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Govt ‘ll consider SNG’s demands, says Yayale

…as SNG demands dissolution of Cabinet, removal of Maurice Iwu and invocation of section 144 of the constitution.

FROM: BEN. AGANDE, UMORU HENRY AND SHUAIBU INALEGWU

Armed policemen in their hundreds Wednesday stopped demonstrators organised by the Save Nigeria Group from marching to the Aso Presidential Villa as the federal government promised to urgently look into the three point demand of the group which was submitted to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed for onward transmission to the Acting president, Goodluck Jonathan.

Alhaji Yayale Ahmed who met the crowd of demonstrators at the Federal Secretariat, few metres away from the Aso Rock presidential Villa Gate while thanking leaders of the group for their interest in the affairs of the country however enjoined them to form political parties in order to contest and implement their lofty idea for the country.

According to Alhaji Yayale, the demonstration by the group underscores the fact that democracy was working in Nigeria and urged the leaders of the group to move a step forward by forming political parties and contesting elections.

“When we received your request that you will like to send a letter to the acting President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GCON), and the Acting President directed the Secretary to the Government in my own person to come and receive it. I found it very easy and natural to come and face you because yours is a demonstration of democracy in action in Nigeria.

“Democracy cannot survive if we do not hear the voices of everyday. What you are pursuing in my own perception is the very right thing to do. In democracy, you may have others who may have opposing voice, but usually the superior voice takes effect in democracy. I will like to urge you in order to bring this democracy to fall, you will know that in the machinery of democracy and installments of government, political party are very important. You mobilize people like yourself to join political parties, be elected and come so that we can change Nigeria” he said.

On the demands made by the group, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation said: “What I will like to say is that your three basic demands are noted. One you want to know the status of your President, first it is because you love your President that is why you want to know his status. Secondly, you will want us to follow Constitutional way of dealing with this. This government is a creation of the Constitution and we will do what the Constitution says. Thirdly, we are aware of your demand regarding credible election in this country. Only two weeks ago, the acting President handed over Uwais Committee report unedited to the National Assembly.

“We want to assure you that the National Assembly will do the necessary legislation in terms of reviewing the electoral act and the Constitution in order to have a better election. The Acting President has asked me to assure you that every of your demand will be looked into with immediate effect. I am the messenger; I have received your letter and will tell you that on my honour, I will deliver the letter” he said.

Hordes of demonstrators who had gathered at the Unity Fountain close to the Transcorp Hilton Hotel had marched through the federal secretariat, and were headed to the Aso Rock presidential Villa when policemen, led by an Deputy Inspector |General of police and the Commissioner of Police in charge of the Federal Capital Territory approached the leaders to inform them that a federal government delegation was coming to received them.

Pastor Tunde Bakare who spoke on behalf of the group said the request made by the SNG was the ‘barest minimum’ and promised that the group would continue to ‘mobilise Nigerians from the east, west, north and south, Muslims, Christians and other religious people to engage in public protest until these demands are fully implemented in the interest of peace, justice, democracy in Nigeria’.

The three point demand includes:

i. An end to the invisible Presidency of Yar’Adua by activating Section 144 of the Constitution so that presidential powers will be fully accountable;

ii. The dissolution of the present Executive Council of the Federation which has largely collaborated with presidential aides to foist this crisis on the nation; and

iii. Quick and thorough implementation of the Uwais Report on electoral reform starting with the immediate removal of Professor Maurice Iwu as Chairman and the reconstitution of the INEC with persons of impeccable integrity and competence.

Some of the leaders of the SNG who were present and addressed the crowd at yesterday’s demostration include, Pastor Tunde Bakare, Femi Falana, Hajia Na’Ajatu Mohammed, Hon. Faruk Adamu Aliyu, Dr Goodnews Agbi, Gen. Alani Akinrinade, Chief Ayo Opadokun, Dr Joe Odumakin, Chief Solomon Asemota and Osita Okechukwu.

The letter submitted to the SGF for onward transmission to the Acting President reads:

Your Excellency, we the Save Nigeria Group, a coalition of pro democracy and human rights and the organisation of patriotic Nigerians. We desire the entrenchment of the truest democratic and accountable governance, hereby petition you on certain developments that can truncate democracy and security in Nigeria. We believe in Nigeria are determined to fight to save the country from the control of groups of individuals that are hastening the failure of the Nigerian system.

For over hundred days, Nigerians have not seen or heard from President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua since he has been evacuated to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment, for the three months he reportedly stayed in a Saudi Hospital, several claims continue to say that the President is getting better, we saw that as corporate lies and organisational deception. Some claims he has started intense physical exercises. It is now more than two weeks since he was brought back to Nigeria in the death of the night.

We have not heard from or seen President Yar’Adua. There is need for President Yar’Adua to resign from office on the account of his deteriorating ill health and failure to transmit a letter of vacation on time as required by the Constitution, has resulted in a severe Constitutional crisis. The crisis has compounded other political challenges so that the national system has been designed to aid electoral malpractices. This dysfunctional electoral system threatens democracy and good governance in Nigeria. In order to save Nigeria from real and present danger, the Save Nigeria Group demands;

We, the Save Nigeria Group (SNG), a coalition of pro-democracy and human rights organizations and patriotic Nigerians who desire the entrenchment of a truly democratic and accountable governance hereby petition you on certain developments that can truncate democracy and security in Nigeria. We believe in Nigeria and are determined to fight to save the country from the control of groups and individuals that profit from the failure of the Nigerian system.

2. For more than 100 days, Nigerians have not seen or heard from President Umaru Musa Yar’adua since he was evacuated to Saudi Arabia for treatment. For the 3 months he reportedly stayed in an intensive care unit of a Saudi hospital, several of his aides continued to claim that the President was getting better. Some claimed he had started intense physical exercises. It is now more than two weeks since he was brought back to Nigeria in the dead of the night. We have not still heard from or seen President Yar’adua.

3. The refusal of President Yar’adua to resign from office on account of his deteriorating ill-health and failure to transmit a letter of vacation on time as required by the Constitution has resulted in a severe but avoidable constitutional crisis. This crisis has compounded other political challenges caused by an electoral system that is designed to aid electoral malpractices. This dysfunctional electoral system threatens democracy and good governance in Nigeria.

4. In other to save Nigeria from real and present dangers, the Save Nigeria Group (SNG) demands:

i. An end to the invisible Presidency of Yar’adua by activating Section 144 of the Constitution so that presidential powers will be fully accountable;

ii. The dissolution of the present Executive Council of the Federation which has largely collaborated with presidential aides to foist this crisis on the nation; and

iii. Quick and thorough implementation of the Uwais Report on electoral reform starting with the immediate removal of Professor Maurice Iwu as Chairman and the reconstitution of the INEC with persons of impeccable integrity and competence.

5. We will continue to mobilize Nigerians to engage in public action, including protests, sit-at-homes and strike actions until these demands are fully implemented in the interest of peace, security and genuine democracy in Nigeria.

6. Please accept our highest esteem and support.


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