The pro-Yarâ€™Adua elements in government are reworking their strategy of sustaining his tenure following the massive pressure from within and outside the country for the president to transfer power to Vice President Goodluck Jonathan.
The camp composing, but not limited to the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Michael Aondoakaa (SAN); Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Abba Ruma; and Chief Economic Adviser to the President, Dr. Tanimu Yakubu; has been having series of meetings and consultations aimed at neutralising the lockjam created by President Yarâ€™Aduaâ€™s long absence from the country and hisÂ non-formal handing over to the vice president.
In attendance were members of the partyâ€™s National Working Committee (NWC); Senate President, Chief David Mark; his deputy Mr. Ike Ekweremadu; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Dimeji Bankole; Chief Aondoakaa and Dr. Ruma.
The meeting, according to sources,Â reviewedÂ the tension created in the country by the presidentâ€™s absence from officeÂ and the resolution it provoked in the Senate that he should hand over to his deputy by transmitting a letter to the Senate on his condition.
About 200 members of the House of Representatives are also said to be threatening to move against the president if he refuses to hand over to the vice president.
The Yarâ€™AduaÂ group is said to be uncomfortable with the ground gained by those canvassing power transfer especially when such calls are coming from prominent Nigerians including former heads of state, ex-chief JusticesÂ of Nigeria and other eminent citizens.
They are no less rattled by the statementÂ issued on Thursday by the US and EU leaders asking Nigeria to adhere to the provisions of the Constitution in this â€œperiod of uncertainty.â€
More meetings have been lined up by the group,Â according to sources, and the main objectives is to buy as much time as possible in the hope that the president will recoverÂ sufficiently well soon toÂ return homeÂ and resume work.
So far they seem to have succeeded in interpreting recent court judgements on the issue in their own way, the calculation being that their actions would calm frayed nerves, and they willÂ be at least a step ahead of those who want Yarâ€™Adua out.
Why they are bidding for time- Femi Falana.
However, Lagos lawyer, Mr. Femi FalanaÂ said, last night, that the issue has â€œnow gone beyond Section 145.â€
Said he: â€œThe civil rights community is not disturbed by their antics at all. No. They are simply buying time, begging the question on ground.
â€œThe issue has transcended transmission of letter to the National Assembly to enable the vice president assume office in acting capacity.
â€œThe president can no longer perform his official duties for now.
â€œThat much was confirmed in the BBC interview when he was talking about the future.
Section 146 has now come into being.â€
Section 146 says:
146 â€“ (1) The Vice -President shall hold the office of President if the office of President becomes vacant by reason of death or resignation, impeachment, permanent incapacity or the removal of the President from office for any other reason in accordance with section 143 or 144 of this Constitution.
Continuing, Mr Falana said: Why they are buyingÂ time is to look for a vice president for Jonathan.
â€œThey know he (Yarâ€™Adua) can not resume as president.
â€œThe seemingly contradictory court decisions they have been getting will end up in the Supreme Court. The issue at stake is very, very crucial.
â€œIâ€™m asking for my own case to be transferredÂ to another court.
â€œWe (civil rights community) are intensifying our campaign and rallies, mobilising local and international opinions that the provision of the Constitution be compliedÂ with.
â€œIfÂ the matter is not resolved quickly we may be playing into the hands of anti-democratic elements.
â€œWe should not take the warning made by the Chief of Army Staff lightly.
â€œTension is rising. We are just being warned.â€
Mr. Aondoakaa could not be reached yesterday. One of his aides who pickedÂ aÂ call made by Sunday Vanguard said he was sleeping and did not want to be disturbed.