Yar’Adua’s family divided over resignation bid - He must resign - Mum - No, he’s fit to continue - Turai - Resign now, el-Rufai, Nnamani, Masari, Falae, 50 others tell Yar’Adua - Security tightened at Aso Rock - Ogbulafor meets Jonathan
- Category: Politics
- Published on Wednesday, 02 December 2009 09:20
- Written by Admin
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The family of President Umaru Yar’Adua is said to be divided over the bid by some forces to have the President resign his position on the basis of his ill health.
Sources on Tuesday said there was a sharp division between the president’s wife, Hajia Turai and his mother, Hajia Dada Habib, over the next step to take by the president.
While the mother was said to be advocating that the president should resign so that he could take care of his health, Hajia Turai was said to be insisting that he would soon get over his health challenges.
A source said the matriarch of the Yar’Adua family was insisting that her son should be brought back to the country alive, while he should resign from the office to face his health situation.
It was gathered that the matriarch also insisted in her calls to Hajia Turai that she did not want to lose Umaru like she lost his elder brother, General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua.
It was gathered that Turai had to attend this year’s hajj and she was sighted at Mina, Saudi Arabia. This, a source said, she had to do, though it was not originally on the travel agenda.
It was gathered that the first lady had insisted that her prayers and those of millions of Nigerians would surely work and her husband would soon recover.
Calls for the president to resign had started gaining grounds on Tuesday, following indications that his condition relapsed at the weekend.
Though there were plans to receive the president early this week, this did not materialise, as his condition was said to have relapsed late on Saturday.
Reports from the governors and other government functionaries who visited Saudi Arabia also indicated that none of them was able to see the president as he had been kept in intensive care from Sunday.
It was gathered that the presidency had beefed up security at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, while the Vice-President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, was said to have cancelled all late night appointments.
Sources said the vice-president had taken the precaution since Thursday, so as not to give the wrong impression that he was holding nocturnal meetings.
A source said most of those who had late night appointments on Friday were reached to either come earlier in the day, or reschedule such appointments for another day.
Also in Abuja, on Tuesday, sources informed that some Northern political power brokers had started thinking of options left in the wake of the president’s ailing health.
It was gathered that some groups were already thinking of supporting the bid to ask the president to resign from office so as to pave the way for a strong personality to emerge as vice-president to Jonathan.
It was, however, gathered that underneath such plans was the plot that would ensure that the vice presidential candidate would engineer the removal of Jonathan through impeachment after a short stay in office, such that power could effectively return to the North.
But some concerned Nigerians were already alerting the international community to the unfolding situation in the country. Former governor of Lagos State, Senator Bola Tinubu, on Tuesday, visited the British Embassy in Abuja, where he discussed the issues of Nigeria’s electoral reform and the president’s health with the high commissioner.
Tinubu had earlier visited the German and the United States embassies before the Tuesday call at the British embassy. He specifically raised the issue of electoral reform during his earlier visits to the embassies.
Sources said Tinubu spoke the minds of opposition figures during the visit to the British embassy, where he was said to have told the high commissioner that Nigeria would abide by constitutional order, no matter what happenned to the president.
Sources close to some groups in the North, however, said the only option open to the region now was to quickly pick a strong candidate as vice-president, while allowing Jonathan to take over as president.
Meanwhile, former Senate President Mr. Ken Nnamami; former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Aminu Masari; General Alani Akinrinade, Chief Olu Falae and 50 other eminent Nigerians have demanded for the resignation of President Yar’Adua, arguing that his deteriorating health had made it difficult for him to perform his functions as the president of the country.
The concerned Nigerians, which included members of the civil society groups, Dr. Joe Okei–Odumakin and Mrs Ayo Obe, said it was known to every discerning observer that President Yar’Adua’s physical condition had had a negative impact on his ability to discharge the functions of the highest office in the nation.
According to them, “within the last few months, he has been unable to attend to crucial affairs of the state at home and abroad and whenever he has found time to do so, his judgment appears impaired by his ill-health.“
They noted that his health condition had necessitated several medical trips abroad but he had not transmitted to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives a written declaration that he was proceeding on vacation or that he was, otherwise, unable to discharge the functions of his office as required by Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution.
They observed that President Yar’Adua, though was invited to attend the United Nations General Assembly for which a private meeting had been arranged between him and President Barack Obama for high level discussions of issues mutually beneficial to Nigeria and the United States, he went to Saudi Arabia to “open a university” which was a dummy sold to cover up his treatment.
The concerned Nigerians said it was also common knowledge that the incapacity of the president had affected the implementation of the nation’s budget because he had been unable to coordinate the management of the national economy and to preside over the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in a diligent manner.
They noted that in the circumstance, ministers had routinely flouted the orders of the president and engaged in in-fighting as a direct result in the vacuum of leadership.
“As responsible and concerned individuals from every part of Nigeria, we call on President Yar’Adua to immediately choose the honourable option of either resigning his office immediately, or, if he is confident of his true physical condition, request the FEC to pass a resolution pursuant to Section 144 (1) of the Constitution to the effect that the president appears incapable of discharging the functions of his office. This honourable step will enable the Senate President to appoint a medical panel to confirm the fitness or otherwise of the president to continue in office,” they said.
The group of Nigerians said they sympathised with the president over his health, but the country needed effective governance.
“We sympathise with him and believe that his health should be given priority attention. At the same time, the need to provide effective governance for this nation of over 150 million people cannot be compromised,” they said.
Those that signed the document included Alhaji Balarabe Musa, Chief John Oyegun, Dr. Tunji Braith-waite, Colonel Abubakar Umar (rtd).
Others were Professor Itse Sagay, Alhaji Buba Galadima, Honourable Olawale Oshun, Dr. Usman Bugaje, Alhaji Adamu Waziri, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, Mr. Femi Falana, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, Alhaji Sadiq Yar’Adua, Honourable Adamu Farouk Aliyu, Chief Jos Ayomike.
Also included were Hajia Naja’atu Muha-mmeed, Ms. Annkio Briggs, Mrs. Jumoke Anifowose, Chief Supo Shonibare, Mr. Odia Ofeimun, Honourable Lawal Garuba, Mr. Biodun Sowunmi and Dr. Ishaq Kurufi, among others.
Meanwhile, suspense and uncertainty still remain the words, as the nation prays for the quick recovery of President Yar’Adua who is currently undergoing medical attention in Saudi Arabia.
The suspense heightened as security around the President Villa, Abuja, has been tighetened.
Vice-President Jonathan, who, the Nigerian Tribune learnt, gave the directive, had also barred visitors who did not have any official responsiblity.
This development is coming amid political power permutations and debates over a perceived succession battle between the South and North.
The nation has contended with media reports that the number two man, from the South-South, has been under intense pressure from Northern power players to resign in anticipation of a vacuum arising from the inability of President Yar’Adua to continue in office.
Both the office of the vice-president and the ruling PDP had denied that there were such pressures on Jonathan.
But, according to the source, the vice-president, on Monday evening, subtly restricted all visitors to the villa.
“From Monday evening, oga has directed that all visitors who do not have any official thing to do should be stopped by the security agents. This will remain in force until the arrival of the president anytime from now.
“For now, there are no more courtesy calls because such calls are usually unpatriotic and mischievous in their motives and intentions. The man has told those who wanted to pay a courtesy visit to him to wait until after this period of prayers for the president. Most importantly, those who want to offer prayers for the president or support the vice-president in prayer should remain in their homes. Most of such moves are indirect lobbying for a non-existing position because by the grace of God, the president will join us soon,” the source said.
However, the national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Vincent Ogbulafor, was sighted at the office of the vice-president on Tuesday afternoon.
The purpose of the visit was not known as State House reporters could not have an interview with him before he left.
He came at the time the vice-president was meeting with a team of businessmen from South Korea and went upstairs.
Ogbulafor was quoted in one national daily on Tuesday to have declared that the office of the president of Nigeria was not vacant, an apparent reference to those calling for constitutional action over the long period the president had been away for medical treatment.
Meanwhile, the office of President Yar’Adua remained quiet on Tuesday as government activities shifted to the office of vice- president.
But Vice-President Jonathan, it was learnt, has summoned the Bayelsa State governor, Timipre Sylva and his deputy, Peremobowei Ebebi, to Abuja, over the current political turmoil pervading the state in the wake of the local government primary of the party.
Violence was reported to have marred the exercise, even as protests rocked the state in the last four days, with each trading accusations.
The invitation to Abuja, it was learnt, was not unconnected to the reported explosion which occurred beside a filling station reportedly owned by the deputy governor, who had raised the alarm that his life was being threatened by agents alleged to be the governor’s loyalists.
The Senate, at the plenary session on Tuesday, refused to have a special debate on the state of the health of President Yar’Adua, who was currently undergoing medical treatment in a Saudi Arabian hospital.
It, however, urged all Nigerians, no matter their religious beliefs, to fervently pray for quick recovery of the president.
The Deputy Majority Leader of the Senate, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, after Order 42 and 52 of Senate Standing Rule, asked the Senate to allow him to present a motion on the state of health of the president.
According to him, “Mr. President, the subject matter of my motion which I discussed with you yesterday and this morning is the state of health of our dear president, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
“Under Orders 42 and 52 of the Senate Standing Rule, the matter for discussion shall, if possible, be referred to the President of the Senate before commencement of the day’s sitting and the President of the Senate shall refuse to allow the claim unless he is satisfied that the matter is definite and urgent.
“Notice shall not be dispensed with in the case of a motion or in respect of any other proceeding for which notice is required except with the consent of the president of the Senate and general assent of the senators present.”
Consequently, in a reply to Ndoma-Egba, the Senate President, David Mark, said “distinguished colleagues, Senator Ndoma-Egba discussed a motion which he intends to raise this morning with me. I have no problem with the motion. Basically, it is just to ask us and the nation to continue to pray for the improvement and for the quick recovery of the president.
“That is the summary of the motion. I have no problem with it, but as is required by Order 42, I have to seek the consent of the Senate and if we are up to one-fifth in support of his moving the motion, then we allow him to raise the motion. It is a very short motion.”
However, when the Senate President put it to the whole house, the response was negative.
The Senate Committee Chairman on Media and Publicity, Senator Ayogu Eze, told newsmen that the Senate President had earlier called for prayer for the president and it would be a mere waste of time to start debating it.
Eze, who briefed National Assembly correspondents, said, “the reason we did not take that motion is that as a serious chamber, we don’t indulge in surplusage. The Senate President is the chief spokesman for the Senate and chief spokesman for the National Assembly and he has just issued a statement on the same matter, asking Nigerians to pray for our president.
“How do we now turn round to waste the time that we would have invested in debating the budget, for instance, in talking about something that has already been settled? That was why our colleagues thought it was an ordinary waste of time.”