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Shun acting president calls, group urges Jonathan

By Dapo Akinrefon
LAGOS—An Ijaw pressure group, Niger Delta Nationalities Forum, has urged Vice President Goodluck Jonathan not to yield to pressure mounted on him to become actiing president.

The group, however, berated those calling on President Yar’Adua to resign on health grounds, saying they were blowing the issue out of proportion.

Addressing newsmen in Lagos, Lagos State chairman of the group, Mr Manager Seigha, also warned that the present zoning arrangement should not be scuttled as this may prevent the emergence a South-South presidency.

Seigha said: “Our position is that Nigerians are over blowing the issue and that the most important thing as Niger Deltans, from our view point, is that we are happier with the present position of Umaru Yar’Adua as the Pressident and Goodluck Jonathan as Vice President . “We are not part of those who are interested in the vice president taking over from Yar’Adua.”

According to him, “we also want people to respect the current zoning formular. For instance, Chief Obasanjo, from the South-West ruled for eight years. We are waiting patiently for the North to complete their eight years so that the presidency will return to the South and this will afford the South-South the opportunity to present a candidate of their choice.

We know that by that time, the South West will not be too eager. We are not too keen about the present scheming about who takes over. As far as we are concerned, nothing has changed in the country.”

On the president’s ill-health, he said “we think that the issue of President Yar’Adua’s health is being blown out of proportion and why we think it is not a big deal is because our prayer is that Yar’Adua should be healthy enough to return to his duty post to continue work.”

“We advise Vice President Goodluck Jonathan to be loyal and that he should desist from listening to fifth columnist who are out to sabotage him.

We know that by the end of the Yar’Adua administration, Jonathan will be a suitable candidate to take over from Yar’Adua when it’s our turn.

We want the zoning arrangement of eight years to remain, there should not be any need to scuttle this arrangement already on ground. We also want to commend the Federal government on the on-going amnesty deal which has led to peace in the Niger Delta,” he stated.


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