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SGF briefs Senate on Yar’Adua’s health

By Emmanuel Aziken & Daniel Idonor
ABUJA—The Senate, yesterday, suspended further action on the fate of President Umaru Yar’Adua till tomorrow when it is expected to take a briefing from the Secretary to the Government of the Federation,SGF, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed, on the President’s health.

Should SGF fail to convince the Senate at the closed-door session, it is expected that it would then formally write the President next Tuesday on his non-adherence of Section 145 of the constitution which requires him to transfer presidential powers in the face of his unavailability.

The Senate’s resolution reached at a two-hour closed door session was upon pressures mounted by Senators seeking to compel the ailing President to temporarily handover power to his deputy, Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan.

Meanwhile, the group of senators agitating for the transfer of presidential powers, who, at a Monday night meeting, christened themselves as the National Interest Group, NIG, have  resolved to sheath their sword until tomorrow when the SGF would brief the Senate.

NIG, led by Senator Bala Mohammed from Bauchi State, also yesterday decided to defer a briefing scheduled for today where they were expected to formally unveil their agenda.

Senators at the closed- door session resolved that they would then take a course of action based on the briefing given by the SGF.

Ahmed is being invited in his capacity as the secretary of the Federal Executive Council and the keeper of government records who should know the state of health of the President.

In a move to take the wind off the sail of the agitating senators, some senators claimed that they had been informed by some presidential aides that the President would be returning tomorrow.

The decision by NIG whose members according to insiders had swelled to 58 as at Monday night, were weighing their options on how the Senate leadership would sway the issue.

“We will wait for Thursday when the SGF comes and we will move from there, but I can assure you the agenda is still on course,” a leader of the group told Vanguard yesterday.

Briefing newsmen at the end of the day’s session, Senate spokesman, Senator Ayogu Eze, said:
“I want to let you know that we are discussing with the Secretary to the Government of the Federation on Thursday.

”Whatever the Senate will do on the matter of the health of Mr. President and his absence will come up as a result of what the SGF is able to tell us or is unable to tell us.

”And, everything will wait until we have heard from him. We are not contemplating any issue one way or the other because we don’t know what he is coming with. We don’t know the information available to him.

“He would be able to answer the question that is agitating the minds of our constituents and our own minds too.
”After our meeting with him on Thursday, we will evaluate his presentation and, if there are further legislative actions to take, we will base that action on what happens on Thursday.”

VP, PDP leaders in secret talks

Meanwhile, the national leadership of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday met behind closed doors with Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, over undisclosed issues.

Details of the meeting could not be ascertained as at press time as none of those who attended refused to speak to the press.

The composition of the team that visited Jonathan gave strong indications that issues discussed at the meeting might not be unconnected with the state of health of President Umaru Yar’Adua and the raging debate over the handing over of power to Jonathan.

Those at the meeting were Senate President David Mark, Mr. Dimeji Bankole, Speaker, House of Representatives; Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Deputy Senate President; Alhaji Usman Nafada, Deputy Speaker; Dr. Bukola Saraki, Governor of Kwara State and Alhaji Yayale Ahmed, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF; Mr. Mike Aondoakaa, Attorney-General and Minister of Justice and Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, Chairman of PDP.


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