By Abdulwahab Abdulah
Action Congress (AC) has described as selfish and unpatriotic the ministers who reportedly wrote a memo to Acting President Goodluck Jonathan asking him not to dissolve the cabinet or move against the existing government structure.
In a statement issued in Lagos, yesterday, by its national publicity secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said while the 12 ministers who reportedly wrote the memo described themselves as â€˜wise menâ€™, their action was unconscionable and anything but a display of wisdom.
â€œWhen did the tail begin to wag the dog? Or is this memo part of the means which the cabal that is holding President Yarâ€™Adua hostage is using to intimidate Jonathan?â€, it queried.
It said the argument by the ministers that Jonathan neither has the power to dissolve the cabinet nor tamper with the offices of the service chiefs because Yarâ€™Adua is in the country brings to a painful reality the warning issued last week by the AC – in a communique after its NEC meeting in Benin – in which it said the presence of Yarâ€™Adua in Aso Rock is like a sword of Damocles hanging over the acting presidentâ€™s head.
The party recalled two key paragraphs from that communique thus: â€œThe mere fact that the president is right there in Aso Rock, whether he is fully conscious or not, is like a sword of Damocles hanging over the acting president.
Executive power is simultaneously vested in the president and the acting president, and this is a recipe for confusion.
â€œThe acting president can neither dissolve the cabinet or appoint new members into it. He cannot take bold actions, like dealing decisively with the electoral reform.â€™â€™
AC said the ministers must have taken a cue from the Governorsâ€™ Forum, which met recently and made comments virtually constraining the ability of the acting president to act beyond being a lame duck.
It wondered where the governors got their new-found powers from, or what part of the Constitution empowers them to dictate to the president or acting president of the country.
â€œWhile we admit that the governors have a right to form any association, that right does not empower them to take over the running of the country, as they are doing now. They should stay back in their states and provide good governance, which has eluded all but a handful of them.
â€œArrogating to themselves the power to issue directives to the acting president is a bad precedent, and the bandwagon effect is what we are now seeing, with ministers giving orders to the acting president in a convoluted show of power,â€™â€™ AC said.
The party blamed Jonathan for failing to take charge by exercising the executive powers vested in him, thus giving room for every self-important individuals and groups to push him around.