Why Yar’adua won’t quit – FEC

The Federal Government yesterday took a swipe at the group of Nigerians which took a controversial but monumental position on the ill-health of President Umaru Yar’Adua by calling on him to resign. The Federal Executive Council declared that it was a joke taken too far as the President cannot resign under the present circumstance.

Why he won’t quit

No fewer than  50 prominent Nigerians across professions and spanning the six geo-political zones had Monday told ailing President Yar’Adua to resign immediately or unconditionally handover to the Vice-President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, who keeps pledging his loyalty to Yar’Adua.

The queue for those who opposed the resignation call seemed longer last night with notable names including Governor Adams Oshiomhole, Chief Tony Anenih, Mr. Emmanuel Igbini, former Senate Chief Whip and Action Congress chieftain, Senator Rowland Owie backed by institutions such as the Nigeria Labour Congress and North-West Zone of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) casting aspersions on those calling for the President’s resignation.

FG’s position

Rising from a crucial session, which Vanguard learnt was dominated by the resignation saga, the Federal Executive Council (FEC), yesterday resolved that the President remains fit enough and would not, therefore, initiate the process of easing him out of office through the National Assembly; declaring that it would ignore the call since it has not found Yar’Adua incapable of performing his duties.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Alhaji Yayale Ahmed, who led other cabinet members of FEC, including ministers to brief State House Correspondents, at the end of their weekly meeting, dismissed the unfortunate call and urged Nigerians to disregard it because it is baseless.

Those who accompanied the SGF to the all-important briefing, as this the first time the SGF will be briefing State House reporters, included key ministers such as the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Michael Aondoakaa; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Ojo Maduekwe;  Minister of Niger Delta, Obong Uffot Ekaette;  the Minister of State for Communications, Alhaji Inkra Bilbis and government’s spokesperson and Minister of Information and Communications, Professor Dora Akuniyili, who read the resolutions of the meeting.

According to the speech, “FEC at its 46th meeting held today took notice of calls by some people for the invocation of the provisions of Section 144 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for Mr. President to resign his appointment on the ground of ill-health.

“Council, having reviewed all the facts on ground, unanimously resolved that there is no basis for the invocation of provisions of Section 144 of the Constitution, for the reason that the President has not been found incapable of discharging his functions.

“Council wishes to inform all Nigerians that all organs of government are functioning, and that government will continue to deliver.”

Yayale says call unpatriotic

Speaking on behalf of the Council, the SGF said: “I want to assure Nigerians that this government is indeed, working and, is in good shape. First of all, you will recall that the President departed to Saudi Arabia for medical check-up and consequently a release was made on the nature of the ailment.

“We are talking about nine days since the departure. Since then we have convened two council meetings, one last week, and today. Apart from these, every other aspect of governmental activity is being conducted well, and the Vice-President, as usual, is in charge. On issues that would require Mr. President’s express approval, contacts are being made and such approvals do come.

“We would like to say that most Nigerians have really given us the kind of encouragement we require, a great majority, which we appreciate, they have been calling us and praying for Mr. President’s quick recovery.

“In a democratic setting such as ours, the President and indeed, the whole of the council members are committed to the rule of law and constitutionality. We expect that a few would like to be in a hurry to stampede this council into doing things which they know is not practicable.

“We will like to assure every Nigerian that the FEC as it is constituted, is a highly responsible, patriotic organ and that since we are a creation of constitution, we will not shy away from our responsibilities, and if it is in the wisdom of the executive council we don’t need anybody to remind us because we are responsible enough.

“As a matter of fact, presently, there is no basis, and, in fact, revealing exactly the nature of the ailment, this shows the transparency, the sincerity, and shows that we are all committed. We would not, therefore, be intimidated into doing things which are uncalled for.

“Right now, everything is going on normally, we have before us, three key issues which we are deliberating on. One is the issue of the post-amnesty plan, which Mr. President has approved the constitution of five committees and which Mr. Vice-President will soon inaugurate.

“The five committees are the Presidential Monitoring Committee on Amnesty; the Infrastructural Development Committee headed by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, there is also the Disarmament and Reintegration Committee to be headed by the Minister of Defence.

“There is also Oil and Gas Assets Protection, which committee will be headed by the Minister of Petroleum, and there is also the Environmental Remediation Committee, which will be headed by the Minister of Environment. All these have been constituted and approved by Mr. President and will soon be inaugurated by the Vice-President.

“Another area of concern to the government is the issue of budget implementation. You are all aware that before the President’s departure, he forwarded the proposal to the table before the two houses, and the two houses, the Senate, in particular, yesterday, went through the second reading and passed to the committee which will now come back to the Senate in two weeks.

“These are issues of governance, we know that we do not need to hide anything from anybody, the responsibility is imposed on us, and by the grace of God, this Council is capable of holding that responsibility.

“My appeal to all Nigerians at this point in time is to join all religious bodies in praying for the nation, for the President because a responsible country knows that they deserve to have a president who is fully capable of discharging his duties, and as a human being, nobody is beyond being tested by the Almighty.

“I can assure you that everything is going on smoothly, normally, in accordance with the constitution, in accordance to the law, and in accordance to our promise to deliver to this country”, the SGF stated.

Below is the SGF’s Answers to Questions:

“Take a simple illness of headache that could take you to the doctor, diagnosis,… at what reasonable time will you start to speculate on this type of illness? Would you for example come back and collect your children that, your mother, who was hospitalised yesterday for headache, had 10 injections today, and tomorrow you call them again, and say today, you have news only to keep them informed. You have to get a reasonable length of time.

“All we know at this point in time is that Mr. President is responding well to treatment, and that we are in touch with him. To tell us when is he coming back, you are now saying, that whether he is fully recovered or not yet, to come back.

The intention of somebody falling sick is to recover soon, that is the objective. And, when he recovers quickly, he takes a decision to come back, or the doctor says he should come back, and then he is back.

“You do not say because he is president; go and  come back in two weeks. Even if the doctor decides, he might decide that I will need another week to relax, or doctor will say okay, you are discharged, stay for two weeks, the Mr. President may say I will like to go back to my job in one week.

“There is nothing categorical with human beings; it is only God that will be categorical. All we know is that we don’t owe anybody … that we have to be stampeded or intimidated to manage the affairs of this nation because nobody will appear to be more responsible than those of who know the antecedents of those who are talking, they have been in government before and we know, some of these people, what they have been doing and if as a group they cannot come and even if they pretend, to say, ‘oh, let’s pray for this President’ as a group of patriotic Nigerians, now they are grouping to say, let the President resign. This is the type of patriotism they know.

“Nobody can teach us the constitution and its application, and when the time comes we will do it. You will cross the bridge when you reach the bridge, that is the issue, and, if there are more information that requires dissemination in order to cool down the anxiety and the curiosity, we would gladly say it a bit and if it is not necessary we cannot say it just because we want to play to the gallery,”, he declared.