotic to a heartlessly sickening degree. In a civilized state, Yar’Adua would face a commission of inquiry and a grand jury. This man should be tried for conduct capable of causing national confusion.


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