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JONATHAN: Panic grips ministers

By Jide Ajani & Henry Umoru
ABUJA—SEQUEL to the statement issued, weekend by Vice President, Goodluck Jonathan, panic has gripped some ministers and public office holders, Vanguard can reveal authoritatively.

Also, Vanguard understands that while the VP will not embark on  witch-hunting, he is out to “robe himself in a no-nonsense toga.” This is because he is about to get tougher about the style of operation of some ministers and heads of some government agencies and parastatals.

It was gathered that following disclosures three weeks earlier, when the Vice President instructed some ministers not to proceed on vacation, and about some ministers who might be exploiting the absence of ailing President Umaru Yar’Adua to carry out self-serving agenda, he “would now begin to get tough with a view to demonstrating that he was not picked as President Yar’Adua’s deputy for nothing, especially now that he is about to start acting fully”.

The source in Aso Rock told Vanguard that “what some Nigerians must understand about Vice President Jonathan is that the man is a system’s person and understands how the power game is structured and how it is played. He knows what he is doing.

All those who think he would embark on a voyage of witch-hunting are mistaken and grossly so however, those who think the man does not know what he is doing, and that they, in turn are the ones who are smart should be prepared for tougher times.

“You know the Vice President has kept to time since he started chairing FEC meetings from November 25, 2009.  The meeting is for 10.00 a.m. and it starts at 10.00 a.m. It is not about a new sheriff in town, or about a new Pharaoh who does not know Joseph; it is about doing what is right.

“The Vice President and other Nigerians are praying for the return of President Yar’Adua and anything to the contrary is sheer malice and mischief. The statement issued by the Office of the Vice President had to be issued.  We were beginning to see signs that some people were bent on mischief making and as far as we were concerned, that would not work; some people were already beginning to play pranks.

“You know we had discussed this matter before and the synergy between President Yar’Adua and his deputy is such that some people were never comfortable with it. But the truth is that the Vice President knows what President Yar’Adua would have done if he was here in the Villa to oversee things for himself. The man knows what his boss would have done at a time like this.  It was the same thing Mr. President did when he summoned the Power Minister, Babalola, and gave him a blank cheque to ensure that the power sector is made to work.

“Vice President Jonathan was also at that meeting when President Yar’Adua said ministers come and go but that whatever goes wrong, he, Yar’Adua would be held responsible.  Not even the interjection from the Vice President about the liability by association could deter the President from asserting that it is the President’s name that people would refer to.

“It is the same thing that is playing out now because Mr. Vice President is the one who chairs the Federal Executive Council, FEC, meetings – at least there have been five meetings now -  and whatever occurs in the country, it is the Vice President who is around. It is his name people would mention and they would ask what did he do about this?  What did he do about that while he acted?”

Meanwhile, the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Vincent Ogbulafor yesterday denied reports that the party was divided over the absence of the ailing President Umaru Yar’Adua who has been out of the country for medical attention in far away Saudi Arabia.

The PDP which maintained that there was no vacancy in the presidency, said, “we have always maintained that there is only one Presidency in Nigeria which must be insulated from dangerous schemes of power mongers”.

The PDP also accused the opposition especially those it described as “desperate politicians” of using the media to sow a seed of discord within the rank of the party.

In a statement by the PDP national Publicity Secretary, Professor Rufai Ahmed Alkali the party said, “the PDP has also remained united and focused in praying for the quick recovery of Mr. President who has personally spoken to the Nigerian people on his state of recovery.

“Recent media reports have been awash with unfounded stories of an alleged sharp division within the leadership of the PDP because of the absence of  Mr President.


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