- Gowon, Shagari, Babangida, Obasanjo absent
- NCS ratifies appointment of IGP Idris, 6 INEC officials, others
Immediate past president, Goodluck Jonathan attended the National Council of State, NCS, meeting for the first time yesterday with his successor, President Muhammadu Buhari, presiding.
Jonathan left office in May 29, 2015.
But at yesterday’s meeting, former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and ShehuShagari, as well as former military heads of state, Ibrahim Babaginda and Yakubu Gowon were conspicuously absent.
Former heads of state, Abdulsalami Abubakar and Ernest Shonekan were also in attendance.
However, Senate President Bukola Saraki and speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, were absent.
The council of state is the highest constitutional advisory body in the country and has as members former military and civilian heads of state and presidents, respectively, among other former leaders of the different arms of government.
Five past justices of the federation, state governors and some of their deputies attended the meeting.
Before the meeting went into closed-door session, photo journalists at the presidential villa in Abuja could not hide their excitement to see Jonathan at the meeting, as they focused on him even as the former president beamed with smiles as the photographers scrambled to take different shots of him.
The meeting was expected to discuss the state of the nation and advise Buhari on possible ways forward, even as there were speculations that the likely confirmation of current acting police chief, Ibrahim Idris, as substantive Inspector General of Police was on the card.
The absence of the former leader fuelled speculation in some quarters that the president might have fallen out of favour with them.
Sources in the Presidential Villa confirmed to Nigerian Pilot that invitations had gone out to members of the council since last week and wondered why most of the former Nigerian leaders could not honour the invitation, most especially at a time Nigeria is facing security challenges arising from regional agitations and terrorism.
However, the Council of State approved the appointment of six new National Commissioners for the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and five National Commissioners for the National Population Commission, NPC.
Gov. Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos State made this known in Abuja yesterday while briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the meeting of the council.
“We deliberated on the appointment of six national commissioners for INEC; you know INEC is supposed to have 12 commissioners.
“We had earlier approved six sometimes last year and additional six were actually approved today; and those six represent six nominees from the six geo-political zones.
“You may wish to know that we approved five new commissioners for the National Population Commission, NPC, in addition to what was actually approved for INEC,” he said.
He gave the names of the six INEC commissioners as Alhaji Mohammed Haruna (North Central), retired AVM Ahmed Tijjani Mu’azu (North East), and Abubakar Nahuce (North West).
Others are Prof. Okechukwu Ibanu (South East), May Agbamuche Mbu (South-South), and Dr Adekunle Ogumola from the South West.
The NPC commissioners, according to him, are Dr Eyitayo Oyetunji (Oyo), Patricia Iyaya (Benue), Benedict Ukpong (Akwa Ibom), Dr Haliru Bala (Kebbi) and Gloria Isofo from Bayelsa.
“The Minister of State from the Ministry of Budget and Planning actually made a presentation to council on the ways and manner in which the federal government is approaching the way to rescue the recession path that we are going through.
“Council was confident and also approved the measures the federal government is putting in ensuring that Nigeria goes on the path of recovery as quickly as possible,” Ambode further said.
Also addressing the correspondents on outcome of the meeting, Gov. Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa disclosed that the council and the Police Council had ratified the appointment of acting Inspector-General of Police Ibrahim Idris.
“We deliberated on the confirmation of the Inspector-General of Police, IGP.
“There was almost unanimous acceptance of his confirmation. So, the Police Council resolved to confirm the acting Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris,’’ he said.
The council meeting was attended by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, state governors, former Chief Justices of Nigeria, CJN, Lawal Uwais, Dahiru Musdafa, Alfa Belgore and Alooma Muktar.
The first meeting of the council under the current political dispensation was held on October 21, 2015.