It is exactly 55  days President Umaru Yar’Adua was flown abroad for medical treatment. Yet, silence is the norm on the true position of  the President’s health.  Rather, rumours of his illness and death are  heating up the system, leading to demand for empowerment of  the Vice President, Goodluck Jonathan as Acting President, mass rallies, court judgements, rows in the Senate, a Yar’Adua voice on BBC  among others.  

The BBC voice came after  the media reported that the president was clinically dead , brain-damaged and on a life support machine.

It is clear that the Yar’Adua illness is being politicised and Nigerians are at a loss as to the way out of the  quagmire. Would the entire nation be left at the mercy of one man?

As if  to answer the question, a Federal High court in Abuja adopted a mid-course approach to resolving the problem by making a pronouncement based on section 5(1) and 148(1) of the 1999 constitution that the VP Jonathan can perform Yar’ Adua’s duties. That judgement was  like tackling the matter from a periphery.

Saturday Vanguard went to town to sample the opinions of ethnic leaders, politicians and lawyers as to the provisions of the constitution  under the circumstances and their views are as diverse as the issues being raised.

We can’t empower Jonathan — Shehu

A three- time member of the House of Representatives, Abubakar Garba Shehu in an encounter with Saturday Vanguard says the National Assembly cannot  compel the President  to  resign or the VP to act on behalf of the president :

The National Assembly cannot compel anybody to resign or to act on behalf of another. Section 144-145 of the constitution  has not given  the National Assembly the  power to ask the VP to take over. The person to do that is Federal Executive  Council, FEC . The Constitution is very clear. I have been in the House of Reps for eleven years.

There is no provision that empowered the National Assembly to ask the President to resign or the VP to take over the powers of the President.

The  FEC  members are not elected but the constitution  has given them that power. The only power the N.A has  is  that of impeachment and that is  when the  president has  committed an impeach able offence and  Yar’Adua  has not done that.

We cannot do anything about his ill-health. Nigerians should go and read the 1999 constitution, section 144-145.
The President is recovering and will soon  be back. Though he is the president, he can fall sick and he can die. So, Yar’Adua  remains the president.

There have been  presidents who were sick and they recovered. We should pray for his recovery so that he could continue where he stopped before the sickness,  like following up on Amnesty and his 7- point agenda. We should not be negative about this whole thing as we are being.

Nigeria is hanging on the  precipice – Agoro
By Chioma Gabriel, Deputy Editor
Dr. Olapade Agoro (Aladura Patriarch) is the  National Chairman/former Presidential Candidate of  the National Action Council (NAC) He is also the National Chairman  of Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) and he says:
Sickness until pronounced madness remains within curable diseases under the management control expectation of general practitioners.

A sickness that starts with self delusion, wide laughter to oneself without reasonable cause, loose, careless and meaningless talking and probably with walk- jumping if not carefully, quickly and properly diagnosed may after all  end up in madness.

Madness it must be mentioned starts from the head and not the mind.

The carelessness of Nigerians beginning its current democratic dispensation which hurriedly started in 1999 with a gang up of political opportunists with mad heads is  proving fatal.

In the over ten years of PDP mis-governance,  evidences of  socio-economic and political  misfortunes never seen before and never ever anticipated have besieged Nigeria.

Starting from  Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration, the US published  a list of 27  most corrupt  Nigerian government officials  which list was never allowed to see the light of the day in Nigeria but  which eventually culminated in the exposure of  late Chief SM Afolabi’s National ID card corruption scandal must have informed us what was to befall the nation.

From 1999 to date ,the once known evils  of official government corruption, political murder, treasury looting, violent  religious riots, mass unemployment, insecurity of  lives and property, massive importation of food and critical necessities of life, governmental policy reverses, governmental lying, capital and key industries flight out of Nigeria to other African countries et al have added new dreadful entrants like kidnaping , militancy and now  sadly the grand father of criminal activities-  “Abdul Muttalab International Terrorism.

Perhaps the greatest of the assault at the peace and unity of recent time is the current shame of hide and seek political gambit the nation with mad heads is playing over the health of President  Umaru Musa Yar’Adua

Notably, the prayerful and demonstration of open support by all and sundry, Christians and Muslims to the  current very painful health status of President Umaru Yar’Adua  stand unequalled in the political history of this nation.
As such,  there can be found  no justifiable reasons than HEAD MADNESS why anybody should hold the nation to ransom,  refusing to allow the necessities of Constitutional provisions interplay to come into effect in this matter.

Unfortunately for the nation, as I always said and maintained, Nigeria  has Jonathan as Vice President but not Good luck.

Until Nigerian masses  rise up to take their fortunes in their hands by forcing the instrument of national shame out of power, there is no way Jonathan devoid of Good luck would be installed as Acting President of Nigeria.

I don’t understand the argument – Kukah

Reverend  Father Matthew Hassan Kukah was the Secretary of National Conference on Political Reforms held  in the era of President Obasanjo and  he says he does not understand the angst being expressed by Nigerians on Yar’Adua’s absence  as governance is still going on:

I don’t understand the brouhaha  about President Yar’Adua’s illness and the issue of having an Acting President. Has the Vice President complained that he doesn’t have enough powers? If he has not complained, why are people crying more than the bereaved?

The VP has not said that there is anything  that comes before his table that he doesn’t  have the power to handle. If he doesn’t have the power, the powers will not be given to him by the people on the streets but by the relevant arm of government .

You said the National Assembly has said it doesn’t have the power to empower him  , so the issue is how do we understand the workings of the various arms of government? I’m saying this because a lot of things are being confused.

As far as I am concerned, people are barking at the wrong tree.

I’m still not clear what powers would be given to the Vice President, because he has not said he doesn’t have powers to do XYZ. I’m  not quite  sure that I understand what the brouhaha is all about.

You said there is a vacuum and I’m not doubting but what kind of vacuum? If we have a VP and the president is not around, how is there a vacuum? We have a new Chief Justice and a new Permanent Secretary. They were sworn in by recognised authority .I don’t understand what the media is up to.

The protesters that came to Abuja are entitled to stage their protest. There is nothing criminal about that. They could stage a protest even if the President is there.

The kidnaping of four foreigners in the Niger Delta has nothing to do with the president being present or being absent.
If there are constitutional ways of empowering the VP to become the Acting President, I’m sure he knows exactly what to do. If the VP can be empowered by the people on the streets, people know what to do.

If it is the National Assembly that will empower the VP, those people equally know what to do. That the president is not on seat is for a reason everybody knows. But how do you empower the VP? You don’t have the powers. I don’t have the powers. A lot of people  have gotten carried away by this, but lets be clearer in the quality of analysis that we make.


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