Abuja/Ilorin — Governors of the 36 states of the Federation will today storm the National Assembly to lobby the lawmakers to pass a resolution urging President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua to send a vacation letter to the assembly so that Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan can be acting president.
The Chairman of the Governors' Forum and Kwara State Governor Bukola Saraki yesterday restated the governors' position and appealed to the National Assembly to facilitate the process of transmitting power to the Vice-President.
In the meantime, a planned visit by Benue State Governor Gabriel Suswam and his Bauchi State counterpart Isa Yuguda to visit President Yar'Adua in his Saudi Arabian hospital was aborted last night when the private aircraft they were billed to travel with suddenly developed mechanical problems. The aeroplane allegedly belongs to business mogul, Alhaji Aliko Dangote.
The trip was eventually put off till today to enable the two governors appear at the National Assembly along with their colleagues.
One of the governors who spoke with THISDAY on their planned visit to the National Assembly said: "We will start our lobby with the principal officers of the Senate, where we will present the resolution of the Nigeria Governors Forum to the senators.
"From there, we will proceed to the House of Representatives Chambers, where we shall be meeting with the principal officers of the House. We shall present our resolution to them and impress it on them on the need to pass a resolution to enable the Vice-President to act as President pending when the president is well to continue in office."
It was gathered that some of the governors held a meeting with the principal officers of the House at the weekend in a bid to soften the ground for today's meeting.
THISDAY was, however, told last night that the National Assembly lacks the power to make Jonathan acting President and that if at all the lawmakers pass a resolution on the matter, it can only be advisory.
The Governors' Forum had in a communiqué in the early hours of Friday read by Saraki urged the National Assembly to pass a resolution to enable the Vice-President act as President.
The decision to also visit President Yar'Adua on his sick bed in Saudi Arabia was also taken at the meeting.
Thirty-one governors attended the meeting.
Saraki had said while reading the communiqué: "The forum resolves to meet the leadership of the National Assembly with a view to urging them to pass a resolution to formally recognise the Vice-President as the Acting President in the interest of the nation."
But speaking with newsmen shortly after the State Security Council meeting held at the Government House, Ilorin yesterday, Saraki appealed to the National Assembly to facilitate the process of making Jonathan acting President.
Saraki said at no time did the Governors' Forum direct the National Assembly to recognise the Vice-President as acting President, explaining that the Forum only appealed to the lawmakers to review and consider the governors' position.
The power to recognise the Vice-President as Acting President, he said, belongs entirely to the National Assembly and not the Governors' Forum.
"As stakeholders, we are coming up with a suggestion on the way forward and we want to go and appeal to the National Assembly to review and consider this in the interest of the nation," Saraki said.
He urged members of the National Assembly to expedite action on the lingering issue so that the matter could be put behind us in the interest of the country and national peace.
Saraki also appealed to those he called mischievous people who wanted to use the present situation to cause problem to stop, saying this is about all of us.
Speaking on the victory of Governor Peter Obi in the just-concluded gubernatorial election in Anambra State, Saraki congratulated Obi and his party, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) for the victory.
Saraki, who praised Prof. Chukwuma Soludo for conceding defeat, also commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman Maurice Iwu and the commission for a job well done.
Saraki charged INEC not to rest on its oars, pointing out that it has a lot to do especially as it prepares for the 2011 general elections.
"The Anambra election has come and gone. Nigeria is still strong and democracy is stronger. It is a good opportunity for what to come in 2011," he said.
Saraki praised the Anambra people for conducting themselves in an orderly manner during the election and told the international community that the Anambra test case was an indication that democracy has come of age in Nigeria.