Goodluck Jonathan: An Accomplice in conspiracy?
In my previous article entitled “On acting president Goodluck Jonathan”, I said, “Acting President Jonathan does not need any swearing in; at least section 145 does not require that. Right from the 12th day of January 2010, Dr. Jonathan became Nigeria's ActingPresident and Commander-in-Chief. The judgment by
Judge Abutu was inconsequential and redundant. If Dr. Jonathan fails, neglects, and ignores to perform the full duties of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I and other Nigerians should and will hold him responsible. It would be a crass dereliction of duty which could attract legislative sanction. Anyone addressing Dr. Jonathan as 'Vice-President' does so either out of ignorance or mischief. The buck henceforth stops at his desk.” Events which unfolded after the article have exposed the hesitance, timidity, and diffidence of a man (Jonathan) who places personal safety above national interest.
From various reports about the actions of Mrs. Turai Yar'Adua, which are intended to fasten her hold on power, at least by proxy, it has become clear that Nigerians must sympathize with their president, and appreciate the reality that he has been kidnapped and held in detention. He cannot do what he would normally like to do. He is no better than a fragile baby whose survival is dependent on its mother. Turai is the “mother” and Yar'Adua is the “baby” in the circumstances. Have you been seriously bed-ridden by ill-health in the past and depended wholly on the goodwill of family relations even for toilet needs? How helpless you must have felt! We as a people are faced with a terrible situation whereby our dear president is helpless, and so also are we.
I was one of the Nigerians that voted for President Yar'Adua in 2007. Do I need to swear that “If I did not vote for Yar'Adua, while I claim to, may God punish me”? Just believe me on this one; I speak the truth and lie not, my conscience also testifying to this. I only had buyer's remorse only few weeks into Yar'Adua's presidency. That is another matter. Whether you voted for President Yar'Adua or not, truth is he is our president. Some allege that Yar'Adua's election was rigged. Well, the Supreme Court of the federation ruled by a split decision (4-3) that he won the 2007 presidential election. The case is closed, whether we like it or not (I, personally had my grouse with that judgement). Some say that President Olusegun Obasanjo had “imposed” Yar'Adua on Nigerians. That is a foolish statement to make, especially when such people did not go to court to protest. Besides, Nigerians like me were not forced to vote for Yar'Adua. The point I am making is that President Yar'Adua is constitutionally and legally our president. We may be disappointed at his performance in office; he may have excuses; we may not like him as a person. But he is our president. Now, our dear president is missing; he has been away from duty for almost three months now as I write; yet, his deputy, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has failed to raise an alarm. Only few days ago (Thursday, January 28, 2010), Dr. Jonathan was reported as saying that “the president would soon be back in the country.” I wonder what the basis for this statement is. He has not had even a phone conversation with Mr. President in a long while. There is no evidence that Dr. Jonathan is in touch with Yar'Adua's doctors at the Saudi hospital, where he is reportedly receiving medical attention. If Dr. Jonathan has not had any communications with the president lately, and has no germane contact with President Yar'Adua's doctors, and yet made the statement in reference, he has only succeeded in giving himself away as a cheap and dubious fellow; a character that most distinguishes members of his political party, the PDP. Irrespective of the interpretation of section 145 by Judge Abutu in his infamous judgement on Friday, January 29th, let me ask the question, “What does the constitution say about kidnapping of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria?” At the moment, our president is missing. Usually, when the boss of an organization has gone missing, the assistant boss is interrogated if he knows anything about the absence of his boss. I have maintained that the story of President Yar'Adua being in some hospital in Saudi Arabia is simply a rumour. What I said, and will keep saying until the horrible drama terminates is that, our president is missing from duty without official leave. Those who are talking about his soon return definitely know something we don't know about. Can I have a lawyer help file on my behalf a suit about my missing president? The suit will be that, the court should declare Yar'Adua missing. Joined in the suit should be those very close to him—his wife, Turai, and his deputy, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
Already, a court has ruled that Dr. Jonathan should exercise presidential powers; the Minister of Justice and the Attorney-General of the federation, my elder brother Michael Aondoakaa (I need to boast about my maverick brother, needn't I? For those who don't know, we have a common great-great grand-grandfather. ) has buttressed the latest judgment by Judge Abutu, and said that Dr. Jonathan could exercise the powers of the president.
The game of complicity is this: Dr. Jonathan and company will keep misappropriating our commonwealth at will in the absence of Mr. President while unsuspecting Nigerians keep throwing stones at President Yar'Adua, who may not even be reading all that is being written about him. As they mess things up, history will blame everything on Yar'Adua. The National Assembly must summon Dr. Jonathan to inform what he and others in the Executive Council of the Federation have conspired together. Another thing the National Assembly could do is to declare the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria missing. Has any official communication been sent to them about the president's whereabouts? Definitely not! Nothing in the constitution forbids the national assembly to make laws for the good governance of the nation. In view of the fact that our president is missing, and officially it could be accepted on the floor of the national assembly that they don't know his whereabouts, they are empowered as representatives of the people to empower the deputy legislatively, to perform all the functions of the president. Does the constitution say they cannot empower the Vice-President in case of a missing President? It does not forbid them. According to Judge Abutu's judgement, when there is no “shall”, then it becomes discretionary. That is the issue. When there was crisis in Jos, Goodluck Jonathan commanded troops to be sent in. That is the work of the C-in-C, isn't it?
All said and done, if Dr. Jonathan is worth being called a leader, he must without delay exercise those presidential powers, which both the Attorney-General of the federation and Judge Abutu say he could. The longer he prevaricates the more harm he does to his public perception. He must dissolve forthwith the Executive council of the federation and appoint Ministers who could activate section 144 and save the nation all the suspense and distraction. Do you know the billions of naira worth of investment we have lost since November 23, 2009 on account of this preventable disaster? PDP must be voted out of office at every level, just to make a point. Who says there will be no free and fair election in 2011? Ask the Etsako people of Edo state. Let's not lose heart; change is coming to Nigeria.
Leonard Karshima Shilgba is the President of the Nigeria rally Movement (www.nigeriarally.org ) and Assistant Professor of Mathematics with the American University of Nigeria. ( [email protected] )