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Call for Yar’adua’s resignation: A call mired by political undertone?

. ..Plot for a fresh 8-year mandate for North begins

Perhaps, it would have had more impact had the polity not been poisoned as it has.  But the sudden, seemingly whimsical call by a section of the political leadership in Nigeria on President Umar Musa Yar’Adua to resign from office is already raising more dust than the expected effect.

By Jide  Ajani

JUST before the Presidential elections of June 12, 1993, Alhaji Aliyu Dasuki, a business man of international standing and a man considered in business circles as very generous, died.  Added to this was the air of integrity which many could swear, Dasuki wore as an armour.

Dasuki was also a man who was very, very close to government as well as the powers that be.  He was well connected, much so that when he was to be buried, the ‘who is who in Nigeria’s polity’ at that time attended or sent representatives to his burial.

In fact, the Military Government of the day, headed by General Ibrahim Babangida, was well represented at the burial.

It was an army officer, a Lieutenant Colonel, and a prince from the North, specifically, the North West and one seen as a stormy petrel, who captured the atmospherics at the burial.  He simply said something to the effect that most of those who were wailing and rolling on the floor because of Dasuki’s death had their own personal agenda and reason for feeling really bereaved.  He said there were those who were hoping to leverage on Dasuki for business openings; there were those with whom Dasuki had already had business dealings; there were those who felt the absence of Dasuki had dug a mighty hole in their finances.

That was before the June 12, presidential election of  1993. Today, the call for the resignation of Umaru Yar’Adua, as Nigeria’s third executive president, draws so much similarity with the wailing at Dasuki’s burial. For the group of 56 political and human rights leaders who purportedly signed the statement urging Yar’Adua to resign, they may have committed one fundamental error.

Already, among those who were said to have signed the letter is former Senate President, Ken Nnamani.  In a telephone conversation with Sunday Vanguard, Senator Nnamani made it clear that he was not in the country when the statement was put together and his inclusion as a signatory was without his consent.

A few others who were supposed to have signed have expressed similar sentiments. The question, therefore, is: Who authored the letter? But Sunday Vanguard has also discovered a very dangerous trend to the whole story. Last Sunday, it was reported that an air of precaution reigned supreme at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa. In fact, the agenda of those calling for President Yar’Adua’s resignation has to do with the anticipatory non-sufferance of another four year term for Yar’Adua.

Sunday Vanguard was reliably informed that the campaign to ease Yar’Adua out of power has been in the offing since last year. Upon assumption of office, the attempt by President Yar’Adua to strike a balance between continuing some of the reform efforts of his predecessor, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and the need to thread softly so as not to further expose the underbelly of the North to a wholesale deregulated economy, was seen as unbecoming of a Nigerian president of northern extraction.

And whereas the allegations at the beginning of the administration that President Yar’Adua was beginning to draw back the hands of time in the area of deregulation and reforms, an allegation largely made from the south, the north saw in the Yar’Adua presidency one which was insensitive to the yearnings from upper Niger.

This was Yar’Adua’s first real     challenge. It was from that moment that Yar’Adua began to have problems with his fellow northerners, prompting earlier insinuation that he would not be allowed to go for a second term. Today, his health has come handy for some of those who do not want him to go for a second term. The real game-plan would be for the North to produce someone else for the presidency in 2011.

Constitutionally, an individual is permitted to do two terms of four years each. It is the broke, that the North is going for, believing that all the major political parties for the 2011 presidential elections would present candidates of northern extraction. In a polity of clashing socio-political and economic interests, it should not come as a surprise that the staccato call for the resignation of Yar’Adua has become a matter of shambolism just as the health of the man in question.

….The  grouse

PRESIDENT Yar’Adua though invited was unable to attend the United Nations General Assembly for which a private audience had been arranged between him and President Barack Obama for high- level discussions of issues mutually beneficial to Nigeria and the United States because he was in Saudi Arabia to ‘open a university’.

It is also common knowledge that the incapacity of the president had affected the implementation of the nation’s budget because he was unable to coordinate the management of the national economy and to preside over the Federal Executive Council in a diligent manner.

In the circumstance, Ministers have routinely flouted the orders of the President and engaged in in-fighting as a direct result in the vacuum in leadership. This was recently embarrassingly exposed to the world with the series of conflicting public statements credited to the Attorney-General and the Chairperson of the EFCC. This was also exposed when the President disavowed knowledge of a memo to all foreign missions purportedly on his instructions.

Furthermore, till date, ministers continue to flout the public instruction of the president that ministers who presented memos at the FEC should stay behind to brief the media.

You may also recall that a battery of doctors complete with their paraphernalia escorted the President to the National Assembly last year to stand by as he delivered the budget and you may also recall that some pundits have revealed that the crisis between the Senate and the House on who should host the budget delivery by the president was contrived to provide an escape for the president who was reportedly physically unable to perform this formal task.

Finally, the current condition of the President has created a dangerous situation whereby no one is in charge of the affairs of the state contrary to the letter and spirit of the Constitution.

As responsible and concerned individuals from every part of Nigeria , we call on President Umaru to resign.
According to them, the President should immediately choose the honourable option of either:  “resign his office immediately, or if he is confident of his true physical condition, request the Federal Executive Council to pass a resolution pursuant to Section 144 (1) of the Constitution to the effect that the President appears incapable of discharging the functions of his office.

This honourable step will enable the Senate President to appoint a medical panel to confirm the fitness or otherwise of the President to continue in office.  “Indeed, the Constitution has rightly envisaged the situation in which the country has found itself…,” they said.


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