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Senators set February 10 deadline for Yar‘Adua to step down

By Emmanuel Aziken, Abuja
Senators are setting their eyes on February 10 for President Umaru Yar‘Adua to respond to their demand for a formal handover to Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan before initiating punitive actions against him.

Though the resolution unanimously passed by the Senate last Wednesday did not set an ultimatum, sources say that buried in the minds of the champions of the resolution was a two week deadline for the President to respond.

The decision not to capture an ultimatum in the resolution was based on feelings that such a deadline would have been unhelpful to the broad consensus weaved by the legislators in arriving at a unanimous resolution.

Nevertheless, members of the Nigeria Interest Group (NIG) who spearheaded the resolution are understood to be sharpening their armour for further battle should the President refuse to take what Senators were saying at the weekend was a window of opportunity for his safe landing.

After the landmark resol-ution last Wednesday the NIG was understood to have met to map out strategies for actualizing their demand.

News of the apparent readiness by the NIG for further agitation is coming against the background of revelations of how the President of the Senate, Senator David Mark was compelled to shift ground from his earlier stance against the resolution.

The resolution unani-mously  passed by the Senate asking President Umaru Yar‘Adua to transmit a letter of his medical vacation was itself being hailed by Senators as the finest utterance to have come out of the Mark Senate.

The resolution was, however, not easy to achieve many sources privy to the closed door deliberations told Saturday Vanguard.

The NIG Senators who numbered eighty at the time the Senate took the resolution had underlined compliance with section 145 of the constitution as their minimum demand. That section requires the President to transmit a letter to the National Assembly whenever he is embarking on a holiday or a medical vacation.

At the beginning of the campaign on January 13 many in the Senate leadership had written off the NIG as inconsequential and incapable of mobilizing the votes required to foist their demand.

“We thought they were jokers and many of us really thought that there was no way they could mobilize the numbers that they eventually got,” a principal officer in the Senate told Saturday Vanguard.

The NIG was conceived following the Abuja court ruling of January 13 mandating the Vice-President to execute the functions of the President.

”We knew it was a kangaroo judgment obtained to sidetrack the constitution and we were afraid that it could become a danger to our


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