Nigerian President may face impeachment

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Nigerian president, Mr. Umaru Yar’Adua has been given another seven-day ultimatum to hand over power to vice president, Mr. Goodluck Jonathan, or resign. According to Nigerian media chiefs, Mr Yar’Adua should be impeached if he fails to comply with the deadline.

This latest pressure on the absentee president has come from owners of 17 newspapers and media organizations in the country. “The stakeholders hereby demand that the president cede power to his deputy or resign within seven days. If he fails to take these obvious constitutional steps… the National Assembly should commence impeachment proceedings against the president for endangering the country,” a statement from the media conglomerate read.

The statement included the names of owners of several of the country’s best-selling newspapers – including the Punch and the Vanguard. The media owners demand that the president should formally transfer power to Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan because he had been away for more than 70 days.

President Yar’ Adua left the country, for heart and kidney treatment and ever since fears of a power vacuum have surrounded the government, and rattled the masses. There have been various legal cases challenging the president’s ability to rule from his sick bed in a Saudi Arabia hospital.

The Nigerian high court said there was no constitutional requirement for an interim leader to be appointed, and the cabinet subsequently issued a statement saying that that President Yar’Adua was “not incapable” of running the country. But opposition parties, pro-democracy groups and human-rights campaigners, organized rallies in Abuja to demand leadership in Nigeria, calling for change in the system.

President Umaru Yar’Adua has both heart and kidney problems.

The delay to hand over power to deputy vice president, Goodluck Jonathan, is affecting the implementation of the country’s budget, efforts to entrench peace in the oil-producing Niger Delta region and attempts to reform the electoral system before general elections next year.

Since December 2009, groups of politicians, former military officers and rights activists have signed documents calling for the president to resign on grounds of his failing health which makes it difficult for him to lead the country.

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