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President shouldn’t hand over, declare Northern Govs

By Emeka Mamah
KADUNA —The Northern Governors Forum, NGF, rose from an emergency meeting in Kaduna, yesterday, and affirmed that bed-ridden President Umaru Yar’Adua does not need to transmit a written document to the National Assembly for Vice President Goodluck Jonathan to assume the position of “Acting President.”

The NGF chairman who is also the Governor of Niger State, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, who read the communiqué asked Nigerians to give Jonathan, “full and total support pending the return of the President in the interest of the country.”

Noting that the Vice President has been “acting admirably”since the President’s absence, the communiqué explained that since the issue of acting can be either verbal or written, the President does not need to write the National Assembly concerning his absence, on health grounds.

The communiqué also regretted the recent violent upheavals in Jos, Plateau State and argued that the violence was more of political than religious.

The governors said the various governments should strengthen their security apparatus by way of pro-active and pre-emptive measures towards securing the lives and property of the people as a fundamental constitutional responsibility and to forestall future occurrence of such crises in the country.

It asked the Plateau State government to direct the full implementation of various investigative panels on the recurring crisis in the state. The communiqué said: “There is the need for sustained and deliberate campaign to abrogate the settler/non-indigene syndrome in the overall interest of peace in the country.”

Earlier in his opening remarks at the meeting, the NGF chairman described the current constitutional crisis in the country as unprecedented which needs to be handled with utmost caution, maturity and patriotism, in the overall interest of the nation.

He said: “History and posterity will be harsh on us if we fail to do what is appropriate to save the situation in the interest of the nation. We should learn from our recent history and be more vigilant so that some people do not hijack the situation and sow the seed of disharmony in our body polity by claiming to protecting or speaking for the North.

“Some of us may recall a situation during the era of late General Sani Abacha when the commander in chief was kept out of public view for whatever reasons for a prolonged period and some officers took advantage to be running the affairs of state while creating the impression that the General was in charge.

“We should, therefore, be circumspect and very appreciative of the circumstances that we are in and indeed champion the course for respect for the constitution and the rule of law.

We should, therefore, discourage creating divisions along ethnic and religious lines, but rather continue to encourage unity, self reliance, collaboration, cooperation and understanding for the overall interest of our people.

“We should realize that as governors, we are the legitimate voice of the people and therefore, we should be forthright on issues that concern the security and welfare of the people.”


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