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OUR MARCH 3 ULTIMATUM ON SECTION 144 STANDS – BAKARE

Maverick preacher and convener of the Save Nigeria Group (SNG), Pastor Tunde Bakare has reminded the Federal Executive Council (FEC), to consider invocation of Section 144 of the Nigerian Constitution on the matter concerning President Yar'Adua's health latest by Wednesday, March 3, 2010.

Bakare in a live broadcast on the state of the nation yesterday at the Latter Rain Assembly, Lagos, said if the right things were not done by March 3, his group would announce the next line of action, warning that it would be dangerous to hold the nation to ransom.

While giving an insight into what was expected of the FEC, the SNG boss stated that now that President Yar'Adua was within reach, it would be easier for a medical team to examine his state of health and advise all the stakeholders accordingly, so that a dying man would not be forced on the living.

Part of the live broadcast titled, Biblical answers to our national dilemma read in part: 'To avert national chaos, disaster and disintegration, let the Federal Executive Council of the Federation set up a medical panel pursuant to Section 144 of the 1999 Constitution to determine the capacity or otherwise of the President due to his grave illness now that he is within reach.

'If the medical panel establishes that he is alive and is able to continue in the office of the President, then let Dr. Goodluck Jonathan continue to preside over the affairs of the nation as the Acting President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces until the President fully recovers and is able mentally and otherwise to resume his statutory duties.

'However, if the President is deemed incapable of continuing to run the affairs of the state, by the medical panel, let us be courageous and noble enough to do the needful by swearing-in the Acting President as substantive President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces alongside a new vice president so that our nation can move forward.

'This we must do as a matter of urgency and without further delay in the interest of peace, justice, fair play and national progress.' The preacher cum activist, therefore, stated that 'if there is any lesson we should learn from this present dilemma to avert a re-occurrence in the future, is that no man or woman should be elected into any political or executive office in our clime without first estabilishing their mental and physical fitness to all other measures already established for the purpose of screening public servants in any sphere of public office.'

Bakare, who quoted copiously from the Holy Bible that even God establishes that people with defects should not serve in the priesthood, asserted that no serious corporation would employ people without first subjecting them to medical screening. 'Our public offices deserve no less.'

According to him, that was not necessarily discriminatory but that God knows the strength and vitality required for the office of the priest, saying 'how much more that of the number one citizen and allied offices of our nation.'

The SNG convener, therefore, emphasised that 'time has come for the best, the brightest and the fittest of us to mount the saddle of leadership of our nation regardless of where they are from – east, west, north or south.'

The cleric, however, warned that no military incursion would be welcomed saying military intervention is an ill-wind that would blow nobody any good.

While expressing belief from what he gathered from the media about how President Yar'Adua was brought back to the country, Bakare was of the view that the President was not medically sound, wondering why he should be subjected to such torture instead of taking him to Katsina for a deserved rest and recuperation.

Against that background, the cleric suspected foul play in the purported signing of the 2009 supplementary budget, saying at the appropriate time, nemesis would catch up with the culprits.

'At the appropriate time, we will find out who signed the budget and whose authority soldiers were brought to the street of Abuja on that glorious night the sick President was smuggled back into the country without the knowledge of the Acting President. (And) whoever did so outside of the President or Acting President acted illegally,' Bakare submitted.

He, however, urged his congregation, to keep on praying fervently for the President to recover quickly as well as for the country to be guided to the right ditrection. Present at the event were the Chairman, Afenifere Re-newal Group (ARG), Hon. Wale Oshun, the ARG National publicity secretary, Mr. Yinka Odumakin and the President of the Campaign for Democracy (CD), Dr. Joe Odumakin, among other human rights activists.