Following Nigerian President, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s, death on Wednesday night at the age of 58, after a protracted illness, the Federal Government, yesterday, announced seven days of national mourning and declared one-day public holiday.
The late president was laid to rest in his family home in Kastina State. Acting president Goodluck Jonathan has been sworn in as president.
In accordance with the Nigerian constitution, the acting president Goodluck Jonathan was, Thursday, sworn in as president and Commander-in Chief of Nigerian Armed Forces at the council chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloysius Katsina Alu at 9.20am.
The wife of the Acting President, Dame Patience Jonathan and Governors of Kwara, Bukola Saraki, Ogun, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Nasarawa, Aliyu Akwe-Doma, Zamfara, Aliyu Shinkafi, Enugu, Sullivan Chime, Benue, Gabriel Suswam, Imo, Ikedi Ohakim and Oyo, Alao Akala witnessed the swearing-in ceremony.
Also at the ceremony were the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Dimeji Bankole, members of the National Assembly, Service Chiefs, as well as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed.
Ministers, the Inspector-General of Police Ogbonna Onovo, PDP Chairman, Vincent Ogbulafor and members of the Diplomatic Corps were also in attendance.
Yar’Adua died from a protracted heart disease called acute pericarditis, the inflammation of the outer layer of the heart.
Yar’Adua came to power in 2007 elections which he himself acknowledged were flawed. The country’s Supreme Court finally ruled in December 2008 that he could stay in office, dismissing objections lodged by rival candidates. This meant Yar’Adua became the first civilian leader in Nigeria to take over from another.
Even before he was elected, there were doubts about whether Yar’Adua had the physical strength to reform the most populous country in Africa.
His health problems that dated to the late 1990s when he was governor of his native Katsina state forced him to travel to a German hospital on several occasions.
However, Nigerian Nobel prize winner, Wole Soyinka, regretted that politicians handled Yar’Adua’s illness in a disgraceful way.
“My feeling is one of resentment for those who used him as a mere instrument for their diabolical political gains,” he said. “Yar’Adua should have been released from office ages ago to pay full attention to his health, but people who knew how ill he was refused to take the necessary steps towards preserving him in his last days as a human being. He was just used and I found it most disgusting.”
American President Barack Obama said Yar’Adua would be remembered for his personal decency and integrity, his deep commitment to public service, and his passionate belief in the vast potential and bright future of Nigeria’s 150 million people.
Indications that the ailing president may go the way of all mortals emerged last Thursday as he failed to turn up at the mandatory Friday prayers, despite an invitation by leading Islamic preachers.
Meanwhile, tears and tributes have continued to trail Yar’Adua’s demise, Acting President Goodluck Jonathan said he received news of the passage of President Umaru Yar’Adua with great shock and sadness.
“Nigeria has lost the jewel on its crown, and even the heavens mourn with our nation tonight,” he said yesterday in Abuja.
In a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Ima Niboro, Jonathan described the death of the President as sad, unfortunate and regrettable.
“As individuals and as a nation, we prayed for the recovery of Mr President. “But we take solace in the fact that the Almighty is the giver and taker of all life,” he said.
The statement quoted the acting President as offering heartfelt condolences to President Yar’Adua’s widow, Hajiya Turai Yar’Adua, the entire Yar’Adua family, the people of Katsina State and Nigerians both at home and the world over.
In his tribute, the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Prince Vincent Ogbulafor expressed deep regret, sorrow and sadness over the demise of this great son of Africa”, adding “ one of the most glorious chapter in the history of Nigeria has suddenly drawn to a close”.
In their reaction, the All Nigeria People Party (ANPP) and the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) applauded Yar’Adua’s insistence on the rule of law, transparency and accountability in governance.
Alhaji Balarabe Musa, CNPP National Chairman ,who is also the leader of PRP, said in Kaduna that “Nigeria has lost a leader who tried to entrench rule of law and electoral reforms”.
He advised President Jonathan to continue with the good works of his predecessor toward strengthening the institutions of government and restore people’s hope in the polity.
Meanwhile, APGA condoled with Nigerians over the death of President Umaru Yar’Adua, describing it as a great loss
The National Secretary of APGA, Alhaji Sani Shinkafi, said that the party received the news of Yar’ Adua’s death with “great shock’’.
He urged the new President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan to rise to the challenges of moving the nation forward.
In his reaction, the National Publicity Secretary of the Action Congress, Mr Lai Mohammed, commended the swearing in of President Goodluck Jonathan to succeed Yar Adua, describing it as ‘’a smooth transition’’
‘’ We are glad that there has been a smooth transition as the acting president has been sworn in in line with the constitution. This has shown that Nigeria has towed the path of constitutionalism.’’
Mohammed described the late Yar’Adua as a straightforward and candid personality who shocked members of his party by his admission that the electoral process which brought him into office was flawed.
Meanwhile, Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has expressed sadness over the death of President Umaru Yar’Adua.
Obasanjo said: “I received the news of Yar’Adua’s death with heartfelt sorrow. “Our prayer is that God grants him repose and condole his family.’’
The former President spoke during a stop-over on his way to Beijing.
In his reaction, former military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, said that Yar’Ádua was great in death, just as he was graceful in his life time.
In a statement issued by his spokesman, Mr Kassim Afegbua, Babangida said that Yar’Adua battled death like a valiant man, adding, “he represented our daily struggle in life’s bramble forest.’’
Babangida said: “It is pathetic and utterly painful; every death brings with it tears and pain and sorrow of grief and discomfiture.
Also speaking, Senate President David Mark described the death of Yar’Adua as a monumental loss to the nation.
A statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, quoted Mark as saying that Yar’Adua left a legacy of selfless service that would be difficult to rival.
Victor Tew, Canice Amadi (Enugu), Friday Nwagbara (Calabar) with Agency reports
Insecurity In Nigeria, Alarming, Wike Alerts …Suspends JAAC Accounts From Defaulting Banks
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, says insecurity in Nigeria has reached an alarming proportion.
He has therefore called on security agencies to redouble their efforts in curbing it.
Governor Wike expressed the concern yesterday when the new General Officer Commanding 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Olu Irefin paid him a courtesy visit at Government House, Port Harcourt.
He noted that the prevalence of insecurity in every State of the Federation seems to overwhelm the military.
Governor Wike stated that the situation is different in Rivers State because of the robust collaboration between his administration and the security agencies.
“Our determination is to keep the State safe but development also attracts criminality, so we can’t say we are totally free.
“There are still pockets of criminal elements. So, as a professional whose role is to defend the territorial integrity of the country, fight crime and do not involve in politics.
“We are willing to collaborate with you as a government because security is important for us. Just let us know what you require to succeed in the fight against criminality.
“That way, we will be partners in progress and make the State safe for all residents,” he stated.
Earlier, the General Officer Commanding 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General OluIrefin commended Governor Wike for his developmental strides.
He said on assumption of duties, his commanders told him that they have enjoyed tremendous support from the state government in the discharge of duties.
He pledged to sustain the existing collaboration in protecting lives and property in the State
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has directed the removal of Joint Account Allocation Committee (JAAC) from banks that gave unauthorised loans to some Local Government Chairmen in the State.
Governor Wike gave the directive on Wednesday, while swearing in the substantive Chairman of the Asari-Toru Local Government Area at Government House, Port Harcourt .
He directed the State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice to take legal action against the defaulting Banks.
Governor Wike said both the Banks and the Councils that defaulted would suffer the consequences of the illegality.
He noted that the Banks cannot seek refund of the loans because they contravened extant Laws of the State.
“We have taken a decision that for all those loans taken without approval, the affected accounts must leave the defaulting banks.
“I have told the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice to take necessary steps. The Banks cannot go and seek for refund from the Local Governments. When you default the Law, you suffer for it.
“Council Chairmen who want to take loans from banks must get official approval. You cannot take loans that will mortgage the future of the people”, he stated.
Governor Wike charged Mrs. AlasoJohnbull Obi to use her new position to make a difference because the people are yet to feel the impact of the Council.
“Go and put your local government together. Do not allow busy body politicians to distract you. Use this opportunity you have to make a difference.
“We never thought that Chief Odiari Princewill will die but as God will have it, he is dead and we have to abide by the constitution.
“That is why you, as the deputy, has to step in as the substantive chairman of Asari-Toru local Government Area today.
“In choosing your Deputy, you must consult widely with all the stakeholders of the Party. As election is coming up next year, you have an opportunity to sell yourself,” he added.
Until her swearing in, Mrs. AlasoJohnbul-Obi was the Vice Chairman of the Council but the death of the elected chairman, Chief Odiari Princewill on the 27th May, 2020 created a vacuum that needed to be filled.
SSANU, NASU Threaten Strike Over Unresolved Issues
The Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) said they would proceed on strike over unresolved issues with the Federal Government immediately the universities reopen.
Mr Samson Ugwoke, the Chairman, Joint Action Committee (JAC) of both unions said this while addressing newsmen on the resolutions reached by the unions yesterday in Abuja.
The resolutions were signed by the SSANU National President, Mr Samson Ugwoke, and the General Secretary of NASU, Mr Peters Adeyemi.
The unions’ grievances included the lingering Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) debacle, nonpayment of arrears of earned allowance and minimum wage. Others are the alleged lack of seriousness by the Babalakin Committee renegotiating the 2009 FG/NASU, SSANU agreements, neglect and poor funding of state universities, absence of visitation panels, among others.
According to Ugwoke, long after many other sectors had been paid the arrears of the national minimum wage and consequential adjustment, university workers are yet to be paid. “We find this development totally unwholesome and very unhealthy.
“Given the time lag of over a year since it was implemented in other sectors, members of the public would agree that we have been patient enough in the university system,” he said.
He pointed out that in spite of the series of letters by the unions to the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) Office since February, their members were still confronted with many challenges, including salary payment. Ugwuoke also said that their members, whose monthly salaries were being paid in the second week of the following month in the past seven months, were suffering as a result of the difficulties posed by IPPIS.
He argued that as responsible unions, they had avoided the planned action, adding that the unhealthy situation had made it inevitable.
Ugwoke said: “We have again cried out to the general public with a view to inviting stakeholders and well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on the government to correct the anomaly of IPPIS. “Pay us the arrears of both earned allowances and minimum wage, among others.”
He warned that the unions would have no option than to embark on strike effective from when universities would reopen after the COVID-19 lockdown.
FG’S Reviewed Broadcast Code, Draconian – PDP …Says New Code Aimed At Muzzling Media, Concealing Corruption, Abacha Loot
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has rejected the reviewed broadcast code, describing it as another draconian measure to muzzle the media and suppress free speech in Nigeria.
The party said the All Progressives Congress, APC and its government adopted the reviewed code with its N5 million fine “to intimidate the media and gag whistle blowers from further exposing the humongous corruption, abuse of office, violation of human rights as well as officials’ betrayal of trust and abuse of office in the Buhari administration.”
In a statement issued by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP said the reviewed code is a grand plot “to suppress and muzzle Nigerians and the media from publicly opposing plots by the APC to mortgage the sovereignty of our dear nation to foreign interests as being witnessed in the anti-Nigeria clauses in the loan agreements with China.”
The statement read: “The APC has been jittery over the stench of monumental corruption oozing out from its government as well as its anti-Nigeria activities, and now seeks to suppress public opinion and media reportage of their atrocities against our nation.
“The PDP invites Nigerians to note that the APC administration rushed to review the broadcast codes and introduced draconian clauses at the height of public revelations and media reportage of its corruption and plots to mortgage our nation’s sovereignty to China. The reviewed broadcast code therefore validates the stance by Nigerians that covering of corruption and the scheme to mortgage the sovereignty of our nation are official policies of the APC which has not denied that it is the headquarters of corruption.
“Our party however, wishes to inform the APC and its administration that the provisions of the 1999 Constitution and other laws guiding media practice, which guarantees a free press and freedom of opinion by Nigerians are clear and that no matter how much the truth is suppressed, it must always come to light.
“Moreover, the APC must know that we are in a democracy and that Nigerians cannot be suppressed from exercising their rights of speaking out in the face of injustice, corruption, abuse of trust in the APC administration, which President Buhari had also admitted.
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