The illness that trouble President Umaru Yar’Adua has deterred the prosperous condition of Nigeria’s military might, economic operations, and diplomatic relations, and more opportune than it has existed since he took the first oath of office. Nigerians home and at diasporas need no watching. Our economy became a vehicle without a driver for over 100 days as if Nigeria is a nuclear family business. Most ports, depots, Federal offices and Refineries became closed and unaccountable. Billions siphoned away, mistrust transpired, first family hijack government effort, and captured all the blockade runners and out-lived all the constitutional right. Dr. Jonathan will continue his voluminous moral reflections which, even if Mr. Yar’Adua were present and in full health, it might be dangerous for him to attempt to review.
Nigeria was placed under attack. By those who wants power. The purpose of the political assault was to obliterate the precarious democracy that has taken root in this country. The assault become fails when the Senate enacted Dr. Jonathan as an Acting President, having encountered comprehensive measures. It is time for Nigeria—state, polity, and society—to support Dr. Goodluck Jonathan in addressing the issue deliberately, with the required seriousness and sobriety, away from escapist denial as well as from alarmist catastrophes.
On behalf of the sovereign people therefore we bespeak for our really invalid President a month’s furlough! does not necessarily indicate that the public have reason to be under immediate apprehension, but Nigerians have the best reasons.
Entanglement founded upon the general observation of those who, like ourselves, have been familiar with his (Mr. President’s) personal health and appearance for many years, for stating that Mr. Yar’Adua’s physical powers have been tested beyond their capacity of endurance, and that if this ordeal is to continue, his naturally strong constitution must at no distant date, give way.
Without entering into an invidious inquiry as to the comparative fitness of those who might be called upon in any contingency to succeed him, Dr. Jonathan should, if we could look at the unanimity with which the president (Yar’Adua) was nominated, and the heavy popular voice by which he including his Jonathan were concurrently elected, are sufficient evidence of the great interest the entire country, Nigeria has in his life. The political and military history of Nigeria, especially during the past two years, since he became emphatically “master of the situation,” are sufficient witness that the people would forego much of their accustomed freedom of access to the President rather than see him reduced to his present worn and weakened condition.
Many who saw him at his inauguration [May 29], where the opportunity for noting the change in his personal appearance was better than in his office or at the Aso Rock, were painfully impressed with his gaunt appearance. From eight o’clock in the morning to past midnight of each day for four years, the President, in addition to the discharge of the proper duties of his office in the most difficult and arduous administration ever devolved upon the Executive of any government, has given audience to a constant stream of committees, visitors, officers, and delegated and self-constituted representatives of the people, from all sections, parties and conditions of men. He has heard their complaints, answered their arguments and considered their wishes, with a patience none of his predecessors ever exhibited, and with a democratic spirit of equality which Nigeria or her citizens would have regarded as inconsistent with the dignity of their position. Whatever grievance came before him for redress, whatever appointment for his sanction, he has at all times entered into its investigation with all the energy of his body, mind and conscience, and, not content with doing what was right, he has laboured until he succeeded in convincing those with whom he was brought in contact and into conflict, that he had done right.
All this vast labour has not been performed without a visible effect upon the physical powers of the man who has accomplished it. Most strong executive men would have broken down under far less labour. A tough and wiry constitution, and that easy flow of humour which enabled him to relieve his daily round of harassing annoyances, perplexing questions, and weighty care with pithy but smile-compelling anecdotes, these have lightened his load, and in all human probability, preserved his life. But there is a point beyond which these will not carry him. He needs at least a month’s entire rest from [sic] his official duties, and thenceforward a systematic and enforced exemption from the vast and unprecedented pressure of calls, appeals, committees, to which he has heretofore given himself up.
We believe Nigeria would be glad to see him just at this point recover from the sickness. The people know that Yar’Adua has laboured more arduously than any private in the ranks or any sailor on deck; all but he have had their furloughs.
We cannot fault the Power-Gamblers for hiding their motives. They have proclaimed their aims with clarity. These radicals in corridors are out to negate the legitimacy and authority of our political and social system. And they explicitly spelt out their plan in the December 25 attempted bombings in KLM flight at Detroit the United States; they are organized, united and have a consistent message: the very paradigm under which Nigeria operates, its ‘democracy’, is invalid. Their target is not a tactical political gain, it is a system overhaul, they alleged, but that is not the truth; -they want to come and rule! Like other rejectionist ideologies, theirs is one of destruction, not an alternative political or social program. They can assert their desire to apply ‘God’s Law,’ while being incapable of formulating any concrete or realistic plan for such a constructive application. There is, however, little time to ponder on the content of their ideologies. Their destructive plan is in operation. It should be understood for what it is, a corrosive affliction affecting our society, and it should be countered swiftly.
While the petroleum minister and the attorney-general are justified in stating that ‘there is no way to stop a man, who wants to die,’ public condemnation of suicide acts must not be politicized and reduced to bi-partisan rivalry. It does not matter who were made the victims in a particular incident. It should not be up to the ruling party PDP; to tend to the victims for one attack, and members of the ruling party to attend to, to sympathize with, others.
Such rivalry increases the erosion of confidence in the political class, and provides points of entry to destructive forces aiming at discrediting the political system. We should not send mixed signals to the radical forces that their terrorization of our society will solicit a divided response, depending on whom they select as the next victims.
As the situation spins out of control, it is time to end the non-starter arguments. The time for distraction will only take away from a vital situation that is creating itself as a result of mismanagement. It does not matter whether it is the agents of other nations or fringe fanatics who are behind this string of attacks. What matters is that new action needs to be taken before radical forces push those in power – and those without– out for good.
Coup plotters know that their method of sending a message is inexpensive, effective and guaranteed media coverage. Not only have they caught onto our local grievances and found an endless recruitment pool, the radical fringes in Nigeria have adopted a cheap imported warfare practice of blowing themselves up. They are willing to die for a cause that will indeed, if left unchecked, redefine our normality.
By acknowledging the crisis of confidence in the political leaders
hip, it is incumbent on all political forces to deny these radical forces the right to speak for the masses. It is not too late to send those willing to die to get their message across, a signal that we too are not willing to tolerate such cheapening of life. The stakes are higher than mere political gain. Indeed, they are for democracy in Nigeria altogether.