By Dennis Agbo
THE Group of Concerned Nigerians, a coalition of eminent Nigerians led by former Senate President, Chief Anyim Pius Anyim, has challenged President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua if actually he has returned to the country as widely reported in the media, to personally address the nation clarifying issues about his absence and return.
The group stated that it is only by Yarâ€™Adua personally addressing the nation that he would have honourably appreciated Nigerians for their prayers when he was presumably away in Saudi Arabia for medical treatment.
In a statement, weekend, signed by Anyim, the group said it acknowledged the media report that Yarâ€™Adua is back to the country after a 93- day medical vacation in Saudi Arabia, noting, however, that the controversy generated by his inability to comply with Section 145 of the constitution either when he was leaving or during his stay in Saudi Arabia threatened the stability of the nation.
Nevertheless, the Group of Concerned Nigerians commends the National Assembly for bailing the nation out of the heated and dangerous controversy, while it also commended the Acting president Dr. Goodluck Jonathan for responding to that call to duty and thereby saving the ship of Nigeria state from sinking.
Part of the statement reads: â€œFollowing the media report of the return of Mr. President, we fear that the nation again is being lured into another unnecessary controversy about the presidentâ€™s return and capacity to rule. Our concern is that the general election of 2011 is by the corner and that the present attempt to generate another round of controversy may be a ploy to distract the nation and the acting president from vigorously pursuing the electoral reforms preparatory to credible general election in 2011.
â€œOur position on the return of the president is that we should stick to constitutionalism i.e if the president is back, the following approach should be adopted in announcing his return: The president shall by declaration under his signature communicate to the National Assembly that his is back and on his duty post.Â It is only a communication like this that can properly notify the National Assembly and thereby overriding the earlier resolution.
â€œIn the absence of such communication, the resolution stands, which means that the Vice President continues to act as President and Commander in Chief of Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.Â This statusquo is not subject to negotiation or even discussion.
â€œThe president should personally address the nation clarifying issues about his absence and return.Â This is the only honourable way for Mr. President to appreciate Nigerians for their patience and prayers.