Mark declares 9-day prayers for Yar’Adua

RELIABLE sources in Saudi Arabia, yesterday, told Vanguard that the President, Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua was in stable condition, even as the Senate President, Chief David Mark, called on Nigerians to pray for nine consecutive days for the quick recovery of the President.

Meantime, the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, stressed that it was contemplating any plan to force any office holder to resign his office.
The Senate President who urged the people to shun the unfounded rumours on the President’s health also distanced himself from speculations on a possible North/South dichotomy arising from the implications of the President’s ill health.

Vanguard sources in Saudi Arabia who described the President’s condition as stable added that it is a ‘no leave, no surrender’ situation.

Mark who said he spoke with members of the presidential entourage in Saudi Arabia said that he had been told by the team that the President was in good shape.

The Senate President spoke during a session with members of the St. Mulumba (Apo Mansion) Chapel, Apo quarters, Abuja.

He said in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr. Kola Ologbondinyan that “Since the President left for Saudi Arabia for medical check up, the organs of government have remained intact and functional. But in spite of this, some Nigerians have resorted to all kinds of rumours that can neither strengthen our development processes nor guarantee our much-sought reforms. I urge you to ignore these rumour mongers as they do not mean well for our country and her people.”

He noted that this is a sober moment when all Nigerians should engage in prayers for Mr. President, urging members of the Apo Chaplaincy to embark on a Novena prayer for the quick recovery of the President.

Novena prayer is a Roman Catholic prayer said over nine consecutive days.

“It is incredulous for any man to wish his fellow brother dead. It is also not in our culture as Africans to engage in such idle talks over the lives of others”, he further said.

He noted that “the decision of President Yar’Adua to make his health status public is borne out of patriotism and transparency”, adding that, “he is therefore deserving of commendation as well as the prayers of all well-meaning Nigerians.

“I believe that the President means well for this nation and our polity. He has demonstrated this in words and in action. I therefore find it indecorous for certain Nigerians to engage in speculative diagnosis over the President’s prevailing state of health.
“All these are the handiwork of mischief-makers and I urge them to desist from such nefarious activities,” he stressed.
Senator Mark also urged all Nigerians to “ignore these architects of division and phantom speculations. We should concentrate on those things that can further strengthen our democracy and uplift the standard of life of the ordinary man”, he submitted.

No plan to force VP’s resignation — PDP

On its part, the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday urged those it described as creating an illusionary vacancy in the Presidency to calm down. It also said it was not contemplating any plan to force any office holder to resign his office.

According to the party, rather than the opposition to engage in widespread rumour of plans to force any elected officer to resign, they should be patriotic enough to pray for the peace and stability of the country.

This is coming on the heels of widespread speculations that there are plans to force Vice President Goodluck Jonathan to resign.

The party, in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Professor Rufai Ahmed Alkali, said: “for the avoidance of doubt, the PDP wishes to state categorically that the Party is not in any way involved in, neither is it contemplating any move to persuade or force any office holder to resign his or her office under whatever guise as it is being erroneously insinuated in some sections of the media. There is no basis for such a wicked rumour as the circumstances warranting such a speculation have not arisen.

“We also wish to advise those working themselves into a frenzy on the basis of an illusionary vacancy in the Presidency to calm down and pray for the peace and stability of the country rather than dissipate energy on a wild goose chase.

“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 checkup currently being undertaken by the President, Alhaji Umaru Yar’ Adua in a Saudi Arabia hospital.

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

“Under normal circumstances, even in politics, we owe it a moral duty to each other as human beings to wish our fellow human beings well irrespective of the extent of differences that may exist. Regrettably, recent events in the country have shown that for some Nigerian politicians, this is not so.

“We find it utterly unacceptable that instead of demonstrating selflessness and patriotism in moments like this, some politicians are engaged in creating undue and banal sophistry in the name of an imaginary succession crisis in Nigeria.

“Reports reaching us have it that the President is improving steadily and will soon return to continue the good work he is doing.

“We pray for the safe return of the President and pray that the Almighty God touches the hearts of those peddling these rumours to repent from their evil ways”.