Yar’ Adua’s Health Crisis And The Options Before Nigeria

In any serious country, where governance is not perceived as an organized scam as it is in Nigeria, the diktat occasioned by the flailing health of President Umar Yar A’dua, which saw him quarantined in a Saudi Hospice for more than two weeks would have precipitated a serious jigging of the options the country could excurse in the event of the continued incapacitation of Yar A’dua or his eventual demise before he rounds off his wobbly tenure. Those that are sorely frightened that an end to the Yar A’dua presidency would mean the end of their meal ticket for which they are ready to do anything including lying shamelessly, are busy, operating at their very wits end, for the purpose of sustaining a presidency that has proven grossly incapable of meeting even the most elementary demands of the office. It is this desperation borne out of the most selfish hue that was responsible for the shameless, irresponsible and reckless manner the menservants that flock around Yar A’dua handled the issue of what ails Yar A’dua and why he went to Saudi Arabia. Their porous lies and poor outing more than anything else, shows why they are always ready to kill and maim so as to remain in the corridors of power. It just depicted the true picture and image of the state of anomie that has been our lot since 1999. It reflects the picture of general atrophy the PDP represents and advertises the desperation with which they have destroyed everything in Nigeria so as to satisfy their gluttonous whims.

The main issue from the national crisis occasioned by Yar A’dua’s recent health crisis is that the country, must as of compulsion, discuss the possible alternatives open to the country should Yar A’dua drop dead or prove undoubtedly incapable of continuing as the country’s president, as the specters of his recent sojourn portend. It is such crisis as the one we are presently passing through that made those that drafted the dysfunctional constitution we have in place now to make a provision for the replacement of a president that is incapacitated, either as a result of ill-heath or any other indisposition that may interfere in the discharge of his duties as president.

Inherent in the above provision is that whoever must rule a country must have not only the physical but also the mental alertness and health to grapple with the multifarious demands of the complex people and the cultural, sectarian and ethnic diversities that make up this country. Those that packaged the country’s laws may not be geniuses-and this shortfall is all too obvious from the many limitations of the constitution they forced down on us-but they clearly anticipated that a time will come when a certain Nebuchadnezar would ride rough-shod over the country and impose on the country a president that is riled by a health crisis that keeps him permanently on sick bed. They were therefore not mistaken to counsel that in such situation, the country should have a rich alternative to play with and ensure that governance is not stranded. One of such options, and by far, the most legal, is that the Vice President should be sworn in to complete the term he won with the president. It was certain that those that put together the present constitution did not ever fathom that a president could emerge from the discredited and scandalous way Yar A’dua emerged. They never believed that such howling scam can ever be allowed by any country to settle its leadership succession question through such bizarre fraudulent manner as happened in April. This was why all institutions were caught napping as Obasanjo executed the obnoxious scam that saw Yar A’dua in and deepened the woes of the country that was going through a cancerous affliction from inept leadership.

But with the increasing deterioration of the health of Yar A’dua and the negative effects this exerts on governance in Nigeria, there is every ground for Nigerians to start now to talk about a future without Yar A’dua or better still, a Nigeria where a president dies in office or is knocked off by mental and bodily limitations. There is every reason to avert a void that may ensue should Yar A’dua continue in the present state he is going. Already, I think the condition envisaged by the lawgivers to seek a replacement in leadership has been met presently when our president struggles to keep long appointments with his doctors outside the shores of the country. As was shown in the recent experience, when governance was suspended in a confusing maze created by Aso Rock based minders who are on a game to preserve the source of their privileges, this country needs an Option B to ensure it does not blow up on our collective faces. Because this is not a normal country, the scenario that may occur if and when Yar A’dua drops off the scene is as unclear as the right way the country needs to chart for progress. No one can actually say what will happen today should Yar A’dua cave in to his flailing health. What should have happened is that the Vice President will step into his shoes. But the pitiable fate of the present Vice President who has been reduced to a newspaper reader in Aso Rock informs that it may not be as simple as stated in the dormant law books of the country.

So, if the Vice President may not easily succeed Yar A’dua in the event of death, what are the likely scenarios that may play should this president, not gifted with the best of health, drop off the scene? What other constitutional and unconstitutional succession options are likely to occur in such event? How would the various ethnic and geographic cleavages in Nigeria react to such options should they occur? What are the short, medium and long-term implications for the unity, cohesion and progress of the country? These should have been very much clear to those that have lorded upon themselves the task of enforcing policies on us. It should be very clear and laconic to Nigerians instead of the desperate attempt by the people that surround Yar A’dua who are trying to weave an immortal toga for Yar A’dua because it assures them of a continuous oiling of their private till. So, the reality is that Yar A’dua, either in the present health state or in a deteriorated status, cannot effectively rule a Nigeria that is critically sick and ravaged and needs a hyper-active leadership to get back on tracks. His wobbly showing in the past one-year shows beyond all doubts that he is incapacitated by health and vision in leading a complex country with so many problems to go round.

I don’t want to explore the option of resignation because the ramparts that have consistently ridden this country will never hear of that. To them and by the way Nigeria runs, somebody can run the country from the mortuary. Because no goals exist for those in governance, no format, no standard and benchmark and what passes as governance is an uncoordinated scramble for selfish personal interests at the expense of the country, even a dog can run Nigeria. All he needs is to have enough carpetbaggers, wheeler-dealers, speculators, scavengers and minions who breathe and sow all manners of perfidy in the name of governance. It matters little whether the country makes any progress and in a situation where pejorative flaps have been introduced in measuring success, it is their words against those of long-suffering Nigerians, which is why they lie with reckless gusto even when they know they are not convincing themselves with their mercenary arguments. The reality is that Nigerians never retire from public office, whatever the circumstance. They would rather prefer to die in office since the system always finds ways of sustaining them in office for life. Any suggestion that they, under any circumstance vacate power is resisted with the last pint of blood in their system. So I am not expecting Yar A’dua to resign from office because he ought to have done that long ago, especially with the leeway offered by his discredited emergence. Having resisted that great offer, and being swathed on all sides by crooning shibboleths that rule in his state of incapacity, he would never consider resigning but the country must develop a template for orderly succession because none exists presently and that bodes danger for the country. It is the reason why Yar A’dua’s bouncers

Written by
Peter Claver Oparah
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