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Senate refuses debate on Yar’Adua’s health

By Emmanuel Aziken, Shaibu Inalegwu & Chinyere Amalu
ABUJA—A motion seeking to debate the state of health of President Umaru Yar‘Adua was quashed in the Senate yesterday just as the lawmakers said they would be a busy-bodies to send emissaries to inquire on the President’s health status at the Saudi Arabian hospital.

The Senate, nevertheless, urged fervent prayers for the President. The call for prayers articulated by the President of the Senate, Senator David Mark, came a day after he called for nine days consecutive prayers for Yar‘Adua.

The motion to debate the health of the President was brought to the Senate floor as a point of order by Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba (SAN), its  Deputy Majority Leader.

“The subject-matter of my motion which I discussed with you yesterday and this morning is the state of health of our dear President, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,’’ Ndoma-Egba said yesterday morning.

In concurrence, the Senate President said: “Distinguished colleagues, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba discussed a motion which he intends to raise this morning with me.

”I have no problem with the motion. Basically, it is just to ask us and the nation to continue to pray for the improvement and for the quick recovery of the President. That is the summary of the motion.

”I have no problem with it, but as is required by Order 42, I have to seek the consent of the Senate and if we are up to one-fifth in support of his moving the motion, then we allow him to raise the motion. It is a very short motion.’’

In that order, Mark called for a voice vote on whether to take the motion. The first vote was carried by the nays. A second voice vote was overwhelmingly rejected by the Senate.

At a briefing after the session, Senate’s spokesman, Senator Ayogu Eze, affirmed that the Senate would not send emissaries to Saudi Arabia to meet with the President.

According to him, the Senate would become an unnecessary busy-body for it to meddle on the issue. “We have no such role in the constitution,’’ he said.

Explaining why the Ndoma-Egba motion was not taken, Eze argued that the Senate chamber was a serious one which would not indulge itself in such issues.

It’s waste of time, says Senate

“The Senate President is the chief spokesman of the National Assembly, and he has just issued a statement not quite 24 hours ago asking Nigerians to, on behalf of the Senate and the National Assembly, to pray for Mr. President, how do we now turn round to waste time that would have been invested in debating the budget and be discussing something that had already been settled.’’

The Senate President, who yesterday called for nine days marathon prayers for the President, also reiterated his call in plenary as he urged senators and all Nigerians to pray for the quick recovery of the President.

PDP responsible for Yar’Adua illness – Action Alliance

Meantime, the Action Alliance (AA), has accused the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), of being responsible for Yar’Adua illness, stressing that the party was being economical with the truth. AA described PDP as  the deadliest enemy to the President.

The party also condemned PDP’s allegation that opposition parties were responsible for the death rumours surrounding the President’s health, warning that if anything happens to the President, PDP should be charged for treason and murder.

In a statement signed by its National Chairman, Senator Suleiman Salwu, AA said, “PDP is being economical with the truth by alleging that opposition parties were responsible for the death rumour of Mr. President. When you talk about the deadliest enemy of the President today, it is the PDP.

“The opposition parties, particularly, we, the Action Alliance, have always been sympathisers of Yar’Adua, and in many cases, we have identified with him before. It is on record that the President, when he was the Executive Governor of Kastina State, was healthy and a performer.

“But, immediately he entered the PDP-dominated hostile central environment, he became sick and up till now, he has not been able to recover. The President’s sickness was brought by PDP.

‘PDP makes Nigeria sick’

“Our prayer to God is to spare the life of the President, grant him quick recovery, and for God to scatter PDP that has become the enemy of all Nigerians. The party (PDP) is making the entire nation to be sick not to talk about individuals,” it added.

The party, however, warned, “If anything adverse happens or occur to Mr. President, the PDP leadership would be charged with  treason and murder.”


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