One Country, Two Presidents

Nigeria is about the only country I know in the world where things are done illegally and a majority of the citizens keep mum. Almost everyone accept illegality as a norm. I do not know why it is so difficult for the members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and the National Assembly to declare Umaru Yar’ Adua incapacitated and confirm Goodluck Jonathan as the substantive President. Though it is obvious that the PDP-led government is trying to remain loyal to one of its party members but ideally, the loyalty of every Nigerian leader should be to the citizens of Nigeria, majority of who are still suffering from the comatose state of the nation’s economy which was occasioned by bad leadership.

We do not need anymore evidence to prove that Umaru Yar’ Adua is unfit to lead the country. His refusal to address the nation since he was smuggled into the country is enough to begin impeachment proceedings against him and make Jonathan the substantive President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

It is not surprising that some people are of the opinion that the Yar’ Adua issue is no more debatable since Goodluck Jonathan has already emerged the Acting President through the National Assembly’s doctrine of necessity but Umaru Yar’ Adua and his allies must be made to understand that the office of the President is bigger than anyone. No individual should hold the country to ransom regardless of their status or position. The impeachment of Umaru Yar’ Adua is far from being a distraction as wide perceived.

From all indications, Umaru Yar’ Adua’s health condition is critical besides there is no justifiable reason why a President who is hale and hearty would shut himself away from his colleagues and fellow country men and women. As a human being, I sympathize with Umaru Yar’ Adua because anyone can fall ill but nonetheless, he should be able to relinquish power honorably.

And if it is true that a cabal is behind the plot to retain Yar’ Adua as the President until 2011, then, Nigerians must move vehemently against the plot by these individuals. The office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is not the birthright of the Yar’ Adua family or any individual. It is for this reason and more that the newly constituted Federal Executive Council (FEC) and the National Assembly must without further delay commence impeachment proceedings against Yar’ Adua as stated in Section 144 of the Constitution.

Yar’ Adua’s failure to hand over power to the then Vice-President, Goodluck Jonathan whenever he embarked on a medical trip abroad, the secrecy surrounding his ill-health since November 23, 2009 and the breach of security when coming back home from Saudi Arabia are pointers to the fact that Yar’ Adua is unfit and not worthy to remain Nigeria’s President. He has over the years been making rhetorical commitment to upholding the rule of law but Nigerian can no longer be deceived. Every Nigerian has come to realize that Yar’ Adua is not different from past leaders who place their interest before those of the citizens.

Yar’ Adua knew all along that he was not fit enough to saddle the responsibility of leading the country but yet, he went ahead to accept former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s offer to become the President in 2007. An honest and true leader would have rejected such a proposal in the interest of him and the nation. Now, Yar’ Adua’s ambition to become Nigeria’s President in spite of his poor health status has caused the nation a lot of problems and embarrassment in the last four months.

Hence, the PDP-led Federal Government must do what is right to put to rest the issue of having a President and an Acting President besides the ability and/or inability of the new FEC and the National Assembly to declare Goodluck Jonathan as the substantive President will determine whether or not Nigerians can continue to trust the PDP to lead them aright. The National Assembly’s adoption of the purported interview Yar’ Adua had with the BBC as his official letter for vaction cannot stand the test of time because it is unconstitutional.

Written by
Bolaji Aregbeshola
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