SNG MOURNS YAR'ADUA, CALLS FOR TRANSFORMATION

By NBF NEWS
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Yar'Adua's body draped in the nation's national colours at the Katsina Township Stadium shortly before his burial

The Save Nigeria Group on Sunday joined other Nigerians to mourn late President Umaru'Yar'Adua, with a call on President Goodluck Jonathan, to transform the country by restoring the integrity of the ballot box.

The organisation said it was impossible to have good governance without having leaders who are freely elected and accountable to the people

In a statement jointly signed by Mr. Yinka Odumakin and Mr. Salihu Lukman, SNG said Yar'Adua's death had closed a chapter in the history of Nigeria with a deeply hurt country left to mourn a man who, in spite of his debilitating health condition, left his mark in several areas, including, 'His sincerity in admitting that the election that brought him to power was flawed and setting up the Uwais Panel to look into the problem of electoral malpractice in Nigeria. None of his predecessors who emerged in controversial polls ever admitted that the process that produced them was not transparent;

'Making a loud statement about the rule of law when he released all the funds of Lagos State illegally withheld by his predecessor, Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo and his bold move to bring down the tension in the Niger- Delta region under his direct supervision as a man who was committed to the unity, peace and well-being of Nigerians.'

According to the SNG, it is unfortunate that a group of few opportunists took advantage of Yar'Adua's ill-health to hijack power in the country and in the process created deep divisions in the land.

The group said quite a number of illegalities were perpetrated in the late president's name at a time it was doubtful if he was aware of what was going on around him.

'It would be unfair not to give him his place in history because of the wounds inflicted on the souls of Nigerians by those who did not even care about his health. To have taken him through all the pains he suffered in the desperate desire to make him hang on for their sake when it was most uncomfortable for him was the ultimate act of wickedness.

'The Almighty has now released him from the grips of those using him for what he would not have wished done to a country he believed in. It is time to move forward with a firm commitment to build strong institutions that would make it impossible for any group to set the constitution aside and ride roughshod over Nigeria,' the SNG said.

According to the group, it has become important to kick start the process of electoral reform through the total restoration of the integrity of the ballot box.

The SNG noted, 'The shenanigans of the National Assembly on this important issue must be contained. If any group thinks that this country can go through the undue stress of election manipulations again without something giving, it must be joking.'

Also on Sunday the Convener of SNG, Pastor Tunde Bakare, alleged that some people wanted to scuttle a programme of the group last Monday.

Bakare, the Serving Overseer, The Latter Rain Assembly, Lagos, while ministering in his church said the agents attended the groups' meeting in Lagos, and tried to persuade the members to jettison the programme.