Nigeria’s precarious polity and Sen. David Mark’s doctrine of necessity- an essay on Nigeria’s political imbroglio following the 78 days absence of President Yar Adua without an Ag. President, by Comrade A. Edokpolo.
Tuesday 9th February 2010 will be a strong reference point in Nigeria's political analyses; because it was the day the two arms of Nigeria's national Assembly agreed to forge a bailout for Nigeria's continuous existence as one nation. It is noteworthy to state that the framers of Nigeria's 1999 constitution never envisaged that a time will come when a president will be incapacitated to the level that he will be unable to write or sign a vacation letter to the two arms of the national assembly; with the hope of delegating powers to his vice president. Or that a time will come when a clique will take advantage of an ailing president to further their very narrow interest on the whole country and vehemently deny Nigerians the right to see or visit their president. Tempers rose to war-mongering dimensions, militants threaten the withdrawal of a voluntary ceasefire that preceded the famous Amnesty program of president Yar Adua, patriotic social critic and political leaders like Gen. Mohammadu Buhari and Prof. Wole Soyinka led Nigerians in a national protest to denounce the political aberration occasioned by the unfortunate absence-without-leave of Mr. President, conservative Northern and Southern leaders held divergent views on the state of the nation, the United States and the European Union expressed concern and sued for peace; at the centre of this political hara-kiri was one Mr. Michael Aondoaka SAN, the Attorney General of the federation at the time of this conflict- he fielded Nigerians and the concerned public with all manners of fallacies and deceptions.
In spite of the expressions of unprovoked attack on the sensibility and personality of Vice President Goodluck Jonathan, the later presented himself as a statesman. His silence on the controversies was golden; yet he attended to matters of state with immense dedication and palatable concentration. One thing was clear, President Yar Adua clearly undermined national interest and the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, and however, contemplating an impeachment will further heighten the tensed polity. What is the way-forward was the main question on the lips of concerned Nigerians. Everyone looked up to the two arms of the national Assembly since it was obvious that the Federal Executive Council as constituted lacked the boldness to unanimously agree to write the national Assembly that Mr. President was incapacitated to necessitate the delegation of the Acting President right to Mr. Vice President. Initially, the National Assembly decided to studiedly examined the controversial health of the president within the context of allegations of death (as alleged by an American online chronicler), and that Mr. President was on a Life-Support-medical program. In the face of these daunting challenges, the combined leaderships of the National Assembly issued ultimatums to the president to formally write them of his vacation in accordance with constitution. After a while, President Yar Adua granted a BBC interview from his Saudi Arabia's hospital wherein he intimated the whole world of his battle for good health. This prompted another round of controversies as to whether it was Mr. President's voice and the appropriateness or otherwise of the BBC medium in informing Nigerians and the National Assembly for that matter; given the heated debate that has trailed his very long and informal departure from Nigeria .
Emergency political meetings reared their heads in all sections of the country with secessionist question uppermost in the agenda; whilst the North made remarks with cautions and regional interests. The Governors also made some remarks along party lines and that of their class interests. Suddenly, the National Assembly took the gullet and made the earth-shaking resolution with the philosophical notes by the President of the Senate- “the doctrine of necessity requires that we do what is right when faced with a situation that was not contemplated by the constitution. And that is precisely what we have done today”
Vice President Goodluck Jonathan was thereafter communicated of the resolutions passed separately by the two arms of the National Assembly empowering him to function as Ag. President of the country pending the eventual return of President Yar Adua to Nigeria. Obviously, the elated Vice President Goodluck spoke in a sobered form by declaring that “the circumstances in which I found myself as Acting President are uncommon”. Expectedly, the Ag. President made some cabinet reshuffle leading to the exit of Mr. Michael Aondoakaa SAN from the Ministry of Justice to the Ministry for Special Duties. There is no doubting the fact that Goodluck Jonathan made the decision in national interest; as everyone including the Nigerian Bar Association was fed up with the double speak and controversial disposition of the redeployed justice Minister. Nigerians and indeed the international community expect the Ag. President to live up to the task of the office by piloting the affairs of the nation in a manner that will rekindle the faith of Nigerians in one Nigeria. Infrastructural development, Power sector development, Niger Delta Amnesty program's sustenance, Electoral reforms, Education and Health sector development are top in the agenda of majority of Nigerians; hence they look forward to proactive actions in these regards. How well the Ag. President can go will be determined by the popularity or acceptability of his policies and programs.
I join Nigerians in wishing the Ag. President well in office; even as I pray for the quick recovery and return of President Umaru Musa Yar Adua to his office. I also wish to commiserate with the families of plateau people and Nigerians at large who lost their lives at Sunday 7th of February Sectarian crisis in Jos.