Speculations over the health situation of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua may come to an end as the president spoke encouraging words to Nigerians from Saudi Arabia.
In his first interview since November when he left the country for heart treatment, Yar’Adua told the BBC, yesterday, that he was recovering and hoped to make “tremendous progress” which would enable him to return home and resume duty.
Nigerian opposition parties had continually asked about the true state of Mr Yar’Adua’s health. The president’s absence has generated a lot of concern. A rally was called for Tuesday, mainly to protest over his absence. There are three different court cases underway calling for power to be transferred to the Vice-President, Goodluck Jonathan. Mr Yar’Adua is also known to have kidney problems.
Speaking by telephone, Mr Yar’Adua said he was making a good recovery..
“At the moment I am undergoing treatment, and I’m getting better from the treatment. I hope that very soon there will be tremendous progress, which will allow me to get back home,” he said.
“I wish, at this stage, to thank all Nigerians for their prayers for my good health, and for their prayers for the nation.”
Rumours had been rife that he was critically ill and unable to return to the presidency.
Under the banner Enough Is Enough, an organisation called the Save Nigeria Group called people onto the streets of the capital, Abuja.
There is a perceived danger of a power vacuum in a country which only saw the back of military rule just over 10 years ago.
The opposition plan is to march to the national assembly where senators are expected to be discussing the president’s health.
Prominent opposition politicians and lawyers, Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka and the Biafran secessionist leader, Chief Emeka Ojukwu, were expected at the rally.
Nigerians may be worried about their absent president but whether their action will be strong enough to make any difference is yet to be seen.
It would be recalled that rumours were rife in the country last Monday that President Yar’Adua was dead. Special Adviser to the president on media and publicity, Olusegun Adeniyi had in reaction to the rumour asked the public to discountenance the story, insisting that the president was not only alive but very conscious and getting better.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Senate has resolved to invite the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) to brief the distinguished house on the state of health of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
The resolution came on the heels of the adoption of a motion sponsored by Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu and 33 other senators expressing worry over the wide spread anxiety following the long absence of Mr. President.
Though Sen. Garba Lado (PDP-Katsina) made an attempt to stop the Senate from discussing the issue raising order 3 (5) of the Senate standing rules to the effect that the Senate could not discuss the issue because the matter was in court, he was over ruled by the Senate President after many Senators rejected his line of view on the note that the motion was just a harmless one.
According to Sen Chukwumerije“All we are doing is finding out the true state of health of the President”.
Presenting the motion, Senator Ekweremmadu noted that the President had been out of the country for about seven weeks on ground of ill health.
“While the Senate was on the Christmas and New Year recess, the anxiety of Nigerians over the absence of the President assumed worrisome dimensions as expressed in several media across the country.
“Worried that in the midst of all these there is no authoritative and authentic information on the true state of affairs regarding the health of the President,” he said.
The Deputy Senate President also expressed concern that since his long absence, there had been no formal communication to the National Assembly pursuant to Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution which would empower the Vice President to act and perform the functions of the President.
He therefore commended the Vice President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, GCON on his effort to carry on the affairs of the country in the absence of the President.
He continued“Whilst conceding that the President is entitled to attend to his health no matter how long that may take, we note that there is need for the Senate to be certain of the true state of affairs to enable her take appropriate action as the entire country now looks up to it for direction,”
Senators who contributed to the debate noted that every Nigerian had a right to know the health condition of the President.
They called for the amendment to Section 145 of the constitution which made it optional for the President to transmit a letter to the National Assembly on his absence.
Sen. Joy Emodi recommended that the ongoing constitutional amendment shall look seriously into amending Section 145 of the constitution.
Th senate however did not buy the prayers of the sponsors of the motion asking the senate to send a delegation to Saudi Arabia to ascertain the situation and report back to it within one week.
Sen. Nuhu Aliyu (PDP-Niger) said that the President should speak to Nigerians through a local media to allay their fears.
His words“My fear is that even if we send senators to Saudi Arabia, how are we sure that they are going to see him?.
“Let FEC that has the constitutional power to look into the health of the President go and see him,” .
Briefing Senate correspondents, Chairman, Senate Committee on Information and Media, Sen. Ayogu Eze, berated the NTA for failure to grant a live coverage to the Senate debate on the President’s health adding that the Senate would conduct an investigation into what happened, adding that it was done in bad taste.
At the House of representatives a similar motion was debated and the Federal Executive Council was urged to formally communicate the House on the Situation to enable the house take necessary actions.
Nneka Amaechi- Nnadi, Abuja
RSG Debunks Rumours That Late LG Chairman’s Body Has Been Exhumed
One Year Anniversary: Governor Wike Sues For Unity
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has called on Rivers people no matter their political affiliation to join hands with his administration to build a stable and vibrant economy.
In a state-wide broadcast to mark the first year of his second term in office today, Governor Wike noted that the state can overcome the present global economic situation if citizens come together in unity of thought and purpose.
“Yes, we can if we resolve to downplay our individual differences and work together for the common good of our heritage, our lovely State, our communities and our people. As a government, we welcome constructive criticisms devoid of politics and mischief, because they serve to make us better performers.
“This is a time for governance, not politics, and we welcome everyone on board to create an environment that promotes balanced economic growth, thriving private investments, boundless opportunity and a State we can truly call our pride and heritage.
“For us, nothing matters more than Rivers State, our people, our interests, our treasures, our enormous resources and assets, our accomplishments and our greatness,” he stated.
The Governor pointed out that within the last one year, his administration had embarked on urban renewal programme in the State capital and the construction of the multi-billion naira three flyover projects at Rebisi, Okoro-nu-Odo and Rumuogba.
He said that the dualization of Kira- Sapkenwa-Bori-Kono Road straddling three local government areas in Ogoni heartland has reached 92 percent completion.
The Oyibo(Mbano camp) road to Iriebe linking Oyigbo and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas had been completed while Alesa-Agbonchia-Oyigbo, Rumuakunde/Isiodu and the second phase of Isiokpo community Roads had also been completed.
Rumuji-Ibaa-Isiokpo, Omoku-Egbema, Odufor-Akpoku-Umuoye, Ula Ehuda-Odioku-Anwunugboko-Ubeta-Ihuechi-Odiereke, Umueze-Umuogba-Umuokpurukpu-Umueke-Umunju-Umuelechi-Eberi, Eteo-Sime-Nonwa and Abonnema Ring Roads have reached various stages of completion.
In addition, the governor said, work has commenced on the expansion of the entire stretch of Ikwerre Road from Education Bus Stop to the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa.
According to him, the long abandoned roads to the coastal communities of Opobo and Andoni in Opobo/Nkoro and Andoni Local Government Areas has almost been delivered with appreciable work already done on the Ogoni-Andoni-Opobo Unity Road.
On healthcare delivery, the governor said the Mother and Child Hospital has been furnished, equipped and only undergoing necessary testing and preparations for commissioning.
The Braithwaite Memorial Hospital, he said, has been fully equipped and converted to the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH) leading to the accreditation of the programmes of that facility for the training of medical students by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria.
Governor Wike stated that the regional referral hospitals in Degema, Bori and Degema are presently being equipped while structural work is on-going on the ones located in Omoku and Etche.
The State Chief Executive pointed out that funds had been released for comprehensive upgrade of Enitonnia High School, Comprehensive Secondary School, Borikiri, Obama High School, Degema, Community Secondary School, Tombia, Community Secondary School, Omuanwa in Ikwerre Local Government Area and Kalabari National College, Buguma.
Others include, Community Secondary School, Kugbo in Abua/Odual Local Government, Community Secondary School, Obeakpu in Oyigbo Local Government and Community Secondary School, Eteo in Eleme Local Government Area.
On Real Madrid Academy, Governor Wike announced that the construction of students’ hostels is progressing and that the school would soon open for simultaneous football and related training programmes.
He said in line with the promise to refocus on agricultural development, the Datco Cassava Processing Plant with a guaranteed off-market opportunities for 3000 local cassava farmers would soon be completed to stimulate cassava revolution in the state.
The governor regretted that despite the advisories and regulations on social distancing and compulsory wearing of face masks, most residents are flouting the directives to the collective peril of all.
“These are all irresponsible and risky behaviour in the face of the invisible and ravaging pandemic and the enormous threat it poses to public health and the safety of human lives.
“We shall bring the full weight of the law to bear on every recalcitrant person, business or institution, irrespective of status who decides to treat the existing orders and regulations for mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in our State with contempt.
“Government may be forced to reinstate lockdown if members of the public continue to flout and disregard the established regulations on social distancing and the compulsory wearing of face masks,” he said.
Governor Wike however, commiserated with the families of those that lost their loved ones to the pandemic and prayed for the peaceful repose of their innocent souls.
He said that while we pray for the quick success, for the global search, for vaccines, the responsibility still rests on everyone to strictly comply with the established mitigating measures.
A Statewide Broadcast By His Excellency Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, CON, GSSRS, POS, To Mark The First Year Of His Second Term In Office …My Dear Good People of Rivers State
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