By Chioma Gabriel, Deputy Editor

Since the news of Yar’Adua’s ailment broke on November 27, Nigeria has been in a precarious political situation. Uncertainty seems to be the order of the day. The centre no longer holds and the nation has been on edge.
President Umaru Yar’Adua’s ailment  has generated a lot of controversy with politicians of different divides holding all manner of opinions  regarding  his ability  to continue to  perform the functions of his office.

President Yar’ Adua, before this time,  had made  series of trips abroad on issues regarding his health. Only recently, he was flown to a clinic in the Red Sea port of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia  after complaining of chest pains and was diagnosed with acute pericarditis, an inflammation of the membrane around the heart that can restrict normal beating of the heart.

This  revelation has left Nigerians wondering the fate of the nation without a sitting president. The initial hope that President Yar’Adua will soon be back has been thwarted several times. Nigerians from different walks of life have been asking questions, especially with the seeming laid back position of Vice President Goodluck Jonathan.

With the year ending and no sign that the President is coming home, Nigerian politicians have taken a look at the nation and agreed that indeed, politically, the year 2009 has been a trying one for Nigeria.

There is a problem in the polity- Iro Dan Musa, politician

Well, it’s been a very difficult year for Nigeria and we hope that next year, things will be better. You see, right now, we have a  problem with the supplementary  budget and only the President will sign the bill by the National Assembly. We hope that Mr. President will be healthy enough to sign it early enough  because we have never heard of the budget being extended.

This is one thing  the Vice President cannot do  since the President has not directed the National Assembly on what to do in his absence.

We are really  missing a lot of things despite the talk that government is running because some of the President’s  powers are to be exercised by the president or by another through the President’s written permit. But in the present circumstances, there is no written permit.

So, all we can hope for is his early recovery. There is a lot of confusion. Even the amnesty to the militants in the Niger Delta is  shaky because of the  absence of the presence and hence , the delay in fulfilling the promises he made to the region.

The North basically believes in the exercise of the constitution. Everything is clear.  We are not looking for a replacement for Yar’ Adua  because the constitution is there to be followed .But this is not the case of inability to run the country. It’s a case of  illness and all that  one can expect is quick recovery. As it is, the president has not said he cannot continue and that the VP should continue or act in his absence.

Nigerians are kept in suspence -  Lawal Kaita, AC chieftain

The end of year is dull without any excitement. People’s expectations politically are quashed. The absence of the President worsens matters. Nigerians are left without being told what is going on. There is  need to know where the President is, how he is and when he is coming back. It’s nearly four weeks that he is gone and they need to tell the nation the true situation. We are not complaining about his sickness because anybody can be sick. There is nothing to hide but the secrecy is killing Nigerians.

The secrecy is the problem because he is our President and it is our right to know how he is and when nobody is saying anything, it becomes worrisome.

The VP should be doing certain things but the mystery of the silence has not helped the matter. They should tell us because we need to know. He is our President we wish him well. Nobody wishes him bad but the nation must be run and that is what we have been saying.. This  silence is causing the nation more harm than good.

We are nearing a state of crisis, Balarabe Musa, 2nd republic governor of Kaduna state

It is unfortunate for the nation that we are in a situation like this and nearing  a state of crisis which may lead to a vacuum in government. There is no Acting President and nobody knows anything about the President’s condition.

There is no information. It is nonsense to say he can rule from any part of the world.

It is risky and the Chief Justice has reached the retirement age  but there is  nobody to  swear in the new Chief Justice and this is one role only the President can perform. So, we are nearing crisis because the  consequence following the present situation is a vacuum in government and that may lead to Interim Government.

Nobody is acting for the president. We are not officially told that the VP is acting. The VP cannot say he is acting for the president. The constitution is not being followed in the handling of this issue.

It is terrible that nobody knows the position of things with Mr President. What we need to know is the position of things with him. We need to know  when he is coming back, his exact medical condition. There is no need asking for his resignation or for him to say he is not capable of leading Nigeria. We need to get things  done because things are degenerating as it were.

Nigeria needs wisdom — Mrs Sarah Jubril, front line female politician

This year has not been our best but we cannot lose faith in our Creator. The Creator of Nigeria should sort things out for the nation. God will hold Nigeria. God will give us strength to stick together as He has been doing.

My hope is that next year, all these things should be resolved. Let us apply wisdom in everything we do so that things will continue to be in harmony.  God will restore what the locust has eaten. He will restore what the cankerworm and  the palmer worms have destroyed.

We hope that next year will be better and despite what is going on now, we should  continue to stick together as a nation and keep praying that our president will be back, healthy to continue the work he is doing.

Yar’ Adua’s illness is a sad development,  Barnabas Gemade, former national chairman of PDP

Well, 2009 is a year of mixed political  fortunes. We can say that the drive towards political reforms is a welcome development as we were worried about the conduct of past elections. Nigerians are looking forward to  better elections in 2011.

It has been very sad to Nigerians that the President is ill. It is not his fault. It is unfortunate that some Nigerians were saying all kinds of things. It is not our culture to mock someone because of illness. The President is the symbol of our country.

Discussing his problem on the pages of newspapers is like mocking the country. We have persevered so many things in the past when we had bad government. Now, it is not a question of bad government, but the president’s illness and I plead with Nigerians to continue to persevere as we have done in the past and we hope our President comes back to us very soon.

We should stop talking as if he was the one to be blamed for the sickness. He is not. He wants to serve the country the best way he could. It is only unfortunate that sickness is trying to weigh him down.

This is a trying period for Nigeria, Bawa Bwari, Former Chief Whip of House of Reps

Nigeria is going through  its most trying period. A lot has happened and we don’t want to remember all that happened in 2009 or take them to 2010. We pray that we leave behind the unfortunate incidents that happened in 2009 and pave our way to a better 2010 so that Nigeria can rise  high again.

Really, in 2009, Nigeria went down as one of the countries that did not perform well politically, economically and socially. There were a lot of problems in the Niger Delta. There were also a lot of kidnapping and road accidents as a result of bad roads.

There was a lot of complaints from the citizens against the government at various levels: the local, state and federal levels. The issue of Nigeria without President Yar’ Adua is an unfortunate development but this is one thing that happens from time to time in many countries. It is not a new thing. It has happened in many countries but it depends on how the country men and women handle the situation.

We are not operating in a vacuum like some people believe. The only problem is that there are certain responsibilities that only the President can handle which unfortunately he cannot handle now. Maybe, he didn’t know he was going to stay that long and that was why he didn’t handover. But the proper thing would have been to put somebody there to be acting on his behalf because this country is greater than any individual.

It is important to know the condition of the president but it is equally important to respect the privacy of not only the President but other Nigerians. It is not everything about his sickness that should be divulged. There are issues  that are important like the fact that the president is ill and the nature of his ailment and that has been communicated to us.

What we also need to know is whether the President can continue or not. Secondly, the country needs to know for how long the President would be away. Is it for three months, one month or more? That would be enough. But if Nigerians want to know more about his condition, what can we do about it? The important information should only be communicated to us.

I understand the plight of Nigerians but I know things are moving. The usual New Year message can be done by states  and local governments or other cadres of the federal government can give the message of  hope to Nigeria. The VP can send the New Year message to Nigerians.

If you ask me who is in charge, I will tell you that Nigerians are in charge. It is the people’s mandate. If you look at the Constitution, the various arms of the government are given roles to play at all levels and they are all working. And there is the VP and they still perform their duties.

The budget is with the national assembly and we hope that they will  approve the budget proposal as submitted by the President before he travelled. So, all will be well if we are wise.


Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.