From Alifa Daniel (Asst. Political Editor, Abuja):

THOUGH comments by its leaders came under stern rebuke from the Senate session last Tuesday, the group of Senators in the forefront of the move to make Dr. Goodluck Jonathan Acting President and Commander-in-Chief continued to meet in Abuja last week.

The Senators, on the platform of the National Interest Group (NIG) are priming their arsenal to push for the impeachment of President Umaru Yar’Adua if the six-man team from the Executive Council of the Federation (EXCOF) met the same fate that befell other delegations before it.

Three delegations of the Governors’ Forum, House of Representatives and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in separate visits had failed to see the President in Saudi Arabia, where he is receiving treatment for kidney/heart-related ailment since November 23.

A member of the NIG told The Guardian in Abuja: “I can confirm to you that we met late into the night in the Bolingo Hotel and Towers, with another group from the House of Representatives, and we are simply waiting for the federal government’s delegation to come back.

“If their report is unsatisfactory, we will do the next thing and commence impeachment moves.

“We know why some people spoke against us the way they did, but let us wait and see what happens by next Wednesday. If the FEC members suffer the same fate or come with a report that is unsatisfactory, we will move.”

The Senator denied speculations that there was a rift in the group, though other sources said some members and some of its supporters in the Senate were getting uncomfortable with the activities of some of those in the leadership of the group.

Another Senator said: “We understand that there are those who now visit and spend time in the Aso Presidential Villa, and that is not in consonance with those of us in it for the principles.

“Some of us have expressed reservations at the behaviour of some members and we have to make sure that the leadership does not get the impression we are trying to sabotage it because what we are doing is in the best interest of Nigeria.

“The Senate has said it would ensure that we amend the Constitution on Section 145 and things are moving in the right direction and should end by the end of this week.”

While admitting that there was tension in the group, which had not resulted in any cracks; he explained that the brickbats thrown at Senators Smart Adeyemi and Bala Mohammed on the floor of the Senate were uncalled for.

According to the Senator: “We know their (Senators’) backgrounds as journalists and Smart as a trade unionist. They believe in justice, fairness, and equity, and the best they have known to fight it and get results in the past is by speaking out and loudly, too.

“We have to give it to journalists that they fought for this democracy more than any group. The argument can also be made that this background clashes with those whose backgrounds as dictators are telling in the Senate.

“Because we all come from different backgrounds, this diversity can work well for everyone, and we must give it to the NIG that it fought for what some people are trying to take credit for today.

“These people were not the ones who said we should not discuss this matter in the first place. But I think we all have to be cautious anyway.”

It would be recalled that following media reports quoting the two Senators, the Senate took exception to their comments, with some members suggesting that the suspension big stick be wielded against them.

The Senate, which had recently commended the press, sought to take a swipe at it in the cat and dog relationship that has existed between the Legislature and the Fourth Estate of the Realm.


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