Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Dr Goodluck Jonathan Declared Nigerian Acting President

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Nigerian Vice President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan was yesterday declared by the House of Senate as acting president after 78 days of absence of President Umaru Musa Yar’adua from office. The upper finally did what the Nigerian masses had expected from them after the head of state’s whereabouts and state of health had remained shrouded in secrecy.
The declaration of the House of Senate was in line with 145 of the 1999 constitution which mandates the president to transmit a letter to the National House of Assembly that he is incapacitated or is unable to continue in office. They had argued that the president had by the BBC press interview of January 13th 2010 declared that he was incapacitated and so waiting for a personal letter was no longer necessary. They reasoned that their action was to save the country from further state of chaos and anarchy. This declaration would however require the confirmation of the Federal Executive Council which is expected to meet over the matter to examine section 144 of the constitution and determine whether the president is truly fit to continue in office.
The House of Representatives has already rejected a motion seeking the president to transmit a letter to them empowering the VP to assume the position of acting president. The 36 states’ governors have also put their weight behind the Senate: they have been making frantic effort to see that this political impasse was resolved without creating bitterness and enmity.
However, a lot of Nigerians have been reacting to this development and have been commending the Senate for finally acting to save the country from further embarrassment in the eyes of the international community. Notable among those who have reacted is Secretary to the government of the Federation Yayale Ahmed, who said that the Federal Executive Council was in support of the Senate. Also the President of the South-South People’s Assembly Senator Matthew Mbu Jr commended the senators for taking a step in the right direction.
In his broadcast to the nation Dr. Goodluck Jonathan said his role as the acting president was a call to duty. He regretted the Jos religious crisis, promised to maintain the amnesty deal with the Niger Delta, commended the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC for a successful elction in Anambra state, and also promised to improve the power supply in the country.
It would be recalled the Nobel Laureate Professor Wole Soyinka last week led a peaceful rally demanding that Goodluck Jonathan be declared the acting president in respect of the constitutional provisions.
The Federal Executive Council should be aware that Nigerians are waiting for them to toe the path of honour and do what is expected of them without any political gimmicks as anything short of supporting the present position of the Senate may not be tolerated by the masses.

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