Before President Yar'Adua Celebrates…

by SOC Okenwa

President Umar Musa Yar’Adua is an enigma; a serious-looking thinking president Yar’Adua seems poised to make history where many of his predecessors had failed spectacularly. Being an academic could be an advantage but the fact remains that the Katsina-born leader is patriotic and appreciates the suffering of Nigerians and the urgent need to provide transparent leadership at the national level. A firm believer in the supremacy of the rule of law and due process in the affairs of governance the president is giving Nigeria and Nigerians good international image that lacked for eight years.

Much as one cannot afford to sing President Yar’Adua’s praise in a hurry (since it’s too early in the day to fully grasp his permanent take on power) the early signs are encouraging enough. Through calculated populist policies and programmes the president continues to garner popular acclaims endearing himself to majority of Nigerians. His puritanical disposition gives him away as a president to be trusted, respected.

True, the electoral circumstances of Yar’Adua’s emergence are still thorny weighty issues before the election petition tribunal to resolve and when you add the states’ governors enjoying brazenly stolen mandates then dancing with the president on his first hundred days in office becomes tantamount to embracing illegitimacy. Until the Tribunal gives judgement in his favour Yar’Adua must see himself as a president somewhat incapacitated by legitimacy problems.

Yet an impartial appraisal of his hundred days in power seems worthwhile. Even in an unlikely event that the Tribunal vindicates Buhari and Atiku by annulling wholesale the April 21st electoral heist President Yar’Adua will go down in history as the former dispassionate president with an eye on history and posterity. He would be leaving Aso Rock with his head held high amidst wide ovation! The Mutellewan Katsina is enjoying the popularity Obasanjo never enjoyed in eight giddy years; that’s an achievement in itself thus far. So far so good some Nigerians may argue.

Hundred is a lucky number; some people celebrate this digit on account of history or achievement. My hundredth article in the NVS will, God willing, be ‘celebrated’ next week! Hundred days in office for a public office holder is not a mean feat. Though the mandate runs for four years the first hundred days in power are benchmarks upon which to score an administration. While Yar’Adua and the governors whose controversial mandates’ fate is still hanging in the balance may have cause to celebrate caution must be exercised so that it cannot be construed as celebrating illegality or illegitimacy.

Ever since he was sworn in on May 29 President Yar’Adua struck discerning Nigerians and vociferous social critics as a man destined to be different, destined to make a difference. He declared himself as a “servant-leader”, decrying systemic corruption and indirectly pooh-poohing the fraudulent electoral system that threw him to national limelight. He has since been providing both service and leadership.

And the war against corruption is being waged with him seen as incorruptible having broken record by declaring his assets. He has appointed the Justice Uwais-led electoral reform committee comprising radical eminent apolitical Nigerians whose duty is well spelt out: spell out measures tailored towards taming the Iwu-like INEC electoral monster!

The political structure, the PDP, through which President Yar’Adua was rigged into power has a reputation for being a poverty distributing party. Almost every devious politician, from perfidious characters to extra-ordinary thieves, finds accommodation in the “largest party in Africa“. Political prostitutes like the Speaker of the House of Representatives believe a huge official residences upgrading scam currently rocking the lower house should not constitute veritable threats to their high offices.

The PDP, through its garrison Chairman Ahmadu Ali has risen in Mrs Etteh’s defense and Yar’Adua is bound to toe the party line. And the BOT Chairman in Ota whose “girlfriend” Etteh was (and still is?) has intervened on her behalf; as her godfather she must not be brought down from number four to zero so soon. If you don’t know what I mean by number four then ask Senate President David Mark whose love for numbers in power calculus underscores his desperation for power.

Yet public office ethics demand that the 628 million naira Mrs Patricia Etteh approved for the renovation of her and her deputy’s residences should be thoroughly investigated to see if due process was followed and if the amount was budgeted for. The polemics over figures, the juggling of figures involved is not necessary; so far three distinctive official figures has emanated from different sources in the house. Someone somewhere is lying and trying a cover-up. Etteh’s incompetence should not be allowed to grow further!

It reminds me of how Ekiti lawmakers were fighting themselves openly in the house of assembly as some of them with some modicum of integrity questioned Administrator Tunji Olurin’s stewardship fraught with financial discrepancies; in the end nothing more was heard over the messy financial report card of the retired general. The fire and fury fizzled out with some arrowheads “settled” out of their wits.

President Yar’Adua has been busy for months reversing unpatriotic policies of his predecessor cum benefactor. But critics have charged him for major policy reversals like the EFCC/AGF power-to-prosecute tango and CBN Soludo’s strategic agenda for Naira decimalisation policy. Besides his slow meticulous pace has attracted criticisms. Yet in all the president deserves good marks for his steadfastness and sense of patriotism. In hundred days working and living in Aso Rock Yar’Adua has exhibited characteristic frugality and humility — qualities that never existed in Olusegun Obasanjo’s political lexicon.

As President Yar’Adua marks his one hundred days in command and control there is need for his dream team to redouble efforts for there are more work to be done. As the monopoly of the oil behemoth NNPC is broken into six departments there is urgent need for PHCN to be surgically operated upon. The energy crisis facing us as an unserious nation can only be redressed if heads roll and ‘blood’ shed if need be for a radical solution to be found. In breaking the nasty hold of darkness over our space determination and action are required.

As we await the outcome of the electoral litigations at the Tribunal this is wishing the Yar’Adua administration many more months and years of practical solution to our many problems. May the Judges rule in his favour because the devil we know is better than the angel we know not! This is where I stand for now.

However the above stance must not be misconstrued to mean that the Judges at the Tribunal will allow the popular goodwill towards the presidency to sway justice in favour of monumental injustice and shame of a nation that was April 14 and 21. If there’s merit in the Buhari/Atiku position then the Obasanjo/Iwu house of fraud should collapse!

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1 comment

Michael September 6, 2007 - 2:10 pm

In echoing your statement "…this is wishing the Yar'Adua administration many more months and years of practical solution to our many problems"

The keywords are "practical solution" unlike the "bonehead solution" of our past idiot rulers!

Thanks for the article..


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