The Agitation for President Umaru Yar’adua to write a letter asking the VP to take over is in danger of turning into a North Versus South Affair. Former President Shehu Shagari, who spoke on the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) yesterday, urged Nigerians to be patient with Yar’Adua.
Shagari said this is not the first time that a President has been away for long for medical treatment abroad.
He recalled that when he was in office, he spent three months in a German hospital without his deputy being an acting president.
He said: “What do you want me to say on this situation? To ask the President to write a letter? The constitution cannot force you to do what you cannot do. I don’t think such provisions have been made in the constitution.
“I wish to appeal to Nigerians to exercise more patience and pray for the recovery of the President.
“We are all Nigerians and Nigeria is a country of diversities. Other people outside Nigeria think that we have made a miracle by having a united independent country.
“There is no place in the world where we have so many tribes coming together as one like Nigeria.”
Meanwhile, The pro-Yar’Adua Group is reaching out to some power brokers in the North and top traditional rulers to oppose moves to inaugurate Jonathan as acting president.
It was learnt that the group considers the move for inauguration as a ploy to humiliate President Yar’Adua out of power.
According to findings, they prevailed on the Northern leaders to see the agitation for Jonathan’s inauguration as driven by ethnic motive.
It was learnt that the group asked the North to stand by Yar’Adua after the comments of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo.
A source said: “The absence of the President is now regarded as a North-South politics and the North should not allow one of them to be humiliated out of power.
“They said the worst that can happen is that the status quo would remain. The VP would continue to act in that capacity as VP – in line with the judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
“The unfortunate comments of Obasanjo have made the Yar’Adua Group to ask Northern leaders to rally round the President, who comes from a well-respected political family in Katsina.
“They are also angry that instead of having empathy for the ailing President, some Nigerians are desperate to replace him.”