First Council of State meeting holds after twelve months, as OBJ, Buhari stay away

By The Citizen

The first Council of state meeting in twelve months is presently holding at the presidential Villa, Abuja as the duo of former Presidents Olusegun Obasano and Gen. Mohammadu Buhari were conspicuously absent.

Also absent at the commencement of the meeting were  Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), Adams Oshiomole (Edo), Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (Kano) and Isiaka Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo) ‎

The meeting which started at about 10:45 a.m. had in attendance former presidents Yakubu Gowon,Shehu Shagari, Ibrahim Babangida, Ernest Shonekan and Abdulsalam Abaubakar.

Former chief Justices of the federation such as Mohammed Lawal Uwais, Idris Kutigi, Alpha Belgore and Dahiru Musdapher were all in attendance.

Also present were the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, David Mark and Aminu Tambuwal respectively. Governors present at the meeting are those of Osun, and Kaduna, Lagos Ebonyi, Enugu, Cross River, Imo, Sokoto, Gombe, Cross River, Niger, Jigawa, Ekiti, Kaduna, Taraba, Jigawa, Ogun, Niger, Akwa Ibom, Ondo, Nasarawa, Kano deputy governor, among others.

Among early arrivals were the governor of Jigawa state, Sule Lamido, Sokoto state Aliyu Magatakarda Wamako, Peter Obi of Anambra.

‎The National Council of State is chaired by President Goodluck Jonathan and has Vice-President Namadi Sambo as its  deputy chairman.

Other council members are ‎all former presidents and Heads of Government, all former Chief Justices of Nigeria; President of the Senate; Speaker of the House of Representatives; all the 36 state governors and the Attorney-General of the Federation.

Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, former military dictators, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (retd.)  and Maj.- Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had been staying away from  the meetings.

Some of the  governors have been reported to have expressed their unhappiness with the  failure  of the President to convene a meeting of the council to address some pressing national issues.

The last time the meeting was held was on March 12, 2013 when a former Bayelsa State Governor, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, and some other former state officials were granted pardon.

It was gathered that the meeting will focus on issues bordering on the planned national conference and the 2015 elections.

Highlights of the programme for the celebration of the nation's 100 years of amalgamation will also be discussed.

The council has the constitutional duties of advising the President in the exercise of his powers with respect to national census, prerogative of mercy, award of national honours, the Independent National Electoral Commission, the National Judicial Council  and the National Population Commission.

It also has the responsibility of advising the President whenever requested to do so, on the maintenance of public order within the federation or any part thereof.