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DON'T SECTIONALIZE CRISIS, AC WARNS

By DANIEL ALABRAH, The Hague



Lai Mohammed

The Action Congress (AC) has warned individuals and groups against sectionalizing or trivializing the leadership crisis currently facing Nigeria, saying the issues arising from the crisis are national issues which must be resolved through constitutional means.

In a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said all concerned must bear in mind the fact that Acting President Goodluck Jonathan is occupying that position for all Nigerians, not for the South-Southerners, the Ijaws or Christians.

'We therefore strongly advise sectional groups and religious leaders against making statements that can be misconstrued as playing the sectional/tribal/religious card, and avoid the situation that occurred over the June 12th 1993 presidential election which was almost turned into a south west issue,'' it said.

AC said as things stand, there are two scenarios facing the nation: ''The first is the possibility that President Umaru Yar'Adua is unconscious and does not know what is going on around him, in which case he has become incapacitated. While no one can blame him (on the condition that he is incapacitated) for the missteps of the cabal holding him hostage, Section 144 of the Constitution must in that case be invoked.

'The second scenario, which is highly unlikely, is that President Yar'Adua is fully conscious and aware of the confusion in the polity, caused by his ailment. This will constitute gross misconduct and he should therefore be impeached in line with Section 143 of the Constitution.

'In both scenarios, it is up to the Federal Executive Council and the National Assembly to seize the moment. They must begin to work towards a post-Yar'Adua era and take actions that will ensure the peace and stability of our nation, which is greater than any individual.

'We need to state that at this stage, things have gone way beyond Section 145. It is either Yar'Adua resigns, which is the honourable thing to do under the circumstances; he is removed on the basis of incapacitation or he is impeached for gross misconduct. If he is still conscious, we will prefer the resignation option, because we don't want him humiliated out of office,'' the party said.

Meanwhile, the AC has queried the source of the statements that have been issued by presidential spokesman Segun Adeniyi, wondering who indeed is giving orders to him.

'If Adeniyi is speaking for the President, has he seen his boss since he returned to Nigeria? If he has not seen his boss, has he (Adeniyi) communicated with him (Yar'Adua) on phone or by e-mail since his arrival? If not, what is the source of the statements he has been issuing in the name of the President? Who asked Adeniyi to refer to the Acting President as Vice President? And who asked him to eventually retract that part of his statement?'' the party queried.

AC also re-issued its earlier poser, asking who ordered the deployment of troops for Yar'Adua's return without the knowledge of the Acting President and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces.