The people of South-South region yesterday took strong exception to the sidelining of Acting President Goodluck Jonathan in running the affairs of the country and threatened to break away before issues which bind the country together are subverted by a cabal.
Specifically, the South –South Elders and Leaders Forum at the end of an emergency meeting in Abuja said they were aware of attempts being made on the life of Jonathan “as part of the sinister and heinous agenda of the cabal.”
President Umaru Yar’Adua was flown back to the country from Saudi Arabia Wednesday morning, after spending 93 days to attend to his failing health, with the Acting President shut out of the arrangement to bring him back.
Addressing the press at the end of the meeting attended by 26 leaders from the zone, Dr. Mike Oberabor said the people of the South-South believed in the unity of the country, but would not accept being treated as second class citizens.
“We believe in the oneness and unity of Nigeria. We have fought for it and we trust in it. The Nigerian Constitution is what binds all of us together. If it is subverted, then there is no basis of our continued mutual existence.
“Therefore, the people of the South-South will have no other option than to break away from Nigeria. We cannot remain in a country where we are regarded as second class citizens,” the group warned. At the meeting, presided over by Chief Edwin Clark, according to a statement read by Dr Oberabor, were Admiral Mike Okhai-Akhigbe, Professor Lawrence Ekpebu, Alabo Tonye Graham-Douglas, Olorogun Felix Ibru, Chief Ephraim Faloughi-Spiff, Hon. Bolere Ketebu, Mrs Helen Esuene and Chief Jackson Sunny Udoh.
Others were Senator Fred Brume, Air. Commodore Idongesit Nkangha, Senator Tari Sekibo, Chief Ewa Ita Henshaw, Chief Francis Doukpolagha, Dr B.K Adasen and Dr M.P Okonny.
Others were Chief P.Y Biakpara, Lady Anne Yougha, Dame Ambrose Akpanika, Rev. Grace Ekanem, Hon Denyanbofa Dimro, Hon Chibudom Nwuche, Lady Ime Udom and Chief Ayakeme Whisky.
The South-South leaders said that they watched in utter dismay and disbelief, the purported and stage-managed arrival of Alhaji Yar’Adua, which was allegedly orchestrated to cause destabilisation in the country.
“The secrecy surrounding the way and manner in which Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua arrived the counry is suspect. The Acting President was not briefed before and after the arrival of Yar’Adua. Ordinarily, the Acting President should receive the President on his arrival from an overseas trip.
“The Press was not allowed to cover the arrival. The coincidental power outage at the time the aircraft arrived is suspicious. The evacuation of President Yar’Adua from an aircraft into an ambulance in the dark is questionable.
“The Acting President and members of the Executive Council of the Federation and indeed the Nigerian public have not seen Alhaji Yar’Adua since his purported arrival,” the group queried.
What angered the South-South leaders more was the deployment of soldiers in the airport ahead of Yar’Adua’s arrival without the knowledge of the Acting President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
To the South –South Elders, this was an aberration and tantamount to treason, which must be probed. The group also alleged that there was massive movement of troops from various military formations and an attempt to transfer power to the military.
“This is grossly unconstitutional. We are also aware that attempts are being made on the life of the Acting President as part of the sinister and heinous agenda of the cabal,” it was alleged.
Acting President Goodluck Jonathan was warned never to take order from Turai, wife of the president, as he remained the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
“Nigeria is a democratic republic and not a monarch and an allusion that the Acting President is taking brief from Turai Yar’Adua is insulting to the Acting President and indeed, to the Nigerian people,” the elders declared.
The group also warned the Special Assistant on Communication to the President, Segun Adeniyi to stop referring to the Acting President as Vice-President, until the National Assembly rescinded its earlier decision on power equation in the country.