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Jonathan will step down only after meeting Yar‘Adua

By Emmanuel Aziken, Abuja
Acting President Goodluck Jonathan will fall back to his position as Vice-President of the country only after establishing physical contact with President Umaru Yar‘Adua.

Jonathan’s decision articulated by aides and close associates was upon the frustrations he received when he made two abortive attempts to see President Yar‘Adua following the President’s alleged return to the presidential villa last Wednesday morning. Senior government officials confirmed that as at press time neither Dr. Jonathan nor any other government official were yet to see the ailing President.

The Acting President’s resolve is being backed by Senators who are claiming ignorance of the President’s return despite a statement issued on his behalf to that effect by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi.

The resolution of Dr. Jonathan to continue to steer the course of the nation Saturday Vanguard learnt was upon the embarrassment he suffered when he twice sought to see the President last Wednesday after reports of the President’s return.

Sources within and outside the presidency disclosed at the weekend that when Dr. Goodluck heard of the President’s return in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, that  he waited until dawn to go and visit the President.

Dr. Jonathan, according to one source was accompanied by his wife, Patience but that they were turned back by aides of the President who claimed that the President was sleeping after the long trip from Saudi Arabia.

After waiting for some hours, the Acting President reportedly returned to see the President.
“When he came the second time, the security men looked up at one another and didn’t know what to say again but still held on to their ground that the Acting President could not see the President,” one source privy to the affair disclosed.

Dr. Jonathan according to other presidency sources, however, steered away from confronting the aides as he deliberately side-stepped points of confrontation.

One potential point of confrontation after the President returned was the council chamber within the Presidential Villa.

The scheduled meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on that Wednesday morning was cancelled after security aides of the President took up positions within the Council Chamber in a seeming demonstration of the return of authority to the President.

One top security aide according to one Saturday Vanguard source physically went to stand behind the seat of the President as if to ensure that Dr. Jonathan who started sitting on the seat after the National Assembly resolution empowering him as Acting President did not come near.

Saturday Vanguard was not able to confirm suggestions in some circles in Abuja that the seat of the President was removed from the council chambers by the security men of the President in a bid to stop Dr. Jonathan from sitting on it.

The security aides of the President, it was further gathered selected ministers they greeted as they made a deliberate effort to snub those they perceived were supporters of the Acting President.

Dr. Jonathan it was learnt subsequently decided to cancel the meeting in order not to provoke a backlash that could damage the presidency.

Dr. Jonathan who has been criticized for not being assertive has, however, told associates that he would not provoke a fight that could damage the image of the presidency. Associates of both President Yar‘Adua and Acting President Jonathan insist that only a few aides and associates of the President are involved in the seeming hide and seek game that is being played out within the presidency.

Dr. Jonathan is nevertheless said to be determined that the collective interest of the presidency is not damaged by any kind of doublespeak from the presidency.

One such example of doublespeak that aggravated the situation was the public announcement issued by the Special Adviser to the President on Media, Mr. Adeniyi on behalf of the President.

The announcement which did not recognize Dr. Jonathan as Acting President was described as condescending and an affront not only to Dr. Jonathan but also to the National Assembly which empowered him as the Acting President.

Meanwhile, Senators are affirming that they would not recognize the President’s return to the country until he transmits a letter of his return to the National Assembly.

Some other Senators are even insisting that beyond transmitting a letter, that the President should be seen to be fit and capable before being empowered with the authority of his office.

The President of the Senate, Senator David Mark is seemingly following the steps of fellow Senators as in his Eid-Mulludgreeting yesterday, he deliberately side-stepped the contentious issue of the President’s return.

Rather, the Senate President sought for more prayers for the President even as he asserted that the country was greater than any one individual or group of persons.

Senator Mark who is known to have strong sympathies for President Yar‘Adua is believed to be unhappy with his aides who sources close to him accuse of using the President’s name for their selfish reasons.

Meanwhile Senators belonging to the National Interest Group (NIG) in the Senate have decided to tread with caution on the issue as the majority of those who attended a meeting on the development suppressed a motion that would have compelled the Senate leadership to visit the President.

The motion which was canvassed at the Wednesday night meeting according to sources was suppressed after emissaries from the Senate leadership were said to have kicked against it describing it as too confrontational.


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