Prominent Nigerians urges president to resign on health ground

17:12, December 02, 2009      

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Over 50 prominent Nigerians on Tuesday called on President Umaru Yar'Adua to "immediately and unconditionally hand over to Vice-president Goodluck Jonathan to complete the current term of office, local media reported on Wednesday.

The concerned Nigerians said in statement to newsrooms that it was known to every discerning observer that the president's physical condition had had a negative impact on his ability to discharge the functions of the highest office in the nation.

The group of Nigerians from across professions and spanning the six geopolitical zones said they sympathized with the president over his health, but the country needed effective governance.

"We sympathize with him and believe that his health should be given priority attention. At the same time, the need to provide effective governance for this nation of over 150 million people cannot be compromised," the statement said.

"Within the last few months, he has been unable to attend to crucial affairs of the state at home and abroad and whenever he has found time to do so, his judgment appears impaired by his ill-health," it added.

The concerned Nigerians said his health condition had necessitated several medical trips abroad but he had not transmitted to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives a written declaration that he was proceeding on vacation or that he was, otherwise, unable to discharge the functions of his office as required by Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution.

The development came on a day after the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) said in a statement carried by media that Yar'Adua would soon come back from Saudi Arabia, where he is being treated for acute pericarditis, an inflammatory condition of the coverings of the heart.

"Reports reaching us have it that the president is improving steadily and will soon returned to continue the good work he is doing," Rufai Alkali, the party's national publicity secretary, said in a statement.

He frowned on calls by some people on the president to either resign or be forced out by the members of the National Assembly.

The PDP, which also blamed opposition parties for what it called the tension being generated over the president's medical treatment abroad, wondered why they had failed to pray for him.

"The Peoples Democratic Party has observed with amazement the hype and tension being deliberately generated by so-called members of opposition parties over the medical check-up currently being undertaken by the president, Umaru Yar'Adua in a Saudi hospital," the statement said.

"We consider it particularly shocking that some Nigerians have chosen to over-sensationalize the situation and magnify it out of proportion in order to satisfy their selfish prejudices," it added.

"We pray for the safe return of the president and pray that the Almighty God touches the hearts of those peddling these rumors to repent from their evil ways," the party said.

Source: Xinhua
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