By Emmanuel Aziken
ABUJA â€” FORMER Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari and erstwhile Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, yesterday visited the President of the Senate, Senator David Mark, with a request to constitute a panel to persuade President Umaru Yar’Adua to comply with constitutional provisions on handing over to his deputy, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
The two who handed over a letter to Senator Mark on behalf of the National Democratic Movement (NDM) said the panel should visit the President and prepare a report on the implications of the Presidentâ€™s health condition for the Federal Executive Council, FEC.
They also flayed what they described as the â€œcontrived political and constitutional crisisâ€ instigated by the Presidentâ€™s refusal to adhere to provisions of the constitution. The duo were escorted by prominent political leaders in the country among whom were former Governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa, Senator Ben Obi, Senator Lawali Shaibu, Alhaji Lawal Kaita, Chief Mrs. Titi Ajanaku, Chief Dapo Sarumi, Ms Funke Adedoyin, Alhaji Sule Hamman among others.
In the letter which they handed to Senator Mark, Buhari and Atiku lamented the governmentâ€™s silence on the crisis that has engulfed government since President Yarâ€˜Aduaâ€™s medical evacuation last November. They wrote: â€œIn all these days the government has failed to authoritatively brief the nation about the Presidentâ€™s health in an organized and structured manner.
Instead, government officials spoke on the issue in discordant and conflicting manner thereby creating anxiety and confusion in the country and in the processes making Nigerians wonder as to who exactly is the governmentâ€™s spokesman.â€ Affirming that Nigerians were tired of praying as requested by government officials, they thus requested the Senate president to constitute a fifteen man panel to travel to Saudi Arabia to verify the exact location of the President.
They suggested that the team should be led by a retired Justice of the Supreme Court and should include a member of the Federal Executive Council, the Presidentâ€™s personal physician, majority and minority members of the National Assembly and representatives of the NBA, NLC, NUJ, NCWS and NANS. The team, according to the letter, should among others:
Advise the President to comply with provisions of Section 144 of the Nigerian constitution; Meet his doctors to obtain clear and detailed information on the exact nature of his illness and the prospects of recovery as is ethically possible and as will be politically necessary to satisfy Nigerians;
At the end of its visit, the team should compile and submit a report, including recommendation(s) on the implications of the Presidentâ€™s condition for the administration and political stability of the nation to the Vice-president, who should table same as a memorandum for consideration at the meeting of the Federal Executive Council.
The Vice-president should then address the nation on their decision which should include the way forward; Senator Mark in his response pledged that the Senate would be guided by constitutional provisions saying that the interest of the Senate would be on Nigeria and Nigerians.