In Nigeria, supporters of Vice President Atiku Abubakar are reportedly happy as president Olusegun Obasanjo reneged on his refusal to continue recognizing Abubakar as the vice president. Observers have welcomed the president’s move and described his speech over the weekend as a sign of reconciliation. Meanwhile the senate will this week try to solve the stand off between the country’s two leading men.
Shehu Garuba is the spokesman for Vice President Abubakar. He said people are making too much of a fuss about the president’s gesture.
“What happened in Sokoto was a simple fact that the vice president was acknowledged in his presence by the president when he came to read his speech. Our sense of it is that it is not that of a big issue, because in any case the president has no choice in the matter because this is the position of the law,” he said.
Garuba said the president should do more than just recognize the vice president as the second in the chain of command.
“I think the point one wants to make is that it is not just about saying Mr. Vice president, yes I know you are there. The court of law says do A, B, C, D and may be the president had just managed to do A, B and has ignored C, D. So we are saying that he still has a lot to do to meet up on the requirement of the law,” he said.
Garuba warned people not to be too overly hopeful with the president’s gesture.
“People are just being too optimistic; they are taking this too far. We simply see it as the recognition of the fact that he had been acknowledged in the crowd. And whoever was there saw that even the people who were present at that even were very much relieved,” Garuba noted.
He said Nigerians showed that they want the feud between their president and vice president to stop.
“The ordinary man does not want what is happening at the highest level of government in the country. When he simply said yes the vice president was there, the crowd erupted in a big cheer. And that tells you that nobody is happy about these things that are going on in the country. I believe that this was a lesson to the president and everyone who was there,” Garuba said.
He said Vice President Abubakar has confidence in the Senate.
“The vice president has absolute confidence in the Nigerian Senate. Don’t forget that this is the Nigerian Senate when all hopes had been lost that the president was indeed going to have his way on the matter of life presidency it was the senate that put a stop to that,” he said.
Garuba said he was confident the senate would throw out the indictment against the vice president.
“They have already begun debating that committee report. And from the flow of the debate…our sense is that we do not think that the coming days would be different. This is the senate that will dispassionately look at all of the issues and we believe that they will have no hesitation in throwing out this report,” he said.