Fellow Nigerians,

1.    As we all know, our dear President, His Excellency, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, has been receiving treatment in Saudi Arabia for some time now.  Naturally, his absence from the country has generated considerable interest and a heated national debate.

2.    Today, the National Assembly passed a resolution mandating me to act as President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In following the extant provisions of the 1999 constitution to arrive at this decision, the leadership and members of the National Assembly have shown great courage, statesmanship and patriotism. I salute them all.

3.    In the same vein, I will like to commend all the other political actors and national leaders, particularly the former Heads of State, Elder Statesmen, Governors of the 36 States and other leaders of political groups, civil society organizations, the media, and indeed all Nigerians, for their invaluable contributions and counsel. Our security services also deserve our special commendation for their loyalty and devotion to duty during this trying period.

4.    The circumstances in which I find myself assuming office today as Acting President of our country are uncommon, sober and reflective. More than ever therefore, I urge all Nigerians as a people of faith in God, to pray fervently for the full recovery of our dear President and his early return.

5.    The events of the recent past have put to the test, our collective resolve as a democratic nation. I am delighted to note that our nation has demonstrated resilience and unity of purpose. Today affords us time to reconnect with ourselves and overcome any suspicions, hurts and doubts, which had occurred.

In all these, there are no winners and no losers, because by the Grace of God we have once again succeeded in moving our country forward. We have all shown that our unity as a people, our love for this country, and our hope for its great future cannot be shaken.

6.    It is now time for us to move on in a more determined manner to tackle the various challenges which we face as a nation.

Our march towards Vision 20-2020 is irreversible. Therefore, we see a need to prioritise on a few of the most critical areas which continue to plague our effort at engendering meaningful economic growth and development. Some of these critical sectors include power, infrastructure, security, generation of employment and business opportunities for our teeming young men and women.

Fellow Nigerians,

7.    The Federal Government will take every step necessary to consolidate the gains of Amnesty in the Niger Delta and execute the post-Amnesty programme. I therefore appeal to all concerned to be patient, as there can be no meaningful development without peace and security.

8.    As regards the Jos crisis, government will endeavour to sustain the peace and find a lasting solution to the recurring crisis in Plateau State .  In the meantime, culprits of the heinous crimes committed in the recent incident will face the full weight of the law. I want to restate that government will not tolerate the culture of impunity that is fast becoming an unwelcome part of our socio-political life.

9.    Our commitment to ensuring the security of lives and property in all parts of the country will also be pursued with renewed zeal. The Nigeria Police and other security services would be given new impetus to perform their duties, even while respecting the human rights of Nigerians. They are fully expected to produce corresponding results. There shall be no excuses for failure. Nigerians deserve to be fully protected at all times nationwide.

Fellow Nigerians,

10.   One of the cardinal commitments of this administration is our commitment to Good Governance, Accountability and Transparency. We shall continue to pursue these policy objectives with all the seriousness they deserve. In particular, the war against corruption will be prosecuted more robustly.  We will therefore strengthen the capacity of the anti-corruption agencies and give them a free hand to prosecute the anti corruption war.

11.   Let me once again commend the people of Anambra State , for the successful conduct of the recent gubernatorial election. This has shown that Nigerians can conduct free, fair and credible elections. The Anambra Election has however exposed some weaknesses in our electoral system, and government is determined to plug these loop holes as we approach the next General Elections in 2011. I want to reassure all Nigerians and our friends around the world, that our determination to ensure that the sanctity of the electoral rights of our people shall not be compromised.

12.   Let me on behalf of the Nigerian people appreciate the international community for their goodwill and understanding in our efforts at national development and consolidation of our democracy. Nigeria will continue to play a deserving role in regional and global affairs.

13.   On a personal note, I am deeply humbled and honoured by this great call to duty. I am fully aware of the responsibilities reposed in me, and I want to reassure all Nigerians that this is a sacred trust, which I shall discharge to my fullest abilities.

14.   Thank you and may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria. 

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Lawyers differ on Senate’s resolution
ABUJA—THE Senate Resolutions empowering Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan to serve as Acting President have attracted varying reactions from lawyers across the country:

Femi Falana:
The recent Senate request to President Yar’Adua to transmit a written declaration to the leaders of the National Assembly could not be carried out.
The Senate and the House of Assembly were therefore on terra firma to have taken the BBC interview of the President as a declaration under the doctrine of necessity since he is incapable to write as required by section 145 of the 1999 constitution. It should, however, be pointed out that it is not the resolution of the National Assembly that has empowered the Vice President to become the Acting President but the acceptance of the President’s declaration via the BBC.

Chris Uche
I strongly believe that what they have done is right in the circumstance.
But whether the BBC broadcast they relied upon to activate section 145 of the 1999 constitution is tantamount to written declaration is what I have problem with.
I don’t think that the broadcast was what the constitution regards to as the written transmission. I don’t think it amounts to it.
But I must confess, that resolution is okay in the circumstance we find ourselves. I support what they have done because it is politically expedient and the constitution must be interpreted in such a way as not to defeat the intention of the lawmakers.
The intention of section 145 is for when the president is not able to run the country. And in this case, it is very apparent. It is very clear.

Justice Samuel Omotunde Ilori
As I told you before, no constitution can envisage everything that will happen in the life of a nation.
All the others will be supplied by statutes, convention and all the rest.
Even though the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria did not provide that a resolution be passed by the Senate under this type of circumstance, it is implied that when the president has been out of the country for so long, there is an implied provision.
It is already implied within the purview of section 145 of the 1999 constitution that he has written the letter.
The constitution did not envisage this type of thing but it can be implied to it. I think Goodluck Jonathan should be sworn in, since he was sworn in as Vice President, he should be sworn in as Acting President.

Michael Kaase Aondoakaa
The Attorney-General of the Federation also spoke yesterday through his Special Assistant on Media, Mr Onov Tulugh.
He said: “The Attorney-General of the Federation has no problem with the resolution. He said he has not been acting at cross-purposes with the National Assembly. So, he has no problem with the resolution.
But I have not heard his comment on whether the BBC broadcast amounted to a written declaration. He has no problem with the resolution of the senate.”
But after about an hour, Mr Tulugh called Vanguard back to say that the official position now is: The Attorney-General of the Federation has not seen the resolution by the Senate and would not be able to comment on it for now.

Tunji Abayomi:
“The Senate resolution has no constitutional effect.
“Understanding in the confusing present circumstances is warranted. Still, we need to affirm that the resolution of the Senate conferring the powers and title of “Acting President” on the VP amounts to nothing or at best a Constitutional breach.
“The constitution allows the Senate to take away the Presidency but it does not allow it to give it away.
“It is only the Constitution in the peculiar and specific ways provided therein that can give away the Presidency which is a collective possession of the people of Nigeria by the votes of the people.”

Bamidele Aturu:
That resolution passed by Senate would have been unnecessary if we have not been confronted with series of acts of negligence on the part of critical institutions and persons in our so called democracy.
In the first place, the first negligence started with Mr President himself who travelled for medical treatment for over 70 days without sending a written declaration to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives as required by section 145 of the 1999 constitution.
The Senate itself was also negligent because it did not also do what it should have done under section 143 of the 1999 constitution.

Adegboyega Awomolo
The resolution of the senate is of a moral persuasion. It is not the law and for me, the Vice President needs to be very careful in obeying the resolution by the Senate.
If they think it is important, they can make it an act of the National Assembly, both houses will pass it as the law.
For me, it is a moral persuasion. It is a representation of the wishes and desires of Nigerians.
Because they are the representatives of the people of Nigeria, they are speaking for the entire 150 million Nigerians.

and therefore it is a moral persuasion to begin to act as acting president.

The provision of the constitution is very clear. I advise the vice president to respect them but at the same time be careful in implementing it.

The house of representatives should also pass it so that it can carry more weight. But if they really mean business, they can pass it as an act of the national assembly. Although there would be a conflict between the constitution and the act of the national assembly.

But you know the national assembly has the moral duty to guard the nation. They constitute the organs of the nation. What they have done is to express the wishes and desires of the 150 Nigerians. But it is not the law. It is commendable.

I commend the courage and I congratulate them and I say that Nigerians are proud of them but to the vice president, it is not the law. He has to take it with caution. It is of moral persuasion not of legal persuasion.

Conclusively, the Senate has done the right thing. Why is the president not able to transmit the letter? Is it that he has not heard anything from Nigeria or that he had heard but that he had transmitted and some people who did not want power to shift had withheld it?

The president is a Nigerian. He is a man of integrity. He is a man I appreciate. He is responsive to the desires and yearnings of the people of this country. I believe he is not aware of what is happening in the country. But the senate has done well. The House of Representatives should also go ahead to do the same thing. Thank you

File Ise
February 9, 2010
Nice Post......


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