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Jonathan remains Acting President, say Ogbu, Sagay, others

By Henry Umoru
FORMER Economic Adviser to ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, Professor Osita Ogbu, has urged ailing President Umaru Yar’Adua, who returned to the country after 90 days absence, to address the citizenry.

According to him, “we need to be sure that the President has arrived and he must transmit a letter to the National Assembly and it will be proper for him to address Nigerians after three months and until that is done, Acting President Goodluck Jonathan is still the Acting President.”

A Constitutional lawyer, Professor Itse Sagay (SAN), said: “From my own point of view, the making of the Vice-President as Acting President is based on the incapacity of the president. And, that incapacity, apart from his absence of almost 80 days as at that time, was also coupled with his own admission in the interview with the BBC that he was ill, he was not in a position to go home until his doctors give him clearance and that he has been away from duty. So, that was the basis.

“Now, the president being physically president in Nigeria, does not alter that basis because what is going to be considered is whether he is now physically and mentally fit to resume duties. And, it can be ascertained in many ways. One, either by having doctors examine him whether he can function and attend executive council meetings; and he does those things that include vigour, imply fitness physically and mentally, then, the conclusion will definitely be reached that he has recovered. In which case, he can now resume his position as president.

“In the absence of that, being brought back in an ambulance and then taken by an ambulance, somewhere without being seen, simple is an indication that his condition is still very bad, rather than the other way round. And,  so, this cannot make any difference to the institution of an acting presidency.

Relatedly, ex-governorship aspirant in Delta State, Dr. Goodnews Agbi, who asked President Yar’Adua to resign if he knows that he is not well enough to administer the affairs of the nation, said, “Though they said he came back yesterday, but I have not seen him or have you seen him? Jonathan should continue to act as the president and if President Yar’Adua is not strong enough to continue, he should resign and go to Katsina to rest rather than aggravate his problem,” he added.

Also, a former National Executive Member  of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Dan Ulasi, who noted that the controversy surrounding the health of Yar’Adua in the last three months has been put to rest, added “unfortunately he came back and no one saw him. If he is not fit to rule, they should tell us rather than take the entire country for a ride.”

However, a member, Board of Trustees of PDP and former Minister of Transport, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, said, “We are happy that he is back, we wish him a speedy recovery, he should take his time and rest pending when he will have good health and Acting President Goodluck Jonathan should continue in his acting capacity.”

But a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Administration,  Dr. Aliyu Modibbo Umar, simply said, ”I am happy that he is back, I wish him speedy recovery.”


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