By Dapo Akinrefon
ALHAJI Lai Mohammed is the National Publicity Secretary of the Action Congress, AC. In this interview with Vanguard, he expressed optimism that the new Federal Executive Council, FEC, will be courageous enough to invoke Section 144 to declare ailing President Yarâ€™Adua unfit to continue in office as a way of putting an end to the constitutional crisis. Excerpts:
MIXED reactions greeted the decision of the Acting President, Goodluck Jonathan when he dissolved the Federal Executive Council, FEC. Would you say itâ€™s a step in the right direction?
Absolutely. There are three reasons why we believe that the decision of the acting president to dissolve the Federal Executive Council, was a positive step. It was clear that until the acting president did so, he could not be said that he had his own team; you see, at the end of the day, the bulk stops on his desk, so it is important for him to have men and women whom he trusts and believe can execute his agenda and policies. Secondly, it was clear from what happened in the run up to the dissolution of the Federal Executive Council because then FEC as then constituted, was not loyal to him.
In other words, we had a very part of the former Federal Executive Council thatÂ believed that the Acting President was an impostor and that the real mandate was with the ailing President Yarâ€™Adua. And they even got so bold that 12 of them, who called themselves the 12 wise men, wrote a letter to him that he (Jonathan) dare not dissolve the Federal Executive Council and that this administration was not his own but that of President Yarâ€™Adua. Finally, you can see that former members of the Federal Executive Council lacked courage and patriotism which led us to the sorry path.
It was also the selfish interest of some members of the former Federal Executive Council that made them not to rise up to the occasion when Mr President was obviously seriously ill.Â Obviously, given those reasons, we believe that the dissolution of the former Federal Executive Council is a step in the right direction.
What is your position on the new cabinet list and the renomination of some former members of FEC?
Our position in the Action Congress, AC, is that unfortunately, Nigerians place much emphasis on individual nominees,Â whereas, there is a very severe implication on what a minister or a cabinet member can do, if the leader does not have a proper vision. The acting president is in this case, does not have a clear and proper vision and how he wants to achieve his agenda.
There are very many Nigerians who have excelled in their various professions and who frankly speaking are competent to be made minister. Unfortunately, you find out that many people who have excelled in their profession are total failures when they become ministers. . Mostly because the vision or the policy programmes of the government they are serving is not clear. Therefore, as much as we insist that the president should look for men and women of integrity and patriotism to serve as ministers, at the same time there should be consideration onÂ what his own vision or agenda is.
Do you think the new Federal Executive Council that will be constituted will have the courage to invoke the necessary section of the constitution to declare ailing President Yarâ€™Adua unfit to continue in office?
We cannot vouch for them either way, but what we can say is that we hope and wish that they have the courage to do so. Because if they do not do so, Nigerians will continue to wobble.
You see we have an acting president, but our constitution does not provide for a permanent acting president.. As of today, we have an acting president but there is no provision for a vice president, that means that if the acting president should travel out of the country for official trip, who is going to act in his absence. Or God forbid, should he (Jonathan) now take ill, we are going to be thrown into another constitutional crisis, which is why it is important for us to go the whole hub, get the new Federal Executive CouncilÂ to invoke Section 144. Their loyalty and obligation is to the country and not to one person.