By Jonathan Nda- Isaiah,
A coalition of civil society orgarnisations (CSOs) yesterday declared total support for President Muhammadu Buhari, saying the president won’t resign as being demanded by a group of Nigerians protesting under the auspices of #OurMumuDonDo.
The coalition of CSOs known as the Centre for Civil Society and Justice (CCSJ) made the declaration after staging a counter protest rally in support of the president at the precinct of Aso Rock presidential.
The protest by the CCSJ is a direct response to the one staged by the #OurMumuDonDo group against the continued stay of the president in the United Kingdom in which they are asking Buhari to either return from his medical vacation or resign.
Speaking on behalf of the CCSJ demonstrators yesterday, the convener, Comrade Goodluck Obi, said his group has “absolute faith and trust in President Buhari’s administration, not machinations of corruption and destabilisation.
“We are saying from today, 10th August 2017, we will be holding a rally/protest march here at Unity Fountain for the next one month and beyond in order to send clear and unambiguous message to agents of chaos and unity that Nigerians are solidly behind President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration based on our democratic mandate entrusted to him on 28th March 2015,” Obi stated.
In its response, the presidency assured the coalition that, while the protest against the president was a clear indication of corruption fighting back, attempts to derail the war against graft, using subterfuge and bluff will not succeed. It also commended the Senate for its stance that the president has not violated the law by staying off duty for months.
The senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, who addressed the CSOs, dismissed the “return or resign” agitation as an illegal assembly stealthily organised to deliver a body blow to the war against corruption.
The presidency also praised Nigerians for rising against the chaotic rout of protesters assembled at the Unity Fountain demanding the return of President Buhari, describing such demands as unlawful.
Shehu said, “It might be taken for granted that the beneficiaries of the old order are fighting back. We have been warned that corruption will fight back. In a country where just one woman for having the opportunity to serve as minister has N47.2 billion and 487.5 million dollars of public resources in cash and property traced to her by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), you don’t expect the beneficiaries of that order to allow the Buhari administration some peace. They want to distract us. But what the acting President wants to assure patriotic citizens is that the government will not bend.
“As far the president is concerned, he has done the needful by handing the reins of authority to the vice president. Since the law of the country does not give a time limit for the president’s return, it cannot be imposed by a saber-rattling group or individual.”
The presidential spokesman commended the CCSJ for being orderly in their demonstration and urged them to shun all provocations by opponents of government.
Shehu continued: “By divine intervention, Muhammadu Buhari unexpectedly got elected with the ostensible mandate of reversing national decline and securing its future. He got into the Villa through democratic victory at election. “Anybody desiring to replace him, whether you are a wrestler, a hair dresser or a musician, you should go through that process. In a democracy, threats don’t work”.
Also, the senior special assistant to the president on National
Assembly matters (Senate), Ita Enang, commended the Senate for its stance that the president has not violated the law by staying off duty for months. The Red Chamber had said this in a statement signed by its spokesman, Sabi Abdullahi, on Thursday.
Enang noted yesterday that the National Assembly is satisfied that the president’s absence left no vacuum, and therefore cautioned protesters against creating unnecessary tension in the country.
Enang, who was fielding questions from journalists after an interactive session with law students from Akwa Ibom State, who visited him in his office, described the Senate’s position as commendable and constitutional.
His words: “The stance of the Senate is very patriotic; very commendable and very constitutional. The Senate has always stood right and upright on matters of national interest and whenever there is objection or anything that the Senate has objection to, we look at it maturely and we look at it amicably and in this particular situation as in most other situations, I commend the Senate.
“We thank the Senate for the stabilising statement and for the position they have taken because it is the position of the law of the constitution’.
The presidential aide said the president was entitled under the constitution to go on medical vacation, even as he maintained that Buhari had already complied with all relevant sections of the nation’s constitution.
Enang noted: “The president is entitled to under the constitution, transmit formal letter to the Senate and House of Representatives informing them of his vacation and until he returns and transmits another letter, the acting president is still in charge and there is no vacuum in the country.
“So all actions of the government like that of the executive, legislature and the judiciary are going on and nothing is affected adversely by the vacation of Mr President since there is no vacuum in the country”.