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Yar’Adua’s men map out fresh plan

The pro-Yar’Adua elements in government are reworking their strategy of sustaining his tenure following the massive pressure from within and outside the country for the president to transfer power to Vice President Goodluck Jonathan.

The camp composing, but not limited to the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Michael Aondoakaa (SAN); Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Abba Ruma; and Chief Economic Adviser to the President, Dr. Tanimu Yakubu; has been having series of meetings and consultations aimed at neutralising the lockjam created by President Yar’Adua’s long absence from the country and his  non-formal handing over to the vice president.

One of such meetings was hosted by the national chairman of the ruling PDP, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor on Friday evening at his Asokoro, Abuja residence.

In attendance were members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC); Senate President, Chief David Mark; his deputy Mr. Ike Ekweremadu; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Dimeji Bankole; Chief Aondoakaa and Dr. Ruma.

The meeting, according to sources,  reviewed  the tension created in the country by the president’s absence from office  and the resolution it provoked in the Senate that he should hand over to his deputy by transmitting a letter to the Senate on his condition.

About 200 members of the House of Representatives are also said to be threatening to move against the president if he refuses to hand over to the vice president.

The Yar’Adua  group is said to be uncomfortable with the ground gained by those canvassing power transfer especially when such calls are coming from prominent Nigerians including former heads of state, ex-chief Justices  of Nigeria and other eminent citizens.

They are no less rattled by the statement  issued on Thursday by the US and EU leaders asking Nigeria to adhere to the provisions of the Constitution in this “period of uncertainty.”

More meetings have been lined up by the group,  according to sources, and the main objectives is to buy as much time as possible in the hope that the president will recover  sufficiently well soon to  return home  and resume work.

So far they seem to have succeeded in interpreting recent court judgements on the issue in their own way, the calculation being that their actions would calm frayed nerves, and they will  be at least a step ahead of those who want Yar’Adua out.

Why they are bidding for time- Femi Falana.
However, Lagos lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana  said, last night, that the issue has “now gone beyond Section 145.”
Said he: “The civil rights community is not disturbed by their antics at all. No. They are simply buying time, begging the question on ground.

“The issue has transcended transmission of letter to the National Assembly to enable the vice president assume office in acting capacity.

“The president can no longer perform his official duties for now.
“That much was confirmed in the BBC interview when he was talking about the future.
Section 146 has now come into being.”

Section 146 says:
146 – (1) The Vice -President shall hold the office of President if the office of President becomes vacant by reason of death or resignation, impeachment, permanent incapacity or the removal of the President from office for any other reason in accordance with section 143 or 144 of this Constitution.

Continuing, Mr Falana said: Why they are buying  time is to look for a vice president for Jonathan.
“They know he (Yar’Adua) can not resume as president.
“The seemingly contradictory court decisions they have been getting will end up in the Supreme Court. The issue at stake is very, very crucial.
“I’m asking for my own case to be transferred  to another court.
“We (civil rights community) are intensifying our campaign and rallies, mobilising local and international opinions that the provision of the Constitution be complied  with.
“If  the matter is not resolved quickly we may be playing into the hands of anti-democratic elements.
“We should not take the warning made by the Chief of Army Staff lightly.
“Tension is rising. We are just being warned.”
Mr. Aondoakaa could not be reached yesterday. One of his aides who picked  a  call made by Sunday Vanguard said he was sleeping and did not want to be disturbed.


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