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Power as an intoxicant: The Nigerian example(3)

By Douglass Anele
In  the unfolding charade relating to the appropriate power equation now that the President is incapacitated, the word ‘loyalty’ has become a victim of monstrous panel beating and misinterpretations. People talk as if loyalty is an end itself, not a means to a higher purpose that renders it meaningful.

Genuine loyalty must be manifested within a context which defines the parameters for evaluating loyalty. The way I see it, being truthful, especially during crisis and confusion,is the highest form of loyalty to oneself and to one’s  country.

Hence, even if one cannot rule out the possibility that the information minister was attitudinising, given her solid reputation when she was the DG of NAFDAC, it is closer to the truth to say that she spoke her mind out of genuine concern to resolve  the phantom leadership problem created by Yar’Adua’s prolonged absence from his duty post.

Members of the ruling elite, especially the ministers (except Akunyili), should be ashamed of themselves for wasting a wonderful opportunity to apply the Constitution in a novel situation. The document is very clear about what should happen in case a sitting President cannot perform his or her functions as a result of ill-health.

The roles to be played by the Federal Executive Council and the National Assembly were clearly stated. But rather than do the right thing,the ministers, by hiding under the veneer of inverted loyalty to Mr. President, pretend that “their hands are tied.”

Political vultures and carpetbaggers have been using jejune, sordid and  egoistic strategies  to create confusion and anxiety.But Nigerians are not fools, because unless someone is a colossal idiot, it is evident that President Yar’Adua is seriously ill and cannot function effectively  as the executive President of Nigeria.

The weird manner in which he was smuggled into the country like a piece of expensive contraband or toxic material, if indeed he was in that air ambulance,  rankles our human sensibilities, and  suggests that something fishy is going on. Why is it that no one, including the Vice-President, has seen him? No matter how bad the President has been physically devastated by his sickness, at least his deputy and leaders of the National Assembly should have access to him.

The people hiding the President are unreasonable. They do not realise that the moment Yar’Adua accepted to be Nigeria’s President, he has become public property , especially in a democratic setting where transparency is a sine qua non. Nigerians have the inalienable right to demand to see, and be addressed,by their President.

Yet, some people still think that the Presidency belongs to the family of the occupier of the presidential seat at any point in time.

Nigerians should rise up in unison and unequivocally resist  home-grown colonialists whose folly is destroying the modest gains we havve made in civilian rule since 1999. No  matter the pressures from the diabolical group orchestrating the current anomalies and dearth of accurate information about the condition of the ailing commander-in-chief, I still blame his wife, Turai, for not considering the feelings of Nigerians on this issue, although  I sincerely sympathise with her.

If the doctors advised that Mr. President should be flown home to spend the rest of his days among his compatriots, there is nothing wrong with that. But if his return is political, the people that made the decision are wicked. As I stated earlier, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua belongs to all Nigerians, not just to members of his immediate family.

Therefore,  there is no good reason why Goodluck Jonathan, David Mark and Dimeji Bankole  should not be allowed to see the President.  These men are adults who, I believe, can handle whatever  they might see with the necessary decorum and sense of responsibility.

If Jonathan and others cannot,  it means that they are totally unfit to occupy the exalted political positions they are occupying presently. By allowing  needless mystery  into the simple sobering matter of our sick President, Turai has inadvertently provided opportunity for negative speculations about her intentions and the evil machinations of the so-called cabal.

In addition, the hide-and-seek has almost obliterated the natural sympathy many Nigerians would have felt for her should the President fail to recover eventually. At all events, I do not know  how long she can continue to hide our President from us. Perhaps, Mrs. Yar’Adua is a victim of the intoxicating power of power .

But she must remember that the law of karma does not respect  status. Nigeria belongs to all Nigerians; the Presidency is neither  a family nor  an ethnic affair. It is definitely wrong for an individual or group to behave as if the country belongs to it .

We are all stakeholders in the Nigerian project.Consequently, we must resist any attempt to sacrifice our national interest on the altar of pathological egoism and megalomania.  One day the truth will  emerge, and all those who participated in desecrating the office of the President will be put to shame.


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