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YAR'ADUA'S RETURN HAS CREATED MORE CONFUSION

By ISMAIL OMIPIDAN, Kaduna



• AbdulRahman

'We must lay a very solid foundation for the growth of a true democracy. We must avoid an ad hoc or temporary solution. The problem must be addressed firmly, objectively, decisively and with all sincerity of purpose,' those were part of the broadcast made by late General Sani Abacha in November 1993, when he seized power from the Ernest Shonekan -led Interim National Government (ING).

But 17 years after, political observers believe that Nigerian politicians, appear to still be applying ad hoc solutions to the myriad of problems confronting the nation's fledgling democracy.

After about 93 days outside the shores of Nigeria, President Umaru Yar'Adua last Wednesday, in the manner he left on November 23, 2009, was said to have returned to the country shrouded in utmost secrecy.

Today, Sunday 28, 2010, it is exactly five days now, since he was said to have returned to the country. But no one, not even the acting President has set his eyes on him. This no doubt has since become another source of concern to most Nigerians.

One of them is a retired Army Major, Abubakar Umar, who was at various times the Brigade Major in I Div, Kaduna, 2 Div, Ibadan and 3 Armoured Division, Jos. He told Sunday Sun in an exclusive interview in Kaduna that the said return of President Yar'Adua to the country was not in any way in the interest of the country's democracy.

He argued that no one was really sure if the President was actually the content of the ambulance that was taken to the Aso Villa that same day. Umar insisted that the only way he can believe that the President was back was for him to address the nation, adding that 'I say so because as it is now,

nobody knows his true state of health and even the Saudi government is not ready to say anything. Is he really fit to stand on his feet? Where has he been all the while? Why did he not hand over properly before leaving? These and many others are some of the questions he should be ready to answer. And he should be ready to do that through a nation-wide broadcast.'

He said that if indeed it was Yar'Adua that was ferried into the country, then the country was in for another round of crisis adding that the President may not even be aware he was in the country.

'I foresee a serious crisis. I say so because in the first instance, he never sent a letter to the National Assembly when he was leaving, now, supposing he refuses to send a letter to them now to say he is back, what happens? This is where I blame the lawmakers. They ought to have impeached the man long before now. If they had done that, it would have saved us this impending crisis. Let's wait and see how the drama unfolds. As it is now, no one is sure if it was Yar'Adua they brought or a dead body. Let's wait and see how the drama unfolds.

'Those who brought him are just interested in intimidating the acting President, with his presence. If the man is well enough, his handlers will not be hiding him from us. And I think Nigerians should rise up to the occasion, by holding all those charged with the responsibility of securing the President, responsible for this unfortunate incident,' Umar said.

Like Umar, another northern elder, Alhaji Mohammed AbdulRahman, a founding member of the defunct Northern Elders Forum (NEF) and a member of the Board of Trustees (BOT), of the foremost socio-cultural group in the north, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) believes that President Yar'Adua's handlers could no longer be trusted. He argued that those who are the conscience of the nation should better rise to the occasion to stop the current illegality going on in the country, if the country must continue as one.

Asked who the conscience of the nation are, Alhaji AbdulRahman said the Civil society, the former Heads of State, the elite and members of the National Assembly among others.

'I think the handlers of Yar'Adua can no longer be trusted. This is the time our leaders must rise up and insist the right thing is done. Nigeria is not a cult; but Yar'Adua was brought in as if he is a cultist. Yar'Adua is not even safe in their hands; as such they should be called to order. With the acting President in place, those who brought him just want to create confusion in the system.

'I don't encourage anyone to call for military intervention, but the way things are going, we need a strong military presence to whip every one to line. This is why my view on this intervention thing will never change. I believe that there is an urgent need to empower our military to always come in and restore order each time we have situations like this.

'Remember that during the Shagari era, the military represented by Gen. Gibson Jallo (Rtd), then had approached the ruling class on the need to change their ways following the rot in the system then. But one of the members of ruling class then said if the situation was as bad as the military painted it then, Nigerians should have been eating from the dustbin. However, since there was no such thing then, the military should be ignored. It was their refusal to heed that call that eventually led to the coup at the time.

'I am not in any way calling for a coup, mark my words, but if we must have home grown democracy, we should have a law where it will be spelt out in black and white that once any mad man mounts the corridors of power and begins to mess up, the army must move in immediately, clear the mad man and whatever mess he would have created, and return to their jobs.

'The army must be told that protecting the territorial integrity of Nigeria also includes ensuring that Nigeria is governed in accordance with the law. As it is now, we cannot even trust the National Assembly. They no longer represent us. We are not calling for a military coup, but we must define democracy our own way, by protecting what is right and not what is wrong. It is the duty of the military to blow the whistle.

'And the Nigerian Police too must understand that it is their duty to protect demonstrators, in making the demonstrations peaceful and not to stop demonstrations from taking place. Protect the members of the public from these men masquerading as our leaders. As it is today, nobody protects the public. If it were in another country, Obasanjo's era would have led to a bloody coup. So, if we continue to allow mad men and 419 people to rule us, it can create a civil war situation. This is why I am suggesting the military option of checkmating our democracy,' he declares.


Atimes, it is not enough to do your best But to do what is required.
By: Eric Dion Agboghor