nerPostTitle">JONATHAN AT WIT'S END OVER YAR'ADUA Written by furtune Headlines Mar 2, 2010

Jonathan at wit's end over Yar'Adua
By Elor Nkereuwem
March 2, 2010 03:54AM President Umar Yar'Adua (L) gives a press conference with his Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja 23 April, 2007.

Acting President Goodluck Jonathan is now frustrated after seven days of futile attempts to access the ailing president.

Sources in the Presidency disclosed to NEXT that Mr. Jonathan is at a loss on what to share with the Executive Council of the Federation as regards the president's health when the council meets on Wednesday.

The acting president, who will be chairing the council meeting, has told close aides that he is no longer willing to use wild card sources as a basis of information with which to brief Nigerians about the state of health of President Umaru Yar'Adua.

'His (Mr. Jonathan's) idea is that he needs to brief the ministers about the health of the president. After making attempts through the wife, family and close aides, it all came to a futile end and he probably thinks that it is time to put an end to this,' a source said.

It is not clear what steps the acting president will now take, but sources are inclined to believe that they may not be far from what is prescribed by Section 144 of the Nigerian Constitution.

Declaring the president unfit
There are also indications that at least two-thirds of the council's members may support the move to declare Mr. Yar'Adua medically unfit to rule the country in line with Section 144 of the 1999 constitution. This resolution is allegedly causing unease in the camp of Mr. Yar'Adua's supporters as well as within the ailing president's family, sources reveal.

'The Yar'Adua supporters may not be able to gather up to two-thirds of the FEC to back them,' a source said.

Some presidential officials also revealed to NEXT that Mr. Yar'Adua's inner circle of decision makers, last week, asked the presidential spokesman, Segun Adeniyi, to announce that the ailing president had dissolved the executive council, however Mr. Adeniyi allegedly declined to do so. Attempts to speak with Mr. Adeniyi on this were unsuccessful.

The dissolution of the council was planned so as to make it difficult for the body to reach a resolution regarding Section 144 of the 1999 constitution, according to sources who said this was just one part of a broad strategy by loyalists to Mr. Yar'Adua to ensure political survival.

'It was a surprise to us all when the usually bubbling Segun looked worried and even confused,' said a mid level operative who asked not to be named for this story.

Dora speaks
While the confusion in the Presidency continues, the minister of information and communications, Dora Akunyili, appears to have launched a media offensive against the cabal managing the ailing president.

In a television interview yesterday with a local television station, Channels TV, Mrs. Akunyili called on Mr. Yar'Adua to come out and address Nigerians to douse tension in the country.

The minister also accused people around the president for dwelling on lies for too long to deceive Nigerians on the true state of health of the president. She said the confusion around the president's health has even made it difficult for administration processes in the presidency to function.

'I am the minister of information for the Federal Republic of Nigeria but if you ask me, I have no information about this matter,' Mrs. Akunyili said.