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Yar’Adua: Unending intrigues inside presidency

By Dayo Benson, Political Editor
The web of intrigues being woven around President Umaru Yar’Adua’s state of health are becoming rather complex.  From his departure from the country November 23 last year, his actual whereabouts, his controversial broadcast to BBC, his odd return to the country February 24, to how he is faring, the actual picture remains hazy.

Perhaps, the truth is only known to those around him and those who claim to have seen him a couple of days ago. The reported visit to the ailing President by some Muslim clerics a day after the Senate concluded ministerial screening, probably indicated that some surprises await Nigerians in the days ahead.

As governor of Katsina State, Yar’Adua subjected the people of the state to this kind of current uncertainty about his health condition. He was away from the state for six months on medical trip abroad. He returned to the state unannounced and returned to his seat.

There may be a repeat of his dramatic return to power any moment from now.  Though of quiet mien, those who know Yar’Adua said he is the type that will not let go off power, no matter the situation. A source informed that any day the President believes he is fit enough to resume work, he would summon his chief security officer, CSO and his aide de camp, ADC and inform them of his intention.  According to the source, “Yar’Adua is a man that enjoys springing surprises”.  But another source said before he resumes the President will first make a national broadcast.

Whatever form it may take, the possibility of Yar’Adua’s return looms large in the Presidency. Even if he is not in charge now, he remains the elected President and his presence in the Villa constitutes a distraction of sort to Acting President Goodluck Jonathan. The dissolution and subsequent reconstitution of the Executive Council of the Federation, EXCOF, and replacement of some presidential aides may have clipped the wings of the cabal inside the Presidency, but they are levying a psychological warfare on Jonathan from outside.  One of the strategies is to continually invoke a possibility of the President’s return to hold back Jonathan.  But the ultimate objective it seems is to prevent him from becoming substantive President.

A dependable source said Yar’Adua might return to his seat next week . If that happens, the first casualty will be the newly constituted cabinet.

“You know the President cannot work with the people he did not know. So, what he will simply do is to recall his own ministers”, said the source.  Speaking further, the source added, “he will also dissolve the Presidential Advisory Council and he will sack the National Security Adviser, NSA”.

Indeed, the most disturbing aspect of the unfurling suspense filled drama is the curious fact that the Acting President has not seen the President over a month after his return. Those who are in a position to know believe Jonathan might have seen Yar’Adua shortly after his return.

They argued that a conviction that it would take a special miracle for the President to come back has made Jonathan to do all what he has done so far. It was gathered that he had actually seen his boss and a deal must have been struck with the President’s wife Hajia Turai Yar’Adua not to say anything.  But events of past few days have not lent credence to that theory.

Last Friday, following the controversial visit by some Muslim clerics to Yar’Adua in which they claimed to have met him seated, media aide to the Acting President, Mr. Ima Niboro, for the umpteenth time said the Vice President has not set his eyes on the President. Two days after some Christian clerics, also claimed they visited the President.

So, the question many are asking is: how come two sets of clerics were allowed to visit the President when the Acting President has not seen him. The visits remain very controversial and have been generating reactions.  According to the Islamic group that first visited, they met Yar’ Adua in company of his wife Hajia Turai Yar’ Adua and the president’s ADC.

The Abuja Chief Imam who led the pack stated further that Yar’ Adua could not talk, but stretched out his hands in prayerful supplication when they offered to pray with him for his quick recovery.

He (Imam) also said the president shook hands with them (guests) when they arrived and repeated the gesture when they were leaving even as he dismissed insinuation that Yar’ Adua was under a life support machine.

Unlike their muslim counterparts, Christian clerics who also visited Yar’Adua refused to divulged the state in which they met Yar’Adua

However, while reacting to the development in a telephone interview with Vanguard, Nigeria Bar Association president, Mr Rotimi  Akeredolu SAN,  said:  If heavens will fall, let it fall. If he will resume, let him resume and we will take it from there. The talk of people seeing him is idle talk. He should come out and talk to Nigerians .Until he does that, all those talks about some Imam seeing him and shaking hands  wit him are idle talks. If he fails to come out and talk to Nigerians , then Nigerians should press for his resignation  or impeachment.

Also speaking in a similar vein, Prof. Sagay said it was part of ploy to prevent Acting President Goodluck Jonathan from becoming substantive president. According to him, “if he returns and he is in good shape it is okay; shaking  people’s  hand is one thing and being able to govern the  country is another thing.

If he comes back in good health, it’s ok. But going by what I read about his health condition it will take a miracle for  him to come back so all that talk about his likely come back is part of the cover_up and maneouvering by d group that does not want Jonathan to become substantive president by always talking about Yar’Adua coming  back


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