By Emmanuel Aziken & Inalegwu Shaibu
ABUJA—THE British Government and the African Union, yesterday, commended Nigeria for resolving the power logjam that resulted from absence of President Umaru Yar’Adua, currently receiving medical treatment in Saudi Arabia, by installing Vice President Goodluck Jonathan as Acting President, even as the Foreign Affairs Minister, Chief Ojo Maduekwe, admitted that the absence of President Yar’Adua has impaired Nigeria’s diplomatic relations.

During an interactive session with the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, yesterday, Maduekwe said the absence of President Yar’Adua exerted great challenges on the country in the diplomatic arena following his inability to attend to fellow heads of s
tate. He appeared before the Senator Jibril Aminu led committee which had Senators Abubakar Sodangi, Manzo Anthony and Felix Bajumo in attendance.

Conveying a message from the British authorities, he said: “Just before I came in here, the British Foreign Secretary, Mr. David Miliband, called me and wanted to express his government’s profound appreciation that challenging times like these were being managed very well by the National Assembly, by the Executive Council of the Federation, by the entire leadership. That Nigeria has justified the confidence many of Nigeria’s friends have in this country.”

Noting how foreign relations were impaired by the ill-health of the President, he said: “One cannot divorce the issue of diplomacy from the domestic situation. All over the world, wherever I go, the challenge is made even more difficult for me now with the unfortunate indisposition of Mr. President and, of course, the Vice President himself cannot travel.

“Where the President normally would go and he is unable to be there, it should be the Vice President. But if the President is outside the country, it means the foreign minister is instructed through the then Vice President now Acting President to represent the nation.”
Explaining his difficulties with Presidents and Prime Ministers of other countries, the foreign minister said: “I had a very difficult challenge to explain things to them to assure them that Nigeria is going through a very difficult moment. But I assured them and the National Assembly has vindicated me in that assurance. I assured them that whatever happened, the constitution of the country, the robustness of our democracy, the country would come out of it strong, respected and appreciated.

"And when the National Assembly took the historic decision they took, few days ago, not only did it bring stability to the nation, it also assisted the foreign minister in his task of engaging the rest of the world.”

Earlier, Senator Aminu conveyed to the minister the resolution of the Committee to reject the Ministry’s N.2.4 billion budget for miscellaneous expenses on the note that the proposal was outside the limit of the envelop given the Ministry.

The African Union, in its reaction, urged the military in Nigeria, to respect a decision to hand power to the country’s deputy leader until the recovery of ailing President Umaru Yar’Adua.

AU praises move

In a statement, the African Union commission chairman, Jean Ping, praised the move to install Goodluck Jonathan as acting head of state for demonstrating “respect for the constitution, good governance, democracy and the rule of law.”

The union said in a statement: “In so doing, the government and people of Nigeria have, again, resolved a delicate and sensitive political situation within the constitutional and legal provisions available and without recourse to violence or unconstitutional means.

“The chairperson of the commission encourages all the stakeholders in Nigeria, including the military, to continue in their firm support for and practice of constitutionality.”

The Federal Executive Council had initially opposed the idea of the Vice President being formally appointed as acting president in the absence of Yar’Adua who has been treated in a Saudi Arabia hospital for a heart condition since November.

But ministers rallied round Jonathan, Wednesday, after the National Assembly had voted to hand him the reins of power. After his installation as Acting President, Jonathan commended the security services for “their loyalty and devotion to duty during this trying period.”

The debate around the crisis arising from Yar’Adua’s absence has brought to the fore the political battle over the delicate power balancing act. The situation is further complicated by an unwritten rule under which the presidency traditionally switches between the north and the south at every two elections.

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Comment by Ogheneotega Gd Esemuede Jr on April 27, 2011 at 10:54pm
please we do not need oil mafias in Nigeria, e.g British, we can solve our problem our selfs, we fully support president Good Luck Jonathan
Comment by lalacious1 on February 13, 2010 at 8:35am
Acting or no acting we need to get one thing straight, Nigeria is bigger than few individual's (Oil mafia), we need to change these country for good lets stand by goodluck and things we definitely change for better.... congratulation Mr president ( Dr Jonathan Goodluck)... the Ijebus are behind you
Comment by Abdul-ganiu.Olamilekan - Cole on February 12, 2010 at 5:11pm
Your excellency sir, ...Mr .Acting president Jonathan Goodluck........Firstly, i wanna use this medium to champion your face to the problems that boisterous the people of Niger Delta since Nigeria got her independent from their Mafia master British colonial and this Mafia british colonial master trade and sold the rights of the people of Niger Delta to the Northerners .Inaddtion, The Niger Delta has been subgraded blessed naturally with nature resource ,.But, ever since Nigeria got her independent from their Mafia master colonial British who subhuman people of South-south to the quack northerner leaders(Alimajeris) and some of our crooked corrupted politician leaders who safone our public treasury and made . Sir, you need to injected Riliwan Lukuman out from nigeria minister and also from petrolum sector and also you need to re-address and to educate Nigerians both home and abroad about the project of University of petrolum . Sir, i will love you react now and reject the commission of Nigeria Insitutde of Petrolum in North because they don't have right to build nigeria insitutde of petrolum and technology otherwise nigeria will contiune facing disasterous .
God bless Nigeria...Amen !!!
For Campaign forMigrants Rights(C-M-R)Worldwide,
Abdul-ganiu.Olamilekan Cole
Tel : 00212655866156
Comment by Uzor Onyia on February 12, 2010 at 2:07pm
I have never doubted it. I have always known that the challenges we face today will make us stronger and more united as a Nation. I have no fear that Nigeria will one day run, run fast past some great Kingdoms and free States of the world. It can only take a while, some years may be, some decades perhaps but one thing is sure Nigerians we may not be Great yet, but believe me fellow Nigerian we are good people and surely shall be a Great may not happen in our lifetime but it will happen for our children and children's children to enjoy in a nation that made us pass through this much rigour and to appreciate the sacrifices we made for their future to be secured. We are one incomparable hardworking nation and when Nigeria shall work, many Nations, united Kingdoms and joint states shall bow at the speed of our enhancement.
I wish to appreciate His Excellency Dr. Jonathan, the acting President for been so patience. Sure, I know he will attend such height because his political history said so. Here is a man who have never summoned a campaign meeting rising to be a commander in chief of a Nation believed to have over 150million internal citizens ...what a good luck. Sure you are the luckiest politician in the world. please don’t make me think you don’t know the value because you didn’t fight for it, so use every single minute of this privilege to work, well I trust you to try your best in the presence of the pressure that will be on you from all angles. Your patience is the secret of the peace we enjoyed within this period of constitutional confusion.
Secondly big thanks to Senate President, Mr. Speaker, Distinguished Senators and Honourable Representatives of the Federal Republic for waking up so late. Any ways, it is better late than never.
To the Federal Executive Council, if not for the respect I have for Nigeria, I would have called all of you bunch of idiots. Why will a man who called himself Attorney General not know that his primary duty is to protect the integrity of the Constitution and not to use his legal wizardry to twist the same constitution he was appointed to protect thinking he is saving the president? Save the president and destroy Nigeria. Tell me, if there will Aso villa without Nigeria. He stupidly made two public mistake that surprised me as a smart lawyer that I know him to be; one, that the ailing president can rule Nigeria from his sick bed. Two, that the National Assembly does not have any right to empower the Vice President. This guy forgot that National Assembly is the only body empowered by the constitution to;
• Approve all the plans and action of the Executives
• Checkmate their actions and abuse of power and position
• The main reason being that the National Assembly is accepted by the constitution as the only representative of the Nigerian people in government and once the people you are governing revokes against you, you are gone. Any abnormally in the constitution can be decided upon by National assemble and it will bind until it is fully inscribe into the construction.

Most specially, my appreciation to Wole Soyinka for the noble role he and the Save Nigeria Group played, I never knew he is this noble......thank you Prof.

Finally to the people who have conquered this battle and earn this victory, the Good people of Nigeria. At this time the world is still shucked by the simplicity with which we resolved this issue. Comments and commendations are trickling in around the globe. They expected us to shed blood, to cause anarchy and instability-is it not Nigeria again? but here we are more united more preserved.... believe me Nigerians when we decided to work, na so them go surprise as we go carry overtake them so my brothers, one love my people.
Comment by Obinna Onykwere on February 12, 2010 at 2:03pm
For the sake of diplomacy, let the acting president accept the congratulatory message but with a pinch of salt, British conspiracy and collaboration has never done Nigeria any good, from the scramble for Africa to the resolution of Yaradua absence (imagine the Yaradua BBC interview). The acting president should be ware of them and people like Ojo Maduekwe, Rilwanu Lukeman and other epidemic (because we suffer the same people in every administration) public officers lest they lead him astray.
Comment by Arc. Fahtai Bakare on February 12, 2010 at 4:50am
…Acting President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan
Regardless of our differences, ‘NIGERIA’ is the ‘Giant of Africa’ and shall remain the Giant in Diaspora. Nigeria is a great nation and shall remain till Heavens come…Amen.
Remember: Nigeria was named after the river Niger, which means ‘BLACK’ and there’s no place else in continent of ‘Africa’ quite like it… It’s mandatory that we maintain our status quo.
What makes us stands alone and different from the rest of black ‘Africa’ is our history… its no cultural upstart. Nigeria is the Brazil of Africa… It may sound or look like we’re quarreling at all time, but it’s actually just affectionate banter.

“Long Live Nigeria”
Long Live Democracy!

Prince (Arc.) F.K.O.Bakare
Comment by afam karl on February 12, 2010 at 1:59am
This ojo maduekwe of a man think he is smart.just listen to him talking from both side of the mouth.this is the same who told BBC hard talk presenter that there was nothing like government business suffering.that the FEC is running the government without the president.he also said that there was nowhere in the constitution that says that the president will hand over power to his vice when he goes on vacation or medical trip.he boasted that he is a lawyer and also that he authored the constitution.seeing that his counterpart the former AGF has been demoted he wants to act holier than thou.ojo maduekwe you days as the external affairs minister is almost think your pranks will worked withe Abacha to perpetuet himself in power for your selfish worked with empero obasanjo throughout his fight to remain in power for life.ojo maduekwe is an epidemic and the only cure is outright dismisal from the FEC if this jonathans administration should be taking seriously.thanks the senate that denied him the huge money that he wants to waste on nothing.a visit to our foriegn missions will vindicate the senate.president jonathan should sack ojo maduekwe NOW.
Comment by tede on February 12, 2010 at 12:48am
Thank you Mr Maduekwe for confirming that there was a vacuum in government and that you would appear to have not done anything about it.
Comment by Promise on February 11, 2010 at 11:33pm
Let those British government go and rest. We don't need them to interfere with anything and we don't need their congratulatory message for any reason. I hope Jonathan ignores any crap they would try to place on the table for him.

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