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CLERICS HAVE NO CONSTITUTIONAL ROLE IN YAR'ADUA'S HEALTH —GBAJABIAMILA

By NBF NEWS
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The controversial visits by Christian and Muslim leaders to ailing President Umaru Yar'Adua attracted more reactions on Thursday.

The Minority Whip of the House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, queried the visits, saying that under the 1999 Constitution, religious leaders had no role in deciding the health status of the President.

The lawmaker, who is also the Leader of the Action Congress Caucus in the House, argued that one million visits and prayer sessions by religious leaders would not answer the question as to whether Yar'Adua was still capable of performing his duties as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Speaking with journalists in Abuja , Gbajabiamila said that some of the religious leaders were putting their reputation on the line by allowing themselves to be used by certain forces to confuse Nigerians.

He suggested that the solution to 'all this drama' was for the Federal Executive Council to invoke Section 144 of the constitution and ultimately declare Yar'Adua incapacitated.

Gbajabiamila added, 'The constitution is very clear on the issue of the health status of Mr. President; on who should decide whether he is capable or incapable of functioning in office.

'There is no role defined for clerics in our laws; it is only medical experts who can tell Nigerians after the due process of the constitution is followed, whether he is incapacitated or not.

'It is not the duty of clerics; let the FEC do what it is expected to do in this circumstance as provided in Section 144 of the constitution.

'The only benefit we can gain from the visits of the clerics is merely to inform us that yes, they visited the President and he is recovering, but it still does not confirm that he is capable of performing his duties.'

The minority whip noted that a president normally had a strenuous schedule; hence his duties could not be performed by a 'half-fit' man.

According to him, 'He is working 24 hours; a president hardly has time to rest; he has projects to commission, files to treat, meetings to attend and all that.

'So, the question is, if our clerics say they prayed with him to create the impression that he is recovering, does that tell us that he is fit and capable of functioning as the president?', he added.