By Emma Aziken
ABUJAâ€”THE Save Nigeria Group, SNG, has faulted the National Assembly’s resolutions empowering Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan as Acting President. The group has also given the Federal Executive Council a 10-day notice to declare President Umaru Yar’Adua physically incapacitated.
In a statement made available to Vanguard, yesterday, the group alleged that the resolutions of the National Assembly were constitutionally-flawed in that they relied on a BBC interview as the Presidentâ€™s transmission of his medical vacation.
Fear Shonekan’s treatment for Jonathan
Noting that the resolutions could be used to destabilise the nationâ€™s democracy in the same way the late General Sani Abacha uprooted the Chief Ernest Shonekan’s Interim National Government, the Save Nigeria Group called on the council of ministers to trigger Section 144 of the 1999 Constitution to properly position Jonathan as President.
SNGâ€™s position was articulated in conjunction with Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka. The group’s statement was endorsed by Head of Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare; Mr. Solomon Asemota, SAN, ex-Chief of Defence Staff, Lieutenant-General Alani Akinrinade, rtd; chieftain of Afenifere Renewal Group, Yinka Odumakin; Hon. Uche Onyeogocha and Malam Salihu Lukman.
In the statement, the group noted:
“That SNGâ€™s protest marches in Abuja, Lagos, London, and New York were motivated by the need to restore the dignity of Nigeria and its people through a constitutional resolution of the power hijack by a cabal which kidnapped a sick man who is incapable of knowing what is going on and acting in his name to subvert the will of the people and orderliness in our country, and not just an anyhow pronouncement of Dr. Jonathan as an “Acting President,”
“That the pronouncement by the National Assembly making Dr. Jonathan “Acting Presidentâ€ by a strange interpretation of a questionable BBC interview as a substitute for the written declaration the President ought to have made before leaving the country, amounts to rigging and a manipulation ofÂ Section 145 of the constitution. Only the unwary will not see through the booby trap in having an “Acting President” who is not sworn in by those who got an outgoing Chief Justice of Nigeria to swear in his successor.
Want Jonathan installed President
“That while we want Dr. Jonathan to assume full Presidential powers, his natural right by the constitution, we reject the extra-constitutional invocation of the “doctrine of necessity,” which is a dangerous precedent that could become handy to execute an unpopular agenda against the people in the future.
“That apart from placing one man and his kidnappers above the nation, Nigeria has once again been presented with a Shonekan who was kicked out unceremoniously by General Sani Abacha after a court declared the contraption he headed illegal in 1993. We are not ready to go that route anymore.
” That it has become imperative that a logical and constitutional process of installing Dr. Jonathan as President with a Vice-President must commence immediately with the Executive Council of the Federation passing a resolution declaring Yarâ€™Adua incapacitated in compliance with Section 144 of the constitution.
We insist that the session where the resolution would be taken must be beamed live on national television.
“That the invocation of Section 144 will not only permanently resolve the logjam but will restore the esteem of Nigerians which has been badly damaged by all sorts of lies which the criminal cabal has fed them with in the last 80 days on the health of the President as we press for the prosecution of all those involved in the forging of the signature of the President on the Supplementary Budget.
“That failure by the Executive CouncilÂ of the Federation to carry out this demand by its next two sittings, February 17 and 24, 2010, will attract the wrath of Nigerians and SNG and its allies will storm Abuja in a big way to insist on doing the right thing to save our country from the snare of the cabal programming Nigeria for avoidable disaster.