BY DANIEL IDONOR, Asst News Editor
Certainly these are the not the best of times for Nigeriaâ€™sÂ loyal incumbent Vice President, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, as he is said to be receiving an overdose of what he did not bargainÂ for while seeking the exalted number two citizenâ€™s office.
At least,Â it is said that the greatest wish of the Vice President right now is for his boss, President Umaru Musa Yarâ€™Adua to get well and leave his sick bed at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where he has been undergoing treatment in the last 54 days. This isÂ to save him from the daily agony of being at the receiving end of castigation from bothÂ hisÂ Â political camp and the political camp of his boss over what he didÂ Â not doÂ and what he should have done which he refused to do.
This is because since the unfortunate incident of the Presidentâ€™s ill health Vice President Goodluck Jonathan has comeÂ under intensive political pressure from the Yarâ€™Adua political dynasty, the so called Katsina Mafia and the Presidentâ€™s kitchen cabinet, on the one hand andÂ fromÂ Â Â Â key players within hisÂ political hemisphereÂ Â both at the national and Niger_Delta region levels as well as the Ijaw Nation.
Following strident calls for the president to resign theÂ Pro Yarâ€™Adua group has linkedÂ the Vice President to sponsoring every negative move against Yarâ€™AduaÂ Â so as to enable him take over the mantle of leadership.
Such negative moves, according to the pro_Yarâ€™Adua group include the recent call, precisely on December 1, 2009 by more than 50 prominent Nigerians across professions and spanning the six geopolitical zones on the ailing President to resign his office immediately or unconditionally hand over to the Vice_President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, who keeps pledging his loyalty to Yarâ€™Adua.
In a statement entitled; â€œPresident Yarâ€™Aduaâ€™s health condition and the state of the nation,â€ the group which sympathized with the President enjoined him throwâ€“in the towel because of the â€œthe need to provide effective governance for this nation of over 150 million people cannot be compromisedâ€.
Since then there have been series of utterances both for and against the President but while no one is accused of being responsible for the positive reports on the President the Vice President has always be at the receiving end of all the perceived negative actions against the President Yarâ€™Adua.
In fact, there is hardly a single paragraph of any news story on the health of the President, the constitutionality of his continuous stay abroad, and why he should have handed over properly to his Vice, considered negative and offensive by the Yarâ€™Adua group thatÂ Â hasÂ Â not beenÂ attributed to the efforts or sponsorship of the Vice President.
This invisible group was so fierce in its operations that even cabinet members who are aware of its modus operandi had deliberately refused to visit the Vice President either officially or privately as such visit can be interpreted to mean solidarity and loyalty to a perceived â€œemerging new orderâ€.
The situation was so bad that unconfirmed reports say thereÂ manyÂ Â private and official engagements of the Vice President have to be postponed or out rightly put off due to the activities of these political hawks who monitor the Vice President daily with a view to findingÂ Â fault with him so as to report to Mr President whenever he returns; thereby creating disharmony between the duo and heating up the polity.
Even the recent legal action by initiated by some lawyers including social crusaderÂ Mr Femi Falana and Mr Aliyu in their separate suits urged the court to ask the President to allow the Vice President to take full control while he receives medical attention.
Justice Abutu, delivering his ruling on a suit filed by Amobi Nzelu on behalf of another lawyer, Christopher Onwuekwe, said the failure of Yarâ€™Adua to transmit a letter to the National Assembly, informing it of his medical trip to Saudi Arabia and his desire for Jonathan to perform his duties until his return had made it impossible for the latter to emerge as acting President.
On the other hand, it is of course a different ball game in the camp of Vice President Jonathan as it considers all these false accusations against their principal as highly provocative, since it believed all the insinuations perceptions rumours about one move or another by the Vice President are not in his character ans as such would want the personality of their principal to be distanced from all these political imaginations.
The camp is further angered by the swiftness in the way and manner the pro Yarâ€™Adua group is carrying on with the whole scenario, creating an impression that all is not well between the duo of the President and the Vice President. The Jonathanâ€™s political hit men were further piqued by the fact that the Presidentâ€™s ill health, any misfortune or even death for that matter is not in the political calculation of the Vice President.
According to this group, â€œthe Vice Presidentâ€™s plan is to ensure his total loyalty to his boss, President Yarâ€™Adua throughout the first and, if God permits, the second term. This has been and will continue to be our desireâ€. The group was quick to add that it is not unaware of the antics of those parading themselves as political allies of Mr President, â€œbut we know they are not.â€
The group said the confidence Mr President on the absolute loyalty of the Vice President isÂ not in doubt, because, according to it, the latter has proven his unalloyed loyalty to former at more critical times, â€œso we are not moved at all by all these political perambulators in the corridors of Aso Rock who have no access to Saudi Arabiaâ€
While the Yarâ€™Adua group which membership is dominated by people of Hausa/ Fulani ethnic group continues to fire free shots into air, those who are also ready to die for the Vice President, mostly from the Ijaw ethnic extraction have not relented in responding to each bullet fired from the north thereby bringing ethnic flavor to the whole thing.
Although the Vice President group acknowledged the existence of this crossfire, it said neither the President nor the Vice President is involved or has engaged either of the two groups to work for them but lamented that since the President is not in the country, its principal, the Vice President has been in the middle of the cross fire.
In all these however, the Vice President has remained the Goodluck Jonathan he is, showing high level commitment, resilience, humility, unassuming yet dedicated and loyal to the wishes and aspirations of his boss as he never hesitated to make mention or reference to the President whenever the need arises.