President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua yesterday called key government officials, including Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan, on phone and spoke with them on key national issues, his Chief Economic Adviser, Mallam Tanimu Yakubu, informed THISDAY last night.Of paramount importance to him now, according to Yakubu, is the passage of the anti-terrorism bill which Yar’Adua forwarded to the National Assembly in October 2009.
The importance of the bill now is obviously highlighted by the recent alleged attempt by a Nigerian, Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab, to bomb an American airliner.
This incident has led to the blacklisting of Nigeria by the US authorities as a “country of interest” in its global war against terrorism.
“In my discussion with him,” Yakubu told THISDAY, “he directed me to get the Attorney-General to intensify lobby for the passage of the anti-terrorism bill by the National Assembly which the President forwarded to the Senate and the Federal House of Representatives early October. He said that he would like it to be the first bill he assents to on his return to Nigeria .”
Yakubu was not specific on the date the President would return, but he was obviously excited to inform the newspaper that the President’s health has improved considerably since he left Nigeria on November 23, 2009, to attend to his health in Saudi Arabia .
“The President’s health condition has substantially improved. In the last week, I have spoken to him on telephone countless number of times. Our conversations every time lasted more than five minutes. Mr. President also told me that he spoke to Vice President Goodluck Jonathan twice in the last five days,” he said.
He also confirmed reports circulating last night that the President had spoken with Senate President David Mark and House Speaker Dimeji Bankole on the phone.
“I also spoke to the President this evening after he had spoken to these leaders who have continuously held the forte for him,” Yakubu added.
Meanwhile, the governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday met in Abuja to discuss national issues, specifically the health of the President amidst pressure by human rights activists and lawyers that the true health status of the President should be made public and his position declared vacant.
The governor of Kwara State, Dr. Bukola Saraki, told reporters at the end of the meeting early this morning that the governors were very satisfied with reports on the health of the President and would stand by the application of the constitution in all circumstances.
The governors will meet with the Vice-President this morning at the Presidential Villa to discuss the outcome of their meeting.