The South-East South-South Network (SESSNet) has described the absence of President Muhammadu Buhari in the country for the past 64 days as an ill omen that bodes Nigeria no good.
At a time Nigeria is facing existential crisis, and threats of dismemberment from all parts of the country the group explained the issue is not where the President comes from but the progress of the country which needs the urgent attention of a healthy President.
The group issued the statement 24 hours after a meeting convened by governors from the South- East/ South-South region.
The SE/SS governors meeting aimed at regional unity and economic integration, and held at Enugu is the first of its kind under the present administration.
SESSNet had on 13 March 2017 begun arrangements aimed at establishing an economic union for the region, and on 14 April 2017 it called on the S-east and S-south governors to establish a forum to discuss fiscal federalism, economic and political integration, address regional fears and mistrust among others.
Today’s statement reads in part:
"64 days ago, President Muhammadu Buhari travelled to United Kingdom on a Medical trip. Since then the Presidency has refused to release any information regarding the status of his health to Nigerians.
"While Mr. President duly handed over power to the Vice President, we note however, the Acting President, Yemi Osibanjo is unable to take strategic decisions that will move the country forward, including taking the necessary but decisive action to restructure the polity.
"Amidst the present uncertainty in the land, the ensuing political gimmick and Aso villa infighting jeopardises the hopes and aspirations of many Nigerians.
"We recall Mr President’s statement during late Musa Ya'radua health crisis, and urge Mr President to put national interest above his own.
"While we realise that anyone call fall ill, including presidents, we urge President Buhari not to be a clog in the wheel of the nation’s progress.
"If he is unable to discharge his responsibilities as President of Federal Republic of Nigeria, he should consider enabling an incoming substantive president address the problems of restructuring of the polity and true federalism.
"Nigeria is definitely greater than any “cabal”.
"We note particularly the adoption of the SESSNet template in the welcome address, by the host Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.
"We also note that the statement by Governor Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom, appointed as the chairman of the Forum, largely repeated our press statement of March 24 2017, and adopted SESSNet proposals to pursue inter-regional integration for the economic benefit of the two regions.
"We hope that the SE/SS governors’ meeting which is not only providential but essential will not only engender economic prosperity, but will fundamentally unite the region and set a common regional agenda.”