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Yar’Adua: Clerics divided over calls for resignation

By Sam Eyoboka
Christians and Muslims of different denominations  across the nation have intensified prayers for the
recovery of the nation’s number one citizen, President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua who is said to be receiving treatment in a Saudi hospital for  Pericarditis , an inflammation of the thin layer of specialised tissue bordering the outer surfaces of the heart.

As doctors are battling to save his life in the Saudi hospital, there were calls by eminent Nigerians including former Senate president, Ken Nnamani, for the man’s resignation to pave way for the vice president to run the affairs of the nation.

The Action Congress, AC, went ahead to accuse a cabal within the PDP, of benefitting from the president’s ill health and his refusal to step down.

However, the nation’s highest administrative organ, the Federal Executive Council, FEC, made up of the President, Vice President, all the Ministers, Secretary to the Government, Head of Service, Chief Economic Adviser to the President and the National Security Adviser condemned the calls.

At the weekly meeting, the group said the ship of state is running on course and there is no need for people to panic.

For this we went to town to feel the pulse of the clergymen in the country and the following are the reactions  of some of them.

One person cannot hold Nigeria to ransom —Cardinal Okogie

CATHOLIC Archbishop of Lagos, Anthony Cardinal Okogie is one person who does not hold back his feeling especially concerning the affairs of the nation. When our reporter asked him about the calls on the president to resign on account of ill health, Okogie threw his support, saying that nobody should hold the nation to ransom.

“My friend, one person should not hold the nation to ransom. The man cannot rule the nation from his sick bed in Saudi Arabia,” he said.


The cardinal bemoaned the situation that the Vice President Goodluck Jonathan is currently being sidelined even in the absence of his boss, saying that it is appalling and unacceptable anywhere in the civilised world. According to Okogie, “if a man is married and something happened to the man, the wife automatically takes over the affairs of the family in the absence of the man of the family.”

He said it is not acceptable that Vice President Jonathan cannot perform the functions of the state while his boss is away taking care of his health in far away Saudi Arabia, pointing out that such attitude is what is responsible for the poor state of affairs in the country because we do not fear God and are not sincere to ourselves.

“We think we can do without God in Nigeria. Can you see what is happening to our sports? People who should be playing for our Super Eagles are the ones we are using to feature for our Under 17 World Cup Competition. Look at our Super Eagles and what is happening generally to our sports in the country,” he argued.

“We are not sincere to ourselves. Nigerians do not want honesty. Anywhere you go now, people look at you with so much suspicion, thinking that you are one of those crooks,” he added.

Okogie blamed the erstwhile President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo for the current situation saying that Obasanjo knew that President Yar’Adua is not well. “Take a look at the  campaign that preceded his election in 2007. He was hardly campaigning. Many of us asked several questions then as to when he was going to do his own campaign.

It was Obasanjo who campaigned for his election. At one point, at the rostrum, the Television reported the then President as asking Yar’Adua to debunk rumours that he was dead”.

Continuing, he said the man should go and take care of himself while allowing his deputy to run the affairs of the nation, because the country is too big to be held to ransom by one individual. “Let the man go and cure himself. He is entitled to it.

There is no man who cannot fall sick. He should take proper care of his health but it is unfair on the nation for the man to continue to pretend as if he is running the affairs of the nation from his sick bed. For God sake, this country is made up of over 140 million persons and no one man can hold such a number of population to ransom.

“Anybody can be sick and he also has the right to go to anywhere to cure himself but in doing so, he should not hold the nation to ransom” .

Things should be done properly —Pastor Oritsejafor

NATIONAL President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor would rather look at the issue from two different perspectives  saying that the president’s ill health is still being shrouded in top secrecy by officials of government.

“Honestly, one of the things that had led to all kinds of speculations in the media is because we, the Nigerian citizens do not still know how serious his ailment is. Why are they keeping the details of the man’s travails from the public? In all honesty, I must tell you that my first and primary response to your question would be to urge Nigerians to pray for the man in accordance with biblical injunction.

The Bible says in I Timothy 2:1-2; “Exhort therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. That is my number one reaction.

“I will urge every Nigerian to offer prayers to God for the speedy recovery of the president. We should all pray for his health,” Oritsejafor stated.

Continuing, he expressed disgust as to the happenings in the country since the news of the President’s incapacitation broke about two weeks ago when it was obvious that he wasn’t going to present the 2010 budget estimates to a joint session of the National Assembly.

According to the PFN helmsman, while Nigerians are praying and waiting for the safe return of the president to Aso Rock, it is important for the nation to run in accordance to the nation’s constitution.

“While we are waiting and praying for the president’s speedy recovery, it is important to make sure that the country runs as a nation and must be seen to be running. We have a Vice President and he should step into the shoes of his boss to do the duties of the President. It is worrisome to see lower persons in order of protocol, appearing to be running the affairs of the nation.

It is worrisome! What is happening now does not portray this country as a one united and civilised nation with a common destiny where over 140 million persons can live together without suspicion.

“I must say that the development is troubling! My deepest concern right now is not asking the President to resign but things should run in accordance with the constitution of the country. I want to believe that we are hearing calls for the man’s resignation because of these strange developments in the polity. People are wondering why the Vice President cannot act for him while he is away in Saudi Arabia taking treatment.

“Take a close look at the presidency and you will understand why people are calling for the President’s resignation.

Who is running the nation at the moment? Why can’t the Vice President take charge of affairs while the president is sick? These are the things agitating people’s  mind to make such calls. People making those calls are aware that anybody can get sick but they are worried that the due process has not been followed in terms of who should hold brief for the president while he was away.

“We should be seen as a people with a constitution and until that document is amended, it should be followed to the letter especially with regards to who is in control of the state affairs while the president is sick and out of the country for treatment. As things are now, some of us are confused as what is happening presently,” Oritsejafor said.

He needs our prayers—Archbishop Ademowo

THE Anglican Archbishop of Lagos, Dr. Ephraim Ademowo will not want to be dragged into the politics of whether President Yar’Adua should resign or not, Instead, he prefers to urge every Nigerian irrespective of religious persuasion to pray for the ailing president so that the man can recover quickly and come back to his desk and continue where he stops.

“It is on record that we have been urging people to pray for the speedy recovery of the man so that he can come back to his table and perform the responsibilities for which he was voted into office. He is a human being like anyone of us and we are just busy praying that he should recover and come back to do his work as the president of the country.

“I am not a politician and will not comment on current calls for his resignation. I am rather concerned with his speedy recovery and that is why we are fervently praying for him,”

We should allow him to resign —Alhaji Adamgba

Alhaji Suleiman Adamgba is the National Chief Missioner for Al-Fatih-ul Qureeb Islamic Society of Nigeria. He is of the opinion that the current situation in the country is worrisome and if Nigerians are sincere to themselves, they should allow the president to resign and go and take care of his failing health.

“If we are straightforward in this country, we should allow the man to resign because his health should be more important to him than the affairs of the nation,” he told our reporter, adding that the way things are in the nation, we are saddled with more sycophants who do nothing except for their own selfish interests.

“You know that as a country, we always like to deceive ourselves,” Adamgba said. “If not, it is very obvious that the President is not well enough to continue to grapple the problem of leadership which you will agree with are enormous especially in a nation like Nigeria. The challenges of leadership can make a healthy man sick, not to talk of a man who was not known to be of good health.”

He called on Nigerians to pray for the quick recovery of the president even as the details of health situation are being shrouded in secrecy, adding that those who are currently clamouring for the President’s resignation should do so out of their genuine desire for the good of the country.

“For all you care, those who are clamouring for his resignation now have ulterior motive. If the calls for his resignation are borne out genuine concern for the nation, I will support it whole heartedly but if it is for their selfish motive, then they should think of something else to do.”

The chief missioner who did not go to Mecca this year for personal reasons, said he knows the president well enough to know that he will not hold anything back from his political allies if they would venture to go to Saudi Arabia to find out about his personal opinion.

“I know the man very well. If political leaders in the country including members of his political party, PDP, the National Assembly and other sincere stakeholders should go to him and ask him for his opinion , he will not hide anything from them”.


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