* Want Jonathanâ€™s Focus on Development
By Daniel Idonor
ABUJAâ€”ON a compassionate ground and sympathy for the first family, the Governors of the 36 states of the federation last night rose in strong defence against any impeachment move against ailing President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua, insisting also that his resignation is not an option.
Rising from a crucial meeting with Acting President Goodluck Jonathan, at his official residence, Aguda House, the governors under the auspices of the Governorsâ€™ Forum also moved against any further effort by the Federal Executive Council, FEC, especially the planned submission of the report of the six-man team that visited Saudi Arabia, to FEC today at its weekly meeting.
The Acting President had told cabinet members at a meeting that preceded the last week cancelled FEC meeting that the report would be submitted today at FEC for discussion; which many believed would have ignited the invocation of the controversial section 145 of the 1999 Constitution.
Rather than encouraging his sympathizers to continue with the ongoing political fireworks with those loyal the President Yarâ€™Adua, the Governors prevailed on Jonathan to direct his energy to the critical developmental needs of the country, as he continue to preside over the affairs of the state, in acting capacity.
The Governors also pledged their unflinching support for the various moves so far taking by Jonathan to stabilize the polity, especially the recent constitution of the 25-man Presidential Advisory Council, headed by Lt. Gen. T.Y. Danjuma; saying that they expect more of such actions in the near future.
The meeting which was billed for 8:00 pm did not however commence until at about 8:30 pm and ended at 10:00 pm also enjoined top officials of the presidency to exercise highest level of restraint in their comments both for and against President Yarâ€™Adua and Acting President Jonathan, so as not to overheat the already heated polity.
At the end of the meeting, the Chairman of the Governorsâ€™ Forum and Kwara State Governor, Dr Bukola Saraki, Governor Akpabio of Akwa Ibom and Governor Timipreye Sylva fielded questions from State House Correspondents, saying that â€œwe did not discuss that. We noted that the president has returned to the country and we noted the need for him to recuperate and get better soon before he can think of assuming dutyâ€.
â€œFor us the issue of his resignation is not an option for now. For us what is important is for us to be compassionate, to be sympathetic and to realise that anybody no matter highly placed, even if you are a Christian and you are a Pope can get ill. Thank God he is back now and he is recuperating and we are satisfied that recovery is on the way. We are praying for him.
According to Saraki, â€œwe congratulated the acting president for stabilising the polity country at the moment. And we in return, pledged our support to the acting president during this trying time. We encouraged and said he is doing a good job and that he has the full support of the Governors Forum in this exercise.
â€œWe agreed to have regular consultations during this period among the Forum. He also educated us on a number of issues, for example on the Presidential Advisory Council that was set up, the reason behind it and other things.
â€œBy and large, we emphasized the need for government to work very hard to ensure that we all play our role to provide leadership at this crucial time and the need to talk to members of government to ensure that some of the comments made are well guided.
â€œAt the end of the day, we acknowledge what he is doing and appreciate it and we said that the 36 governors will support the acting president for this country to move forward.
â€œWe have expressed that we are happy to see the president back in the country. We have also said we should separate the two issues. The return of the president to the country is an indication that there is progress in his recovery process.
â€œAnd that does not at all deviate from what decision we took as a Forum where we all decided that a political solution to provide a resolution for the Vice President to act as the President. And that is still the positionâ€, he said.