By Ebun Babalola
Recently,Â a group of human right activists comprising of over 50 people askedÂ the President to resign and
hand over power to the Vice President, Goodluck Jonathan.
This group ofÂ prominent Nigerians who are from diverse backgroundsÂ said in a strongly worded statement released to the media in Lagos and AbujaÂ that Yarâ€™Aduaâ€™s failing health has created a dangerous situation whereby no one is in charge of the affairs of the state.
The question is this, was it right for this group of people to call for the Presidentâ€™s resignation or pray for him at this point in time?
Saturday Vanguard sampled the opinions of some prominent Nigerians including Alhaji JakandeÂ and these are their reactions.
Itâ€™s not in national interest forÂ Yarâ€™Adua to resign – Jakande
Those who are demanding his resignation have their reasons for that. But I do not believe itâ€™s in theÂ interest of the nation for President Yarâ€™Adua to resign now. Anybody can be sick, anybody can be ill and time should be given for such individual to get back to health. I donâ€™t think we should make it a rule that once a person in office especially the President is ill , he has to resign. I donâ€™t think so.
What the constitution says is that, if he is incapable of performing his duties, he should go. But my own view is that, if the President is incapable, we should not interpret that to mean thatÂ a President who is sick must resign. I think the President should be given timeÂ to recover .
I think the President should continue his administration and my prayer is that we need him healthy and when he is in this situation, our duty is to pray for his recovery. I think, this is a wrong time to demand his resignation.
Wrong time to call for Presidentâ€™s resignation – Festus Okoye, Executive Director Human Rights Monitor
My attention wasÂ drawn to a press statement datedÂ December 1, 2009 on President Yarâ€™Aduaâ€™s health condition and the state of the nation with my name on it as one of the signatories. IÂ am stating emphatically that I did not sign the said statement.
Nobody consulted or contacted me on such a statement. Nobody discussed the Presidentâ€™s health and the state of the nationÂ with me. I did not verbally or in writing give my consent to such a statement. I therefore consider it unfortunate that a constitutional issue with national security implications can be tabled, discussed and positions taken without consultation.
While it is true that the health of the Present has raised some anxiety among Nigerians, it is also true that it is the responsibility of Nigerians to wish the President well as this is not an auspicious time to grand stand on the issue and use it as an excuse to execute an agenda alien to constitutional democracy and morality.
In other climes, the nation ought to come together and hold together at this critical moment rather than dissipate energy on calling for the resignation of the President.
Unfortunately, the tragedy of our constitutional democracy is that it relies heavily on individuals rather than on institutions. While individual qualities and contributions are germane to the health of a nation, robust, professional and functional institutions are the key to national growth and development. It is therefore time for Nigerians to begin to wrap their faith around national institutions rather than on individuals.
The framers of the Constitution in their wisdom bestowed on the members of the Federal Executive Council the first line of action and responsibility in the determination of whether the President is capable or incapable of discharging the functions ofÂ his office.
My hope and prayer is that the President will get well and lead Nigerians on the right path. We hope and pray that he recovers quickly and comes back to Nigeria.
Itâ€™s un-African for this kind ofÂ premature demandâ€” Chief Chekwas Okorie, Chairman,Â All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA
I have read the statement of those calling for President Yarâ€™Aduaâ€™s resignation but I think it is a bad case. Anybody could be ill and in a situation where there is no medical report that he is no longer capable of carrying out the function of his office , it is ridiculous to call for his resignation at a time where the President needs everybodyâ€™s prayers.
We have heard of Presidents of other countries who fell ill. It is only medical reports that confirmed that they can no longer perform their duties, that an individual is required to resign and that would place legitimacy on the demand for the Presidentâ€™s resignation. It is indeed un-African for this kind of pre-mature demand on the President to resign. So, I am not in support of it at this particular point in time.