By Henry Umoru
ABUJA-LEADERS of the South South and South West zones of the country yesterday called for the immediate swearing in of Vice President Goodluck Jonathan as Acting President of the country following the inability of President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua to runÂ the affairs of the country as a result of his ill health
In a joint statement issued in Abuja yesterday at the end of their meeting titled â€˜joint statement issued by Yoruba leaders of conscience and South_South elders and leaders on the state of the nationâ€™, the leaders noted that persistent violations of the provisions of the Constitution have created a needless constitutional crisis that were capable of threatening the very stability of the country.
The Statement was signed by former Information Commissioner and Elderstatesman, Chief Edwin K. Clark, Bishop Emmanuel Gbonigi, Dr. Frederick Faseheun and Chief Sunny Jackson Udoh
According to them, â€œYoruba Leaders of Conscience and the South_South Elders and Leaders Forum met on Friday, 29th January, 2010 in Abuja to review the state of the nation and issued the following statement: the Nigerian state has been sailing â€œlike a rudderless ship towards a precipice for over sixty days following the absence from duty of the President and Commander in Chief, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yarâ€™Adua on grounds of ill_health, we are now a country without leadership.
â€œWhereas section 145 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which states that â€œwhenever the President transmits to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives a written declaration that he is proceeding on vacation or that he is otherwise unable to discharge the functions of his office, until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary such functions shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.”
â€œWhereas the continued failure to comply with the aforementioned constitutional requirement has thrown the country into political quagmire which is being lampooned by the international community;
â€œWhereas the constitution in Section 1(2) provides â€œ that the Federal Republic of Nigeria shall not be governed, nor shall any person or group of persons take control of the Government of Nigeria or any part thereof, except in accordance with the provisions of this Constitutionâ€
â€œThe continued failure to effect the needed succession by swearing in the Vice President as Acting President has resulted in a click taking over the control of the government of the country for the satisfaction of their parochial and selfish interests,Â in clear violation of the constitution;
â€œWhereas well respected elders and progressive advocates and institutions like the National Assembly have collectively called on President Umaru Musa Yarâ€™Adua to comply with the provisions of section 145 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to transmit a declaration to the National Assembly so as to enable the Vice President act as President;
â€œWhereas the Constitution as the ground norm provides the very basis for theÂ coming together of the heterogeneous groups that make up the country where there was no formal union treaty, the flagrant abuse or disrespect for its provisions puts to question the fundamental basis for the coming together of the peoples.
The leaders resolved â€œThat no Nigerian, leader and/or led, is greater than the letters and spirit of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria.
â€œThat the provisions of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria should be fully respected, revered and complied with.
â€œThat as peoples of the South South and South West, having shared commitment to justice, equity and fairness, have agreed toÂ work together to ensure the full compliance of the letters and spirit of the constitution;
â€œThat in a regime where the rule of law is the cardinal pillar of governance, nothing short of the full compliance with the provisions of section 145 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria would guarantee the security, stability, indivisibility and economic prosperity of the countryâ€.