By James Ezema
A leading pressure groupled by Prof. Wole Soyinka has called on the National Assembly to impeach President Yarâ€™Adua for alleged serial violation of the constitution.Â It also urged the judiciary to be courageous in its judgment to save Nigeria from the present constitutional crisis in the country.
SNG in a statement yesterday in Lagos said it â€œis compelled to once again address the contrived Constitutional crisis in Nigeria, occasioned by the hijack of power by President Umaru Yarâ€™Aduaâ€™s coterie of political hangers-on for the past sixty seven days .â€
According to the press release signed by Engr. Baba Galadima,Â Mr. Yinka Odumakin, Mr. Osita Okechukwu,Â Mallam Salihu Lukman, Mr. Mike Igini and Mallam Tanko Yunusa, the group maintained the â€œWhen President Umaru Musa Yarâ€™Adua was sworn in on the 29th of May, 2007 at the Eagle square, he made a solemn promise to Nigerians to be a â€˜servant leaderâ€™ who would rule by strict adherence to the rule of law.Â He promised among other things to place national interest above personal interest.
However, given his behavior in the past 67 days in which he has held the nation at ransom, leaving her without a functioning and undisputed leader with the ability to lead Nigeria proactively and responsibly react to crises , it has become obvious to right thinking Nigerians that these promises, like his promise to reform the electoral system, were just empty rhetoric and sloganeering international economic and social activities. This blacklisting was only possible because of the non_response by the Nigerian leadership in the wake of the Abdulmutallab incidence as a result of the lacuna in leadership at the Federal level.
â€œThe slow reaction to the Jos and Bauchi riots and consequent increase in loss of lives and property as a result of the understandable hesitancy of the Vice President, Goodluck Jonathan to exercise the powers of the Commander-in-Chief without a lawful transfer of power as prescribed by the constitution as well as the overbearing interference of the presidentâ€™s kitchen cabinet. These crises and the reaction to them have once again prompted the International Communityâ€™s reaction blaming Nigeriaâ€™s leadership failures as the root cause.â€
The group also noted that the controversy over the swearing-in of the new Chief Justice of Nigeria, â€œwhich has left the new CJN holding a â€˜taintedâ€™ mandateâ€ as well as the â€œcontroversy over the signing of the 2009 Supplementary Budget in as yet unclear circumstancesâ€ are also part of the lacuna created by leadership vacuum in the country as a result of the absence of the president.
SNG therefore argued that consequent upon the inability of the Executive council of the Federationâ€™s failure to act in the interest of the nation, the onus is now on the National Assembly and the courts to save the country from an impending doom.
The group urgedÂ â€œThe National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to step in and save Nigeria by impeaching the president for his serial violations of the Constitution, and replacing him with his deputy in keeping with their constitutional role of checking the excesses of the Executive, and;
â€œThe courts to exercise judicial courage by declaring what every Nigeria knows to be true _ that an employee, a public servant _ who is absent from his duty post without permission for over 2 months can be declared incapacitated, and is entitled to be dismissed from his job according to cases presently before themâ€, they said.
The Save Nigeria Group applauded â€œthe patriotic call by the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Vice Marshal Paul Dike and the Chief of Army staff, Lt. General Adulrahman DambazauÂ for members of the Nigerian Armed Forces to resist all attempts to intervene in this issueâ€.
It insisted that even with its now obvious flaws, the Nigerian constitution has enough inbuilt mechanisms to resolve the leadership vacuum and related issues.
The groups warned those it branded the cabal behind the current constitutional crisis that â€œNigerians under the aegis of SNG have shown the capacity to resist tyranny in Abuja, Lagos, London, New York and other cities. We shall not hesitate to step up these campaigns in the days ahead if this issue is not expeditiously resolved in line with the constitution.â€
SNG, however, hailed the Senate resolution calling on President Yarâ€™Adua to hand over power to his deputy as prescribed by the constitution by fulfilling the provision of section 145 of the constitution.
It added: â€œthough we believe they could have acted much earlier and farther than they have gone. We also thank the Senate for resisting moves from the Presidentâ€™s kitchen cabinet to first block debate, then attempt to ethnicize and emotionalize what is a purely constitutional matter.
â€œGiven that the Executive Council of the Federation, the body constitutionally tasked with the role of initiating the process of declaring the president incapacitated, has shirked that role for the personal interests of its membersÂ over national interest and acting like MinistersÂ of the President instead of Ministers of the FederalÂ Republic that they are, having passedÂ a resolution that President Yarâ€™adua is capable of holding office (even where its members had admitted on the BBC as well as at the Senate that they had not spoken to the president since he left Nigeria in November of 2009) it has become necessary to look beyond the Executive Council of the Federation for a resolution of this induced crisis.
â€œThey also embarrassed themselves by declaring a man who in his alleged interview with the BBC admitted his incapacity when he said that only his doctors could determine his return upon fitnessâ€ SNG said.