Prominent Nigerians last Wednesday advised President Umar YarÃdua to quit office ifÂ media reports that his doctors in Saudi Arabia have asked him to do so are true.
Commenting on the development, the former Governor of Ekiti State OtunbaÂ Niyi Adebayo has urged President Umar Musa YarÃdua toÂ step aside if he had been advised to do so by his doctors. He made the remark in a telephone interview he granted to Vanguard last Wednesday.
Said he: â€œIf it is true that his doctors in Saudi Arabia have advised him not to continue in office as President of Nigeria, the best thing for him to do would be to listen to their advise. Whether he writes the mandatory letter to the National Assembly or not depends on the type ofÂ decision he takes.
IfÂ his doctors have advised him not to continue in office and he decides to accept their advise, obviously the next thing would beÂ for him to inform the National Assembly. However,Â it is better to wait and see what happens nextÂ instead of engaging in speculations over the Presidentâ€™s health.â€
In his own reaction the Lagos State gubernatorial candidate of the Democratic Peoples Alliance ( DPA) during the 2007 general election Mr Jimi Agbaje spoke in a similar vein.
According to him: â€œAlthough this is all speculation, but if your doctor advises youÂ not to continue doing any particular job, the best thing for you to do is to abide by that recommendation.Â In that case it would be clear to him that it would not be possible for him to go on.
If this is the case, I think that the constitution is very clear as to how this process is suppose to continue; that would be for him to step aside by resigning and allowing the constitutional provision to be applied and for the Vice-President to be sworn in as theÂ Â President. That is what the constitution provides and we are bound by it and that is what should be followed.â€
Responding to the claim by some groups in the northern part of the countryÂ thatÂ YarÃduaâ€™s tenure which ought to endÂ in 2011 is a northern tenure that must not be encroached upon by a Southerner, he said: â€œThe present situation is a lesson for the entire nation.
And the lesson is thatÂ when politicians are choosing running mates not only at the presidential level but also at the governorship level , theyÂ must begin to realise thatÂ these number two executive political office holders are potential number one office holders.
So, you cannot then say that the constitution should not follow its course. For those who are saying that the Vice-President cannot take over, it means that they donâ€™t believe in democracy and constitutional governance.Â The constitution does not provide for a northern or southern leader at any time. It is a party arrangement.â€
In response to a question concerning the oppositionÂ against the Vice-President Dr Goodluck Jonathan assuming office in case President Yarâ€™Adua is unable to continueÂ he replied: â€œ If the President has been advised by his doctor and he has accepted the advice of his doctor , then the issue of whether Jonathan should take over or not should not arise.
The constitution must runÂ its course. So anybody who advises differently does not really mean well for this country.â€
In response to another question as to whether it was premature for former President Obasanjo to be shopping for a successor to Dr Goodluck Jonathan, he replied: â€œThere is nothing wrong for Obasanjo to shop for a successor to Jonathan; that is part of politics.
Everybody is free to have his ownÂ ambition to push one candidate or the other. This becomes normal when you suspect there is a possibility that there would beÂ vacancy in a particular office. Any individual or group thatÂ has foresight would have started working on different possible scenarios that may happen in the event that the President is incapacitated.
In his own comments the National Publicity Secretary of the Alliance for Democracy ( AD)Â Popoola Ajayi
In his own reaction, the Publicity Secretary of Alliance for Democracy ( AD)Â Popoola Ajayi remarked that ifÂ PresidentÂ YarÃdua had been advised to quit office by his doctors, he should abide by such advise and quit office.
Said he: â€œIt is long overdue. He has stayedÂ in office only because he wants to be a typical African ruler who prefers to stay in office till the end. He shouldnâ€™t even have allowed former President Olusegun Obasanjo to drag him into the presidential race in 2007. â€œ
He further stated that Nigeria demands an energetic leader as the office of President carries enormous responsibilities with it.
â€œLet the president apply for leave of absence so that he can have enough timeÂ to take care of his health. This will enableÂ the Vice-President to take overÂ in acting capacityâ€ he said.