Nigeria governors support Jonathan

2010-03-03 10:36

Abuja - Nigeria's 36 state governors on Tuesday pledged their support for the country's acting president Goodluck Jonathan, but dismissed suggestions that ailing President Umaru Yar'Adua should resign.

Jonathan was installed as acting president on February 9 through a resolution of the parliament to fill a leadership vacuum created by the long absence of Yar'Adua from the country because of ill-health.

"We pledge our support to the acting president during this trying time. We encourage him that he has the full support of the governors forum," said Kwara state governor Bukola Saraki, on behalf of his colleagues.

Governor Godswill Akpabio of southern Akwa Ibom State also told reporters at the end of a meeting that the 36 state governors held with Jonathan in Abuja that Yar'Adua's resignation was not being considered.

"That issue is not an option on the card right now. What is important is for us to be compassionate, to be sympathetic and to realise that anybody can be ill. He is recuperating and we are satisfied that recovery is on the way," he said.

Yar'Adua, who left Nigeria for Saudi Arabia on November 23 and remained there for 93 days while being treated for an acute heart ailment.

Political tension

He returned to Nigeria last Wednesday, but Information Minister Dora Akunyili said that neither the acting president nor ministers have seen him since his return.

The opposition and activists have called for Yar'Adua's resignation because of his frail health.

The long absence of Yar'Adua from the country without handing over powers to Jonathan stoked political tension in the country.

The cabinet is expected to receive on Wednesday a report on the mission of a ministerial delegation sent to visit Yar'Adua in Jeddah last week.