• Nobody can buy Yoruba race –Lamido • It’s Greek gift –IPOB
Ismail Omipidan; Billy Graham Abel; Yola and Geoffry Anyanwu, Awka
Former adviser to former vice president Atiku Abubakar, Umar Ardo, has described the planned conferment of national honours on the late MKO Abiola, Babagana Kingibe and Gani Fawehinmi as illegal.
He vowed to institute a court action to demand compliance with the provisions of the constitution in the award of the said national honours if the government goes ahead with the investiture ceremony without abiding by the due process of law.
“It is important, however, to state that I have absolutely no objection to the president conferring such national honours on the late Chief MKO Abiola and Chief Gani Fawehinmi, and indeed that they richly deserve such awards and much more, but it is only right to do the right thing rightly. My current call and possible court action is solely motivated by the obligation to enforce the rule of law and constitutionalism in the process of governing this country,” Umar Ardo explained.
Citing from the Constitution, he pointed out that President Muhammdu Buhari has no power to confer national honours on anyone without first seeking for and obtaining the approval of the National Council of State.
Ardo, in statement yesterday, said: “Pursuant to the powers of the Council of State in section 6(a)(iii) of Part 1 to the Third Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) to advise the president on the matter of awarding national honours, I call on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately convene a meeting of the National Council of State to deliberate and advise him on his decision to award national honours to the late Chief MKO Abiola, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe and Chief Gani Fawehinmi before performing the planned investiture ceremony on Tuesday. This is simply to comply with due process of law.”
To determine whether the president’s decision to confer the said national awards followed due process of law, Ardo said he telephoned and asked a former president and a serving member of the Council of State whether the issue had at any time been raised in any of the meetings of the Council of State and the advice of the said Council sought and obtained.
“He informed me and I verily believe him, that it was never ever raised nor the advice of the Council ever sought or obtained. Therefore, to go ahead and perform the investiture ceremony as planned is to indulge in flagrant illegality.”
According to him, having campaigned on, sworn-in and is on oath to govern the country in accordance with the provisions of the constitution and due process of law and to defend and protect the said constitution, the president cannot confer national awards on Abiola, Kingibe, Fawehinmi or anyone else without subjecting his decision to the advice of the Council of State as stipulated in the constitution. To do so is a breach not only of the constitution but also of the oath sworn to by the president and that is unacceptable,” he said.
Meanwhile, former National Secretary of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP), the platform that produced late Chief biola as winner of the June 1993 presidential contest, Alhaji Sule Lamido, has cautioned against making political capital out of the June 12 struggle.
This is even as he said the Yoruba race is a unique one that cannot be easily bought over, “with a pot of porridge,” insisting that there was nothing anyone could do to placate the Yoruba race politically, when the issues centre on the late Chief Abiola and former president, Olusegun Obasanjo.
According to him, regardless of what anyone does, the Yoruba race would always remember the role played by the newspaper owned by the late Abiola to “denigrate, demonised and exposed” late chief Obafemi Awolowo. In the same vein, he said the Yoruba race is yet to forgive Obasanjo for not handing over to Awolowo in 1979.
“So when you people say ‘Oh, it would placate the Yoruba,’ I asked how? The Yoruba people are too politically sophisticated to be placated with a pot of porridge or something,” Lamido said.
Speaking in an interview with Daily Sun, Lamido, a former Foreign Affairs minister, described June 12 as a story of high power play, treachery and political civil war.
“Let me however add that, if the government declares him winner of the election, they should pay him all his entitlements, including the N45 billion debts which they owe him. They said the reason they annulled the election was because of the huge debts they owed him,”Lamido said.
However, the Indigenous People of Biafra, yesterday, described President Buhari’s declaration of June 12 as Democracy Day and conferment of highest national honour on Chief Abiola as a Greek gift.
IPOB said the move of Buhari was cynical, insisting that it was not for good that he had to make such pronouncement a few months to the general elections.
The group in a statement by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, urged Nigerians, especially the people of South-West, to view the the president’s pronouncement with circumspection.
IPOB stressed that Buhari’s move was specifically designed to destroy the glowing handshake across the Niger wherein the South-East and South-West geopolitical zones had made “formidable progress” to change the old order of northern oligarchy.
“It’s a cynical move designed to truncate any East/West alliance or understanding with regards to a renegotiated Nigeria before 2019.”
“IPOB is the authentic voice of the people of the East, their next best move is to gain the confidence of the West in order to checkmate the rising influence of those that have come to forge an alliance strong enough to rattle the status quo,” the group said,
IPOB expressed confidence that the people of South-West would be able to “detonate Buhari’s time bomb due to their high level of education.”