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07.01.2010 Nigeria

PDP Governors rally behind Vice President

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Governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday paid a solidarity visit to Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan and urged him to “continue with the work that he is doing”.

The governors said they were solidly behind him.
There was no communiqué at the end of the meeting with Jonathan and none of the governors was ready to speak on record.

But the meeting with the vice-president came after the governors had met from Tuesday night into the early hours of yesterday to discuss national issues chief among them the health problem of President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua.

The PDP governors led by the Chairman of the Governor's Forum and Kwara State Governor Bukola Saraki arrived Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja around 9.30am and immediately went into the meeting with the vice-president.

THISDAY learnt that the governors expressed fears of a possible constitutional breach if the leaders did not act fast to assuage Nigerians' feelings over the absence of President Yar'Adua.
However, the governors assured the vice-president that they were solidly behind him in the work that he is doing.

It was not clear if they meant Jonathan's work as vice-president or that he should be made to act as president.

One of the governors who pleaded not to be mentioned said: “Most of us at the meeting expressed fears of a possible constitutional breach unless we act fast to address this matter according to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It was because of this that we agreed to meet the vice-president to assure him of our solidarity to him.

“We equally urge him to continue with his work as we are behind the work he is doing.”

But another governor categorically explained that what they meant was that Jonathan “should continue his work as vice-president which he has been doing well”.

The views of the PDP governors at the meeting with Jonathan were said to have been articulated by Saraki, Bauchi State Governor Isa Yuguda, his Ekiti and Osun States counterparts, Segun Oni and Olagunsoye Oyinlola.

“We equally informed the vice-president that President Yar'Adua has spoken with Governor Saraki and Governor Danjuma Goje of Gombe. And we told him to continue with his job and ignore all mischief makers,” said one of the governors.

Meanwhile, the Action Congress (AC) has called on President Yar'Adua to speak to Nigerians to assure them that all is well with him.
AC expressed delight at the news that President Yar'Adua's health has improved so much that he could talk on the phone with some key government officials and top lawmakers.

In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary Lai Mohammed, the party, however, said the President should go a step further by talking to Nigerians, whom, it said, would like to hear directly from him to assure them that he is indeed recovering.

AC said: “It is good that President Yar'Adua has spoken to Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan, Senate President David Mark and House Speaker Dimeji Bankole. But these people do not constitute Nigeria; they are not the ones who voted him into office. The President must speak directly to the remaining 149,999,997 Nigerians, using the dated video recording format that we suggested in our earlier statement on Monday.

“Alternatively, the President could also do a live phone-in to the NTA or Radio Nigeria to enable him speak directly to his compatriots and convince them of his increasing well-being, instead of the current situation where the people have to depend on confused spin doctors to get an update on the health of their President, who has been away for over 44 days.

“Besides, some of these people the President was said to have spoken with are no longer credible in the eyes of Nigerians, since they have given a lot of inaccurate information on the issue of the President's illness, including that they have been in touch with him when we are aware they have not.”

The party repeated its earlier assertion that the health of the country's first citizen is too important to be toyed with and demanded a daily update on the President's recovery in Saudi Arabia.

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