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Why Jonathan must dissolve Yar’Adua’s cabinet now — Akintola, SAN

By Ise-Oluwa Ige

In the wee hours of November 23, 2009, President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua was hurriedly flown out of Aso Rock to Saudi Arabia for urgent medical attention. The urgency of the evacuation, Nigerians were made to understand, neither allowed the President to inform his Deputy, Dr Jonathan Goodluck, that he was proceeding on medical vacation nor permitted him to cede powers to him in accordance with the provision of section 145 of the 1999 constitution.

President Yar’ Adua’s return three months after he was wheeled out of the Aso Rock, analysts say is  meant to create confusion in the polity and disorientate the Acting President, Dr Goodluck.  An Ibadan-based member of the inner bar, Chief Adeniyi Akintola, SAN, said the confusion brought about by the sudden return of President Yar’Adua into the country was solely caused by the Acting President. He said Jonathan has not really shown to the cabinet members and the entire country that he was in charge. He said that he would constantly suffer from unnecessary distractions except he was able to take the bull by the horns. He spoke on the dirty power-game at Aso Rock in his Abuja Office.

He speaks:
What is happening now is quite unfortunate. Quite unfortunate in the sense that the man who is sick is mortal just like every one of us. Anybody can fall sick. But it is unfortunate that some people somewhere sat down, manipulating the man knowing fully that he is incapacitated. I say this because the Yar’Adua we all know will not subscribe to all the things that are happening now. He is being used as an experiment. Don’t forget that the first thing the cabal did prior to November 23, 2009 was to manipulate the entire 150 million Nigerians by flying the kite that the two arms of the National Assembly were quarreling.

We never knew that it was a ploy to deceive Nigerians. It was a ploy because the President was incapable of going there to present the budget. They now orchestrated a discord which never really happened. But because of the kind of people we have at the helms of affairs of this country, instead of them to come out and say this never happened, all of them kept quiet.

It was just about a week ago that they started coming out to say that such a thing never happened between them. Then, he was smuggled out of the country without the knowledge of his own deputy. And we were made to understand that he left the country without doing the simplest thing of writing a letter to the National Assembly in accordance with section 145 of the 1999 constitution. He needed not sign the letter himself. That letter, for all I cared, could have been signed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

The same cabal that didn’t allow him to do that was able to procure, albeit, a purported budget that was said to have been signed by him. For more than two months, the country was left rudderless until the National Assembly invoked the doctrine of necessity to empower Goodluck Jonathan as Acting President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Although, many of us condemned what the National Assembly did but we said: well, in order for the country to move forward, that was fair enough. If that is the only thing that we want: to bend the rule in order to ensure that the country is not destabilized, so be it. And as soon as Jonathan began to settle down, the cabal struck again, purportedly brought the ailing President Yar’Adua into the country under the cover of darkness.

Of course, one aircraft came before the presidential jet. Then, later, the presidential jet came.

A supposedly ambulance had moved towards the aircraft. But I never saw anything being brought out of the aircraft. And that vehicle was there for over an hour by the side of the aircraft. Nobody could say what was happening. Only those who were present could give vivid account of what really transpired. And as if that was not really enough, the Acting President was not even notified. He was nowhere to be found at the airport.

Worse still, troops were deployed to the airport without his knowledge. For all intents and purposes, the man is the Acting President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria until the contrary is proved. He has been so empowered by the National assembly. They relied on Section 145 of the constitution which we thought was for mere political expediency.

Up till now, no single government officials whether of the executive, the legislature or the judiciary has seen Mr President, seven days after he came to the country. Nobody can claim to have had an audience with Mr President. One would have thought that if he was well enough to come into the country, he would have made a number of public appearances. I am not a medical doctor but I know that anybody being transported in an air ambulance could not be said to be fit and proper, well enough to handle the affairs of his own family not to talk of the affairs of the entire nation.

And come to think of it, when Fidel Castro was sick, he was allowed to be visited by world leaders. Nigeria is not just any other country. Here is the largest black nation on earth. And anybody heading such a country is not only important to his family but also to the entire black race.

The truth is that we have been pushing our luck too far. And unfortunately, Nigeria is not immune to instability. Niger experience is a case in study. These politicians should talk to themselves. I just couldn’t understand the desperation of this so called cabal trying to put the interest of over 150 million Nigerians in jeopardy because of their selfish interest which they are protecting. Yar’Adua we all know is not a person that will want to force himself on anybody at all costs. They are manipulating him and they are not even being fair to him.

And let me say that all these talks that Jonathan is not in charge is being caused by Jonathan himself. He has to be firm. Why must he be taking instructions from Press Secretary, from a First Lady. Was she elected? The president and the vice president came in on a joint ticket. Anybody who is in doubt should go and read the case of Atiku against INEC. They came in on a joint ticket.

In other words, the vice president is not subordinate to any other person in the whole country except to Mr President alone. He is not subject to the control of anybody. I was amused when I heard on the radio and television that the First Lady sent for him. What an impudence?

I think the problem really is that Jonathan himself should purge himself of this inferiority complex thing. There are quite a number of people undermining his powers. And all those people are committing treason. And it is high-time he directed his  Attorney-General to do the right thing.  I appreciate his humility.  I appreciate his humble beginning. But he has to realize that leading a nation as big as this requires more than being humble. As a first step, he should dissolve the Executive Council of the Federation. By the time that is done, everybody will sit up. He would then have only the National Assembly to contend with if he wants to constitute another FEC.

For now, the solution lies in the hands of Jonathan. He should dissolve the Federal Executive Council. He has all the powers.

People have been saying that Yar’Adua is back? The question I have for them is: Have you seen him? Has he communicated to the National Assembly that he is back? Has he broadcasted to the nation that he is back? Let him stand up and be counted. Not even our friend, Segun Adeniyi, could have claimed to have seen the man. So what are we talking about. Contrary to people’s fear that it would bring about confusion and compound the problem on ground, it will not.

Rather, it will solve it. Everybody knows that he is in charge. He has gotten international recognition. Nigerians, overwhelmingly, through the entire National Assembly without any dissenting voice gave him the powers to exercise. That decision is not late. It is better late than never. It will be a test of his acceptance. He should have done that and that the issue of section 144 would now solve the remaining problem once and for all.

If Yar’Adua transmits a letter today, it is still not capable of making him come back to power. He must be seen to be fit, commissioning projects. Then , at that time, nobody will tell Jonathan that the game is up. He would have seen the handwriting on the wall. But now, he will be failing in his duty to the black race, to the 150million Nigerians and to himself if he fails to take charge of the situation because the buck stops on his table.


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