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Groups give Yar’Adua 31st Jan ultimatum

A Coalition of 26 Civil Society groups and political parties including Centre for Democracy and Development(CDD), West Africa Civil Society Forum, National Human Rights Commission, Coalition of Nigerian Political Parties yesterday gave President Umaru Yar’Adua 31st January as ultimatum to properly hand over to Vice President Goodluck Jonathan as acting President.

According to them, failure to transmit the letter on or before January 31, 2010, the Executive Council and the National Assembly should immediately initiate the procedure of his impeachment in line with Section 144 of the country’s constitution.

The threat is coming 24 hours after the Federal Government through the Minister of State for Information and Communication, Ikra Bilbis disclosed that some people were trying to destabilize the present government.

Other members of the Civil Society organizations and political parties were Citizens Forum for Constitutional (CFCR), Family Worship Centre, 3G, Citizens Popularr Party, Institute for Human Rights and Humanitarian Laww, Alliance for Human Development, Alliance for Credible Election.

Others include Centre for Leadership and Strategy Development, West Africa Civil Society Institute, Africa Vision 525, Constitutional Reform Dialogue Mechanism, Women Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative, Centre for Public Policy Research, Actionaid Nigeria, Civil Resources Development and Document Centre, Bamidele Aturu and Co. Law Firm, Community Action for Citizens Participation, Rights Enforcement and Public Law Centre, Centre for peace Building and Socio Economic Resources Development and Dikko and Mahmoud Legal Practitioners.

Presenting the position of the Civil Society groups to Journalists In Abuja Friday, the Director, Centre for Democracy and Development, Dr. Jubrin Ibrahim said, the President in conformity with the requirement of section 145 of the constitution, pursuance of national interest should immediately transmit a letter to the National Assembly, enabling the Vice President to Act in his absence.

According to him, “Should the President fail to transmit such a letter on or before January 31, the Executive Council and National Assembly should immediately initiate thee procedure for his removal based on section 144 of the constitution”.

The group which also decried the effect of the absence of the President in the sub_region and African continent, said, “The image of a country without governance has created international concerns about a drift towards a failed state that prompted the listing of Nigeria on Terrorist Watch list by the America government following the Mutallab bomb attempt.

The Civil Society also faulted the Judgment delivered by Justice Abutu of the Federal High Court who said the Vice President can perform the President’s function but will not act as a president, adding that the judgment has placed Nigeria in the hands of cabals that have become the mouthpiece of  President Yar’Adua.

“The Justice Abutu judgment has further created conditions for an unelected cabal to continue to run the affairs of state.

“A cabal of unelected persons have successfully plotted against and subverted the 1999 Constitution and executed a civilian coup and are running the affairs of Nigeria, thereby creating a serious threat to our democracy.

“The activities of the cabal should be combated by all democratic forces in Nigeria. They must not be allowed to endanger the stability, peace, good governance and democracy in Nigeria.

“Within the framework of the AU and ECOWAS Nigeria is party to many of the protocols, charters and international instruments some of which are on Democracy and Good Governance. Painfully, Nigeria has had the onerous responsibility of activating some of these instruments against some other African member states….very recently, October 2009, President Yar’Adua led other ECOWAS Heads of State to Sanction President Tandja of Niger.

“It should therefore be noted that the current constitutional crisis that Nigeria is experiencing is not a domestic affair any longer nor is it the family affair of the PDP. The current political impasse has grave African wide consequences and implications.

“Painfully, Nigeria ’s current constitutional crisis is working at cross purposes and in violation of some provisions of both the:  ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance and African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.


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