Council of States is a body consisting of Nigeria’s former leaders who perform advisory role to the president. Its membership include serving and former Presidents of Nigeria, former and serving CJN, serving Senate president and Speaker of the House of Representatives as well as serving governors.
It is pertinent to note that under previous administrations, the Council of State Meeting holds quarterly but since President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office on May 29 last year, Wednesday was the second time he will be holding the meeting.
Speculations were rife that former Presidents Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida and Goodluck Jonathan may not attend the meeting. It is worthy to note that in the six years of former President Jonathan, Buhari attended the council of State meeting once. Jonathan was also absent in the first that was conducted by President Buhari last year.
To the surprise of many, at about some minutes to 11:00am on Wednesday morning, Jonathan was driven to the forecourt of the President’s office. Similarly, former Head of State, Gen. Abusalami Abubukar and former Head of Interim National Government (ING) Chief Ernest Shonekon were also joined at the Wednesday meeting.
However, former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Shehu Shagari as well as former Heads of State, General Ibrahim Babangida and Yakubu Gowon were conspicuously absent at the meeting. Also, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara were not in the meeting.
When the meeting was about to commence in the council Chambers, as all the former Presidents got prepared to take their seats, Jonathan who was in the council chambers for the first time since he lost the Presidential election, walked past the seat reserved for the President. A lot of thoughts must have been crossing his mind. Prior to May 29 last year, that seat was reserved solely for him, but like the biblical saying goes, ‘for everything under the sun there is time and season’ and nothing last forever, as power is just for a season.
Jonathan must have been recalling with nostalgia all the previous council of State Meetings he had presided over. I was watching the former President with keen interest to see if he will betray any emotion, but he was cool, calm and collected.
Photojournalists and cameramen were not left out, as they ignored all other former presidents and governors and focused all their attention on Jonathan who must have felt embarrassed by the attention he was getting.
The meeting which lasted over three hours resolved to confirm the appointment of the Inspector General of the Police, Ibrahim Idris who has been in acting capacity. It also confirmed the appointments of 6 new Commissioners for the Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC) and five Commissioners for the National Population Commission ( NPC).
Also in attendance was a handful of the serving governors as well as former Chief Justices of Nigeria (CJNs). Among the state governors at the meeting were those of Rivers, Borno, Niger, Imo, Cross River, Taraba, Yobe, Benue, Bauchi, Enugu, Kwara, Adamawa, Abia, Sokoto, Kaduna, Lagos, Kogi, Plateau, Jigawa, Kebbi and Katsina. Former CJN at the meeting included Lawal Uwais, Mariam Muktar, Idris Kutigi, Alfa Belgore.