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Back To Presidential Anomie

THE enthusiastic expectation of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s return from his medical trip to Saudi Arabia has been eclipsed by the silence about the state of his health even after an ambulance took him to the Presidential Villa on Wednesday morning.

Nigerians are being taken for a ride again. The country is relapsing into further anomie. We do not know what to make of the incident of the morning of Wednesday.

The most forgiving accounts talked about the lights in the airport area where the President was moved from the Saudi presidential air ambulance into a State House ambulance being switched off.  The ambulance zoomed off to the State House and the media was told that the President was back.

The sudden return, after a 90-day absence, has grave implications for the country’s politics. The National Assembly resolution that made Goodluck Jonathan acting President on 9 February has given the condition for the President’s immediate resumption of office as transmission of a letter to the National Assembly once he returned.

Senate President David Bonaventure Alechenu Mark added a provision when in a speech he delivered after the resolution said there must be proof the President was medically fit to continue in office.

How the National Assembly would resolve the evolving political jam would be one of the new phases of our political history. There are indications the National Assembly may not tolerate further insipidity in the leadership of the Presidency.

The speed with which the Senate amended the contentious Sections 145 and 190 of the Constitution which deal with the manner of the Executive handing over power at the federal and state levels show the efforts to ensure the country runs on full steam would be pursued furiously. It is left for the House of Representatives to approve the same amendments.

A longer journey awaits the amendments as two-thirds of the State Houses of Assembly (24) have to approve, before a presidential assent will make them the first amendments of the Constitution.

If the synergy the Senate and the House of Representatives established with the Doctrine of Necessity continues, State Governors may again come to the rescue by getting state legislators into line.

All these reside within speculations and uncertainties. One of the few things that is certain at this time is that President Yar’Adua’s return has not brought the joy his followers expected.

With his closest cabinet members denied access to him, without Nigerians seeing him and the country still wondering what has become of him, the constitutional crisis the Doctrine of Necessity was meant to forestall is emerging.

Whatever the interests, the survival of Nigeria’s democracy must be placed above any individual’s interests.
More political savvy would be required to nudge someone into enough consciousness to recognise that no ship –especially this ship – can have two captains.


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