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YAR’ADUA : More ministers support Akunyili

Prof. Dora Akunyili

By Emmanuel Aziken, Henry Umoru & Daniel Idonor

ABUJA— AS the Federal Executive Council, FEC, is set to debate the memorandum presented by the Minister of Information and Communication, Professor Dora Akunyili, asking President Umaru Yar’Adua to step down for Goodluck Jonathan in the interest of national unity, in two days time, cabinet members earlier opposed to the idea are said to have resolved to back the ‘political solution’ proposed by the 36 governors.

Vanguard learnt that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed is set to address a special session of the weekly meeting on Wednesday “before the official business of the day, on the public embarrassment the widespread reports in the national dailies, over the perceived disagreement among FEC members, has caused the executive arm of government.”

A core member of the pro-Yar’Adua group within the cabinet who agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity denied reports that FEC would throw out the Akunyili memo for the second time, saying the memo would be discussed at the Wednesday meeting if it met the criteria.

The minister told Vanguard: “We don’t have to do that but what we are saying is that we cannot compel the President, who knows what is right or the appropriate thing to do, to transmit a letter to the National Assembly, NASS, on the matter because he remains our boss just as we now recognize the Vice President as our boss. But I think there is a way forward, especially now that our governor-brothers have decided to proffer political solution to the issue.

“I want to correct the impression created by you, the media, that we deliberately refused to discuss the memo because of the interest we have, not at all.

We couldn’t deliberate on it because it failed to meet up with rules which we have, that for a memo to be discussed it must have been submitted to council a week earlier.

And the Abdulmutallab case you are asking, it is a matter of international interest and Nigeria’s image that requires urgency on our part.” The minister who denied any division among cabinet members as a result of Akunyili’s memo said “I also read that she has formally presented the memo to cabinet secretariat, so once it meets up with the proper criteria what stops us from discussing it? We will do.”

Governors,  senators parley tomorrow
A delegation of the Governors’ Forum is to meet with senators tomorrow towards fashioning a constitutional leeway out of the constitutional crisis arising from the continued absence of President Umaru Yar‘Adua from the country. Senate President, Senator David Mark, who received a delegation of the Governors Forum, weekend, requested for an enlarged meeting with all senators on the issue.

The meeting, Vanguard learnt, is scheduled for tomorrow presumably in the National Assembly complex. Meanwhile, the more than 80 senators belonging to the Nigeria Interest Group, NIG, who spearheaded the Senate resolution urging President Yar‘Adua to transmit a letter to the National Assembly on his medical vacation are meeting this evening.

Ogbulafor, others leave for Saudi Arabia
The national leadership of the ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, has finally bowed to pressure of the need to get a letter from the ailing President Yar’Adua who has been out of the country in the last 77 days on medical attention, without handing over properly to Vice President Goodluck Jonathan. National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor who made the trip yesterday, had the Deputy National Chairman of the Party,  Bello Haliru Mohammed and the Deputy National Secretary, Dr. Musa Babayo on the trip.

Vanguard gathered that the three members of the National Working Committee, NWC, of the party left Abuja Sunday evening for Lagos to fly to Saudi Arabia. According to the source, the date of arrival of Ogbulafor and other members of the NWC cannot be ascertained depending on when they accomplish their mission to the place, adding that they were prepared to wait in that country until they see the president.

Prelude to this long awaited visit by the leadership of the party which produced the president, were series of morning, daylight and nocturnal meetings, the most recent ones were the one held penultimate week at 45, Maman Nasir Street, Asokoro, Abuja, the residence of Ogbulafor.

The meeting was between the members of PDP NWC, the Senate President, Senator David Mark, the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Dimeji Bankole and the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Chief Mike Aondonkaa.

Others at the meeting were the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Abba Ruma and the Chief Economic Adviser to the President, Dr. Taminu Yakubu.


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