The National Council of State meeting being chaired by President Goodluck Jonathan will take place on Tuesday (today), almost 11 months after the last one was held.
The council which has Vice-President Namadi Sambo as its deputy chairman is made up of all former presidents and Heads of Government, all former Chief Justices of Nigeria; President of the Senate; Speaker of the House of Representatives; all the 36 state governors and the Attorney-General of the Federation.
Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, former military dictators, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (retd.) and Maj.- Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had been staying away from the meetings.
Media reports had it that some governors had been uncomfortable with the failure of the President to convene a meeting of the council to address some pressing national issues.
The last time the meeting was held was on March 12, 2013 when a former Bayelsa State Governor, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, and some other former state officials were granted pardon.
Our correspondent learnt on Monday that issues bordering on the planned national conference and the 2015 elections would form part of the discussions at the meeting.
Highlights of the programme for the celebration of the nation’s 100 years of amalgamation will also be discussed.
The council has the constitutional duty of advising the President in the exercise of his powers with respect to national census, prerogative of mercy, award of national honours, the Independent National Electoral Commission, the National Judicial Council and the National Population Commission.
It also has the responsibility of advising the President whenever requested to do so, on the maintenance of public order within the federation or any part thereof.
Media reports had it that state governors believed that Jonathan had relegated them to the background by not convening the council meeting.
But the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, said his principal had not committed any constitutional breach since there was no fixed time or frequency in the 1999 Constitution for the NCS to meet.
The NCS and the National Economic Council chaired by the Vice-President are the two bodies being used by the Presidency to interface with governors.
Since the polarisation of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and the crisis among governors elected on the platform of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, Sambo had for five months been unable to convene NEC meetings .
The NEC has the constitutional role of advising the President concerning the nation’s economic affairs, and in particular, on measures necessary for the co-ordination of the economic planning efforts or economic programmes of the various governments of the federation.