Just as Ag President Goodluck Jonathan wasÂ stopped from seeing returnee President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua, the Presidentâ€™s mother was also yesterdayÂ prevented from seeing her ailing son.Â
Also, Yarâ€™Aduaâ€™s siblings were blocked when they went to see their brother with their mother, Saturday Vanguard has learnt.Â Ag President Goodluck Jonathan was twice stopped from seeing the President. No Nigerian government official has seen him either.
SummingÂ up all these , former Military Head of State, Gen Yakubu Gowon,Â has expressed doubts over the return ofÂ President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua, saying there is no proofÂ to that effect. Although theÂ Presidency has issued a statement on Yarâ€™ Aduaâ€™s return, Gowon said the return is only a claim as nobody has informed the people, neither has anyone seen the President to confirm the story.
To get out of the logjam,Â Chairman of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) and former governor of Kaduna State, Alh. Balarabe Musa asked the Federal Executive Council to issue a statement on the situation on ground, even as Gov Gabriel Suswan of Benue confirmed that the governors were yet to take any decision on the President but will do so when they meet.
However,Â Northen leaders seem to be divided over who is in charge of the country.
While former Kano State governor, Abubakar Rimi and Tanko Yakasai, a Second Republic presidential adviser who is among a group that took the National Assembly to court challenging its resolution empowering Vice President Goodluck Jonathan to step in as acting President say the North does not recognise Ag President Jonathan,others from that region such as former EFCC boss, Nuhu Ribadu and ex Deputy Senate president, Ibrahim Mantu think otherwise.
â€œThey know the power game is over and they are trying to reach out by telling Jonathanâ€™s people that they meant well,â€ one source privy to the development disclosed at the weekend.
The reality was further conveyed after some siblings of the President complained that they were not allowed to see their brother on Thursday. The siblings who came to Abuja alongsideÂ Â the Presidentâ€™s mother, Hajia Dada were unable to see the ailing President.
Jonathanâ€™s decision to assert authority as articulated by aides and close associates was upon the frustrations he received when he made two abortive attempts to see President Yarâ€˜Adua following the Presidentâ€™s alleged return to the presidential villa on Wednesday morning. Senior government officials confirmed that as at press time neither Dr. Jonathan nor any other government official couldÂ see the ailing President.
The Acting Presidentâ€™s resolve is being backed by Senators who are claiming ignorance of the Presidentâ€™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 Presidentâ€™s return.
Sources within and outside the presidency disclosed at the weekend that when Dr. Goodluck heard of the Presidentâ€™s return in the wee hours of Wednesday morning,Â Â he waited until dawn toÂ Â visit the President. Dr. Jonathan according to one source was accompanied by his wife, Patience on the visit but were turned backÂ Â 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.
â€œWhen he came the second time the security men lookedÂ Â at one another and didnâ€™t know what to say again but still held on to their ground that the Acting President could not see the President,â€ one source privy to the affair disclosed.
Dr. Jonathan according to other presidency sources, however, steered away from confronting the aides as he deliberately sidestepped 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 Yarâ€˜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 Presidentâ€™s return to the country until he transmits a letter of his return to the National Assembly.
Some other Senators are even insisting that beyound 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-Mullud greeting yesterday he deliberately side-stepped the contentious issue of the Presidentâ€™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 Yarâ€˜Adua is believed to be unhappy with his aides who sources close to him accuse of using the Presidentâ€™s name for their selfish reasons.