By Emma Amaize
WARRIâ€”PEOPLEâ€™S Redemption Party, PRP, governorship candidate in Delta State in the 2007 general elections, Mr. Emmanuel Igbini, yesterday faulted the suit filed by activist lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, urging the Federal High Court, Abuja, to order ailing President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua to handover to the Vice President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
Igbini, who is from the South-South geo-political zone like Dr. Jonathan, asked that he be joined in the suit as a co-defendant.
His words: â€œI sincerely welcome the suit filed by Mr Femi Falana against the Attorney General of Nigeria before a High Court in Abuja seeking a declaration that President Yar Adua should hand over to the Vice President, Goodluck Jonathan during his temporary absence in line with section 145 of the Nigerian 1999 Constitution.
“But whereas, I fully identify with this patriotic step taken by the plaintiff, Mr Femi Falana, to seek legal interpretation on this issue, I, however, wish to express serious concern about the suit, as it affects my fundamental human rights as a citizen of Nigeria who hails from a numerically disadvantaged geo-political zone (South-South) of Nigeria and guaranteed by provisions of the 1999 Constitution.
â€œIn view of the above, I have decided to express my intention to be joined in this suit as a co-defendant for these further following reasons:
â€œThat this suit filed and the declaration sought, as it relates to section 145 of the 1999 Constitution requiring the Vice President to act as President in the temporary absence of the President did not specify for what specific duration of the absence of the President the Vice President is to continue to act.
â€œThat this suit is also meant to ensure the Vice President, Goodluck Jonathan of the South- South geopolitical zone and a beneficiary of the zoning arrangement acts as president perpetually till May 29, 2011 in gross violation of the subsisting peaceful zoning arrangement adopted for some strategic elective and appointive offices in Nigeria since 1999 till date, which now zoned the presidency to the Northwest geo-political zone (2007 â€“ 2015) and South-South, (2015 -2023)â€, he said.
Mr. Igbini asserted, â€œTo allow Dr Goodluck Jonathan act as president beyond temporary absence of President Yar Adua and perpetually till 2011 as sought by the plaintiff will amount to denying the South -South geopolitical zone the opportunity and full right to produce the President of Nigeria come 2015 â€“ 2023â€.
He noted that the plaintiff (Falana)â€™s geopolitical zone, (South-West) has had its full uninterrupted turn of producing the president of Nigeria from 1999 â€“ 2007.