By Emmanuel Aziken & AbdulSalam Muhammad
Abujaâ€”Northern politicians and some of their Southern allies, seeking for better relevance in the post-Yarâ€˜Adua’s era, are directing arrows at the President of the Senate, Senator David Mark and other potential rivals, Vanguard learnt, weekend.
For the first time since Senator Mark was elected Senate President, in June 2007, perceptions of a genuine threat to his position, it was gathered, are being unfolded by potential rivals from the North-Central geo-political zone aiming to gain top hand in the event of President Umaru Yarâ€™Aduaâ€™s failure to continue in office.
However, a genuine impeachment move, VanguardÂ learnt, was still far away as confidants of the Senate President assured that the plot was essentially directed at blackmailing him and other potential rivals from the North-Central Zone away from the political system.
Meantime, the first civilian governor of Kano State, Alhaji Abubakar Rimi, weekend, dismissed calls for Yarâ€™Aduaâ€™s resignation, saying they were â€˜â€™mischievous and wicked.â€™â€™
The Senate President, perhaps, oblivious of the threats, yesterday called for more prayers for Yarâ€˜Adua as he again denounced rumour mongers whom he claimed were seeking to gain the advantage from the Presidentâ€™s ill-health.
Mark called for prayers for the Presidentâ€™s urgent return at a harvest thanksgiving service at St. Mulumbaâ€™s Chaplaincy, Apo, Abuja.
It was the third time the Senate President will publicly seek prayers for the ailing President. He had earlier declared a novena, which is a nine-day supplication to Heaven on behalf of the President.
Sources in Abuja yesterday pinned the threat against Mark at a governor from the North-Central Zone with strong interest in sustaining his relevance into the Presidency whether or not Yarâ€™Adua sustains his health to continue in office.
Powers against Mark
The unfolding plot Vanguard learnt, aims to impeach the Senate President if Yarâ€˜Adua is unable to continue in power to make way for the said North-Central governor to be foisted on Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan as a Vice-President.
Governor Bukola Saraki is said to be working with ex- Delta State Governor, Chief James Ibori, who is allegedly uncomfortable with Jonathan and Mark.
â€œWith Mark from the North-Central, you know, there is no way the Vice-President and the Senate President can be from the same zone, so, the plot is to get him out of the way,â€™â€™ one source privy to the alleged efforts told Vanguard at the weekend.
Bid to stop his re-election
â€œBut, should the President be able to continue in office, then the move would be to ease him out ahead of the re-election so that he cannot come back as Senate PresidentÂ and forÂ the governor to contest the Presidency in 2011,â€™â€™ the same source availed.
A confidant of the Senate President in the National Assembly when contacted on the development, however, said the plot was not principally directed at the Senate President but at potential political rivals of the North-Central governor who could affect their political permutations.
â€œThe fact is just that some would want to blackmail the Senate President out of the system so that it would be easier for them to achieve their objectives,â€™â€™ the source said on the basis of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
The Senate spokesman, Senator Ayogu Eze, when contacted on the development, refused to speak, saying: â€œWhy are you asking me that kind of question.â€
Mark calls for more prayers
Meanwhile, the Senate President, at the annual thanksgiving service of St. Mulumbaâ€™s Chaplaincy, Apo Legislative Quarters, Abuja, called for more prayers for the ailing President.
â€œWe are in difficult times in the life and history of our country. We should all continue to pray for the quick recovery of Mr. President for him to return and continue the governance of our nation,â€ the Senate President was quoted as saying in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Paul Mumeh.
â€œTongues are waging, comments from both sides and across the divide. But, whichever position one holds, we must remember that we are all created by God and none of us can claim to have the power to make or unmake another.
â€œTimes like these call for sober reflection; we must pause and ponder on the positive way forward. Above all, we should be rational in our behaviours and utterances, we must remain our brotherâ€™s keeperâ€.
Earlier, in his homily, Rev. Father Paul Zion stressed the importance of thanksgiving, noting that, â€œthanksgiving is the only time when we pay back what God has done or given to us all through the year.
â€œWe make a living by what we receive, but we make life by what we give to God. Heaven is open to those who are generous.
Rimi flays calls for Yar’Adua to quit
Relatedly, Rimi, weekend dismissed calls for Yarâ€™Aduaâ€™s resignation, saying they were â€˜â€™mischievous and wicked.â€™â€™
The PDP stalwart, in a statement issued in Kano, noted that despite the Presidentâ€™sÂ absence there is clear evidence that Vice-President Jonathan has effectively filled the vacuum.
The Kano-born politician stated that it is â€˜â€™wicked and uncharitableâ€™â€™ on the part of those calling on the President to resign on account of ill-health, adding that every human is susceptible to illness.
Rimi noted that constitutionally, ”Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan performs all duties assigned to him by the President, and there is evidence that he is performing such duties creditably.â€™â€™
Rimiâ€™s position came on the heels of a statement credited to the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Masari and 52 others who had penultimate week called on the ailing President to relinquish power to his deputy as enshrined in the constitution.