Yar’Adua fit to rule, says PDP
By Henry Umoru & Luka Binniyat
ABUJA â€“ Though the House of Representatives has formally agreed not to delve into the controversy surrounding President Umaru Yarâ€™Aduaâ€™s refusal to formally write the National Assembly on his long medical leave to pave way for an acting President, it would appear that no fewer than 200 members of the House are regrouping to insist that the President bows to section 145 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The Reps do not want their identity made public for now, but are mostly members drawn from the North-East and South-South geo-political zones.
They have written the President and copied the leadership of the National Assembly; the Federal Executive Council and all the 36 governors. They plan toÂ raise a motion on notice during next Tuesdayâ€™s plenary to insist that the President transmits to the National Assembly a letter informing it of his absence.
But, the Chairman House Committee on Business and Rules, Hon. Ita Enang (PDP, Akwa Ibom) told Vanguard that no one has approached his committee with such a motion, and that it was at best, a rumour.
200 Reps append signature on letter to Yar’Adua
The 200 members, according to Vanguard source, have signed a register that would accompany the letter.
The statement by the group says, â€œweÂ may be compelled to resort to appropriate legislative process under the constitution if you fail to do the right thing.
â€œThe undersigned members of the House may in the national interest be compelled to resort to any appropriate legislative process under the constitution to salvage the nation and our hard-won democracy if the present avoidable danger or threat to the existence of our nation and its democracy are not avertedâ€.
The statement read in part: â€œWe the undersigned members of the House do hereby request Your Excellency to, as a matter of urgent national importance, â€œtransmit to the National Assembly forthwith the communication intended or required by section 145 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to avert a looming national crisis of monumental consequences.
Want President to address Nigerians on TV
â€œAddress the people of Nigeria in a nationally televised broadcast to encourage and reassure the Nigerian people on the imperatives of national unity and solidarity, as well as, build confidence on the democratic course to development and greatness of the Federal Republic of Nigeriaâ€, the statement said.
â€œIt is our view that even without the clear provisions of section 145 of the constitution, it would have been necessary and proper for you to have notified the National Assembly and the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of your absence from the country and the reasons thereofâ€, said the statement.
But, Hon. Enang, who handles the Rules and proceedings of the House said in a telephone interview: â€œI am just hearing this from you for the first time. As far as I know, no one has approach me to include the so-called motion on next Tuesdayâ€™s Order Paper. I have not been approached to be a signatory too. Your inquiry is strange to meâ€, he said.
Earlier, the Speaker, Dimeji Bankole while responding to the demand of the Gowon-led group, after their close door meeting said, “this is the first time that the Speaker does not know what to say.
â€œThe wisdom of elders must not be negated if the young want to growâ€, he said.
â€œI do not know what is in the envelope you have handed over to me, but I will look at it, deliberate upon it and seek for adviceâ€, he said.
â€œWe in the House, who are your sons and daughters can not be more patriotic than you our eldersâ€, he said.
â€œWe would do what is absolutely necessary to move our nation forwardâ€, he said.
PDP backs FEC
THE National leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday threw its weight behind Wednesdayâ€™s decision of the Federal Executive Council, FEC, that President Umaru Yarâ€™Aduaâ€™s absence since 23 November 2009 on medical attention in far away Saudi Arabia does not connote that he was incapacitated.
The party, however, commended the membership of the National Assembly for placing national interest over and above other considerations for the interest of Nigerians, stressing that in line with the 1999 Constitution of Nigerian, only the Federal Executive Council could take action on a matter of this kind as it relates to the President and not the Senate.
It would be recalled that last Wednesday, the Federal Executive Council rising from its meeting stressed that President Yarâ€™Adua was not incapacitated because he was sick and undergoing medical attention.