By Demola Akinyemi
Ilorin â€”Â Chairman, Nigerian Governors Forum, Governor Bukola Saraki of Kwara State denied yesterday that the Forum directed the National Assembly to empower Vice President Goodluck Jonathan as the President, saying that they only made an appeal.
He ascribed the misinterpretation of their position to those he described as the fifth columnists who are hell bent on heating up the polity.
Governor Saraki disclosed thisÂ in an interview with journalists in Ilorin after a courtesy call on him by officials of the Board of Council of the Nursing ad Midwifery Council of Nigeria, NMCN, led by Mrs Rebecca Aikhomu .
He expressed concern that their appeal was deliberately misinterpreted semantically, adding that such habit was uncalled for.
The governor who urged the â€œfifth columnistsâ€Â to desist from telling lies in order to heat up the polity in the over all interest of the nation,Â wondered why someÂ people were only interested in causing confusion instead of promoting the ideas that would move the nation forward.
According to him,Â â€œwe hold the members of he National Assembly in high esteem and there was never a time in our address that we said we are directing the members to consider the ViceÂ President asÂ the ActingÂ President. The governors onlyÂ appealedÂ to the National AssemblyÂ to moveÂ a motion to considerÂ the Vice President as the Acting President of the country.
“We are stakeholders and we know our limitations. We do not have the power to so direct or order the National Assembly as claimed,â€ he said.
On Obi’s re-election
OnÂ last weekâ€™s electoral victory of Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State, Gov. SarakiÂ praised the peaceful conduct of the exercise, saying the exercise showed that Nigeria is ready for 2011 elections.
He congratulated Obi for the victory and also extolled the virtues of the candidate of the Peopleâ€™s Democratic Party, PDP, in the election, Chukwuma Soludo, for being the first Nigerian politician to have openly conceded victory in an electoral contest.
Saraki noted that the PDPâ€™s loss would now be interpreted as a good job done by Professor Maurice Iwu-led Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, â€œin some quarters,â€ adding that such people should equally be magnanimous in defeat in PDP dominated areas in future elections.
â€œSuch people should not shout the slogan of pulling down the nation if their parties failed to win. The Anambra election has come and gone but our democracy is stronger for it. It means that we are fully ready for 2011 elections. Nigeria is maturing in that area. I want the international community too to see us in that mould,â€ he said.
Condemns kidnap of PDP scribe’s son
He also condemned last week kidnapping in Ilorin of one of the sons of the National Secretary of the PDP, Alhaji Baraji. The Governor condemned the dastardly act, assuring that the state Kidnapping Bill now at the second reading stage at the state House of Assembly would serve as the needed solution to the problem.
Governor Saraki said when eventually passed into law, confirmed kidnappers could face death penalty among other corporal punishments.
Members of the Board of Council of the NMCN led by its chairman, Mrs Rebecca Aikhomu were in Ilorin to urge the Governor to appeal to his colleagues on the need for them to complement the efforts of the association in the area of reduction of maternal mortality rate in the country.