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Council of states meeting in session, Obasanjo absent

Council of states meeting in session, Obasanjo absent

All former heads of state of Nigeria are currently attending the Council of States meeting, except Olusegun Obasanjo.

The Council of States which is the highest advisory body in the land, consisting of the president, vice president, former heads of state, former chief justices of Nigeria, governors, minister of the Federal Capital Territory, the attorney general and minister of justice and the leadership of the National Assembly is meeting at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, to discuss the possible postponement of the general elections scheduled for February 14 and 28.

The major responsibility of the Council of States is advising the president on matters concerning activities of the Independent National Electoral Commission and security issues. It also ratifies key appointments like that of the inspector general of police, amongst others.

All state governors including Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amechi are in attendance except governors of Benue and Ebonyi.

The body has already summoned the INEC chairman, Attahiru Jega. Some Nigerians clamouring for the postponement of the elections based their calls on the inability of INEC to distribute enough permanent voter cards (PVCs) to all registered voters.

The former heads of state in attendance include Gen. Yakubu Gowon, Shehu Shagari, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, Ernest Shonekan and Abdulsalami Abubakar.

This is the first Council of State to record the highest number of attendance.

Others in attendance are Vice President Namadi Sambo, Senate President David Mark, speaker of the House of Representatives Aminu Tambuwal. Former Chief Justice Alfa Belgore and Chief Justice Dahiru Musdafa are also in attendance.

Governors in attendance are that of Adamawa, Kano, Osun, Imo, Nasarawa, Sokoto, Anambra, acting governor of Taraba, Niger and Lagos states.

Others are Bayelsa, Kogi, Rivers, Kaduna, Enugu, Ogun, Kebbi, Zamfara , Kwara, Katsina, Ondo, Plateau, Cross Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Jigawa, Edo, Delta, Bauchi, Ekiti and Gombe. Deputy governors Abia, Borno and Oyo states are also in attendance.

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Governors on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) were the first to arrive the venue of the meeting scheduled for 11a.m. They came ready for a showdown. They held their side meetings conferring among themselves, in a circle, hands on each other shoulder speaking in hushed tones.

Noticing that journalists were eavesdropping on their conversation one of them turned and warned them to steer clear.

There are also a lot of laughs and back slapping between the governors across party divides.

On a lighter note, the Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi held back the National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, accusing him of being biased. He accused him of overlooking the security challenges in his state, saying the crisis in his state was not different from the insecurity in the North East.

He told the NSA, “What you don’t know is that the moment you kill more than 100 persons you are facing ICC (International Criminal Court).”

Buhari, who had arrived at the Council Chambers at about 11:04a.m was immediately cornered by the Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola and engaged in what was obviously the APC’s strategy as regards the possible postponement of the elections.

He, however, refused to join other heads of state in the holding room despite repeated efforts by the secretary to the government of the federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, and the principal secretary to the president, Hassan Tukur.

It is somewhat of a tradition that the former heads of state are received at the president’s holding room, on the red carpet, and later proceed together with the president to the meeting hall.

He was later convinced by the Senate President, the SGF, principal secretary and the state chief of protocol to join the others.