YAR'ADUA'S RETURN: WE TREAD ON DANGEROUS POLITICAL GROUND
In the views of Charles Amboiwei, a PDP leader in Bayelsa State and a former Commissioner for Transport in the state on the presidency impasse involving President Umar Yar'Adua's return on and the hazy power arrangement, there is a grave concern.
'Yes, the Vice President remained the acting President. Nobody ever wished that Yar'Adua should not return, but the manner he came and the way Vice President Goodluck Jonathan is treated in the entire arrangement is not clear to Nigerians', he said.
Ambowei agrees it is good the CEO came back but would not understand why it should be beclouded in secrecy and made a midnight affair full of secrets.
Above all else, the PDP chief cautions the power cabal manipulating the situation to observe caution in order not to offend the corporate unity of the nation through unnecessary politicking. 'Nigeria and her unity means much to all of us, and there is no doubt that we can't afford political crisis because nobody, no matter how highly placed or which part of the nation we come from would be favoured'
Ambowei, a member of the cabinet in the Jonathan administration as Bayelsa State governor warned against manipulating power in a manner that would make nonsense of the laws and the arrangement enshrined in the constitutoin for transmission of powers.
'If there is any truth in the news we read and hear that Jonathan has been asked to take orders and directives from the wife of Yar'Adua, then it is time we watched our steps. At such point, it would be very compelling that the National Assembly should rise to its duties and call to order this percieved lawlessness. We have power arrangements defined by our constitution and we have no reason to throw it away at this point.'
He also argued that part of the problem was the delay in bringing in Jonathan as acting president. 'Since we know it was the proper thing as many Nigerians had said initially, I did not see any reason the National Assembly and the rest should have delayed thereby taking Nigeria back by months. If Jonathan had been inuagurated on time, he would have consolidated the seat before now and would have taken the right actions that would have staved off this hijack of bringing someone who is not fit to take power and do nothing with it'.
He believes and insists that caution is the best step to take in order to manage the political controversy brewing in Abuja as he told Saturday Sun in this interview.
You once said you have a premonition about the whole thing. What is it about?
God has been showing me certain things in a dream in the past years – and if the past is anything to go by, my dreams do come true. In 1993 when I was chairman of NRC in Bayelsa State, God showed me that the Bashir Tofa/MKO Abiola election would be annulled. I told the state council of the party, which had the late Ignatius Aguru in attendance. It came to pass. In 2002, I had another dream that Alameyieseigha would be impeached and Jonathan and the then Speaker would become Governor and Deputy respectively. I told Jonathan about my dream and it came to pass.
In 2008, March, I had a dream again, this time in Abuja that the President and the Vice President were invited to a special church service. The service was longer than necessary and people were so bored. At that point, an aide of the President whispered to him and the officiating minister announced the President would want to leave but delegated his deputy to take charge of state affairs in his absence. At the end of the service when the national anthem was being played, I observed that Jonathan rose and took the salute. Unknown to us, soldiers had cordoned off the place, throwing dynamites and teargas into the church. Pandemonium broke out and the VP was taken to an unknown place. Everybody scampered to safety, some jumped through the window and even I was able to escape. But the VP was rushed out and taken away and things ended neither in the negative nor positive. I woke up and wrote everything down by 2.00am.
I don't pray for a coup, but Nigerians have to pray- and you know God works in miraculous ways. Again I have to tell you that this vision was part of my book titled: Yar'Adua and Jonathan in the Eyes of the People. I wrote it and presented the draft to Yar'Adua, then a presidential candidate and obtained permission before going to press. The book is still there, if you go through it you will find everything in print and people did not take it seriously.
Did you inform the VP about this?
Yes I did, but he was silent. You know his reaction? He said 'you know the circumstances that brought me to power first in Bayelsa State. Up till now, some people still believe I stage-managed the incident, which occurred to Alamieyeseigha. Later you will recall the events preceding my emergence as the VP.'
That give you an in sight into the kind of person the VP is. I tell you, it was months after in 2008 when Yar'Adua took ill (I think he slumped in Aso Rock or so) and he was flown to Germany for treatment – that was before the idea of Saudi Arabia came into the picture.
Where does this lead us?
I have to break my silence at the turn of events. My dreams always come true, and if my dreams are anything to go by, the whole thing might lead to a military chaos – only prayer and sincere repentance and turn around can help Nigeria. Again I will make allusion to the Bible. When God said He would destroy the nation of Nineveh, He sent Jonah to preach to them for repentance. Jonah went there – even though a fish swallowed him and dropped him at the city. He preached to the nation and it repented, hence they were forgiven by God. Repentance can stave off God's wrath from Nigeria.
Don't you think that military intervention is an extreme option?
That is not. You want to note that a number of well-meaning Nigerians have expressed apprehension along the same line. Nigerians from all walks of life have lamented the unacceptable position of the Nigerian political class to adhere to the provision of the constitution. But as I have said, we need to pray and act according to our prayers by following constitutional provisions.
Does the 14-day ultimatum given to the Federal Executive Council by the Federal High Court on Yar'Adua give any glimmer of hope?
The Justice Daniel Abutu verdict giving the Federation Executive Council a 14-day ultimatum to pass a resolution on the state of health of President Yar'Adua is a rigmarole, because eventhough the erudite jurist like many other judges in the judiciary has been a great pillar of democracy in recent times, he shied away from addressing the fundamental issue.
In other climes where things are more dynamic, the judge would have directed the Executive Council to constitute a five-man medical panel help the FEC to ascertain the health of the president within a week and in the second week, the report of that medical team should help the FEC to reach conclusion whether the President has become incapacitated from performing its constitutional duties.
What are the general implications of this?
There are three critical dimensions to the problem. As a people, we are not committed to the truth. Here is a country where you order for some goods on internet and they arrive in the best quality, but go to Lagos or anywhere in Nigeria to place an order, what you will get is a substandard one. We are not sincere and willing to comply with the rules- and non-compliance with the constitution is a reflection of our upbringing even from the kindergarten days.
Did you read the report on the Senate's closed door meeting with party leadership with the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) as reported in the media? From all indications, one can believe that the President actually prepared a letter ahead of his trip to the National Assembly that the Vice President takes charge as acting president. The SGF has said the National Assembly should ask the Liaison officer to the National Assembly on the whereabouts of the letter.
The question is why was this letter not submitted and its content carried out? You see what I mean when I said we are not sincere?
Second, there is lack of patriotism. In a nation where patriotism exists, the leaders and the led place national interest above personal interest. No patriotic leader will take Nigeria through what we are going through today. Look at what George Bush did in the United States of America. For the two hours he was sedated during surgery, he handed over to Dick Cheney, his deputy. But not in Nigeria. Finally, our claim to worshipping God is a farce. If you look at the political leadership in the country, you will see that the factors are lacking.
How do you think the VP is taking the whole issue?
The Vice President is calm and stable. He is taking the situation as philosophically as possible. He is keeping faith with God's special guidance. You remember the Biblical story of Saul and David. David was anointed king even when Saul was still alive.'¦ Jonathan has continued to steer the ship of state despite the fact that Yar'Adua undermined the provisions of the constitution by not handing over to the VP before he left the country. Yar'Adua did not do the right thing. I ask do you remember what George Bush did when going for a two-hour surgery sometime ago? Were you surprised when the United States and other developed nations condemned the current situation in Nigeria?