55 Nigerians Call for Yar’Adua’s Resignation, as his health dips

Source: huhuonline.com
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High profile indications have emerged that all does not seem to be well with Nigeria as its President, Umaru Yar`dua is still lying critically ill at the hospital far away in King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He is receiving treatment for his Acute Pericarditis and other undisclosed terminal ailments. Huhuonline.com also gathered that he is currently on life support machine and the medical team have prevented family members, friends, political associates etc, from seeing the President of the most populous black nation in the world.

These disturbing and bizarre reports have however propelled the concerns of 55 highly influential and credible nationalist to endorse the resignation of President Umaru Yar'Adua and calling for his Vice President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan to take charge with immediate effect, so that the nation can forge ahead and leave its current state of national quagmire.

Although the group sympathized with President Yar'Adua's deteriorating health conditions, but affirmed that his health should be given utmost attention, but however maintained that the need to provide effective, visionary, virile, and purposeful governance for over 150 million Nigerians should not under any guise be undermined, especially at this critical moment (Niger-Delta, Oil downstream deregulation, Electoral Reforms, 6,000 mega watts power generation by Dec. 31st, etc). These stakeholders however decried the step taken by the Senate as it resolved to reject a motion which sought to discuss the state of health of President Umaru Yar'Adua. The deputy majority leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, who moved the motion, said that the motion was to give the senate a chance to discuss the president's state of health. But in a unanimous decision, the senators rejected the motion through a voice vote Senators resumed parliamentary activities for the week with a motion seeking to discuss the state of health of president Umaru Yar'Adua. The Senate plans to resume on December 10 2009, in order to press on their delay tactics, in a manner meant to trivialise issues of national importance. The statement reads:

''President Yar'Adua's Health Condition & the State of the Nation

It is clear to every discerning observer that President Umaru Yar'Adua's physical condition has had a negative impact on his ability to discharge the functions of the highest office in our nation. Within the last few months, he has been unable to attend to crucial affairs of the State at home and abroad and whenever he has found time to do so, his judgment appears impaired by his ill-health.

A few examples may suffice:

i. His health condition has necessitated several medical trips abroad but he has not transmitted to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives a written declaration that he was proceeding on vacation or that he is otherwise unable to discharge the functions of his office as required by Section 145 of the Constitution.

ii. President Yar'adua though invited was unable to attend the United nations General Assembly for which a private audience had been arranged between him and President Obama for high level discussions of issues mutually beneficial to Nigeria and the United States because he was in Saudi Arabia to 'open a university' which was a dummy sold to cover up his treatments.

iii. It is also common knowledge that the incapacity of the president has affected the implementation of the nation's budget because he has been unable to coordinate the management of the national economy and to preside over the Federal Executive Council in a diligent manner.

iv. In the circumstance, Ministers have routinely flouted the orders of the President and engaged in infighting as a direct result in the vacuum of leadership. This was recently embarrassingly exposed to the world with the series of conflicting public statements credited to the Attorney General and the Chair person of the EFCC. This was also exposed further when the president disavowed knowledge of a memo to all foreign missions purportedly on his instructions. Furthermore, till date, ministers continue to flout the public instruction of the president that ministers who presented memos at the FEC should stay behind to brief the media.

v. You may also recall that a battery of doctors complete with their paraphernalia escorted the president to the National Assembly last year to stand by as he delivered the budget and you may also recall that some pundits have revealed that the crisis between the Senate and the house on who should host the budget delivery by the president was contrived to provide an escape for the president who was reportedly physically unable to perform this formal task.

vi. Finally, the current condition of the president has created a dangerous situation whereby no one is in charge of the affairs of the State contrary to the letter and spirit of the Constitution.

As responsible and concerned individuals from every part of Nigeria, we call on President Umaru Yar'Adua to immediately choose the honorable option of either:

(a) resigning his office immediately, or

(b) If he is confident of his true physical condition, request the Federal Executive Council to pass a resolution pursuant to Section 144 (1) of the Constitution to the effect that the President appears incapable of discharging the functions of his office. This honorable step will enable the Senate President to appoint a Medical Panel to confirm the fitness or otherwise of the President to continue in office.

As President Yar'Adua's compatriots and part of his larger Nigerian family, we sympathize with him and believe that his health should be given priority attention. At the same time, the need to provide effective governance for this nation of over 150 million people cannot be compromised. Indeed, the Constitution has rightly envisaged the situation in which the country has found itself.

In any event, we are of the view that the President should immediately and unconditionally hand over to the Vice-President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan to complete the current term of office, and conduct the next general elections on the basis of the report of the electoral reform committee headed by Justice Mohammed Lawal Uwais.''

(1) Alhaji Balarabe Musa
(2) Chief Olu Falae
(3) Senator Ken Nnamani
(4) Alhaji Aminu Masari
(5) Lt. Gen. Alani Akinrinade (Rtd)
(6) Chief John Odigie Oyegun
(7) Dr. Tunji Braithwaite
(8) Col. Abubakar Umaru (Rtd)
(9) Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN)
(10) Alhaji Buba Galadima
(11) Hon. Olawale Oshun
(12) Dr. Usman Bugaje
(13) Alhaji Adamu Maina Waziri
(14) Mallam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai
(15) Mr. Femi Falana
(16) Mr. Yinka Odumakin
(17) Alhaji Sadiq Yar'Adua
(18) Hon. Adamu Farouk Aliyu
(19) Chief Jos Ayomike
(20) Hajia Naja'atu Muhammeed
(21) Dr (Mrs) Joe Okei-Odumakin
(22) Ms. Annkio Briggs
(23) Mrs. Jumoke Anifowose
(24) Chief Supo Shonibare
(25) Mr. Odia Ofeimun
(26) Hon. Lawal Garuba
(27) Mr. Biodun Sowunmi
(28) Hon (Dr) Ishaq Kurufi
(29) Hon. Uche Onyeagocha
(30) Hon. Bashir Idrs Nadabo
(31) Mr. Kayode Ogundamisi
(32) Saint George Eke
(33) Mr. Bamidele Aturu
(34) Prof. Sola Adeyeye
(35) Mr. Osita Okechukwu
(36) Hon (Dr) Haruna Yerima
(37) Mr. Anselem Odinkhalu
(38) Mr. Akintoye Branco-Rhodes
(39) Hon. (Dr) Almajiri Gaidam
(40) Alhaji Amitolu Shittu
(41) Mallam Uba Sani
(42) Barrister Supo Ojo
(43) Barrister Sani Hussaini Garun-Gabbas
(44) Mr. Festus Okoye (45) Mallam Salihu Lukman (46) Dr Sam Amadi

(47) Mr. Adetokunbo Mumuni
(48) Alhaji Kabir Yahaya (49) Hon. Awwal Tukur
(50) Mallam Tanko Yinusa
(51) Mallam Nasir Kura
(52) Achike Chude
(53) Mr. Iboroma Akpana
(54) Mr. Morakinyo Ogele(55) Dr. Patrick Utomi

Meanwhile, in unveiling the implications of the current situation in the polity, last week a source from the villa confirmed to huhuonline.com that Vice President Goodluck Jonathan, in particular, has ring-fenced himself with an air of precaution in his activities in the Presidency to avoid sending wrong signals regarding the present health challenges of his boss, the President. The Vice President confirmed last week Thursday (26, November) that he had spoken with Yar'Adua twice in the previous 48 hours. Subsequently, the Office of the Vice President has recently dismissed a report suggesting pressure being mounted on Jonathan to resign. Ima Niboro, Senior Special Assistant, Media and Communications to the vice President, said the publication which made the resignation claim “failed to state clearly who or what body was bringing this pressure to bear, but went ahead to insult the sensibilities of Nigerians, including the vice president himself, by suggesting that Dr. Jonathan is to be made to sign an undated letter of resignation… “which can become binding in the event that the president is unable to continue in office. That this is a wild and quite insulting claim requires no further elaboration. Certainly, the general public can discountenance such drivel”

Another source in Aso Rock Presidential Villa said “there is a need for every precaution to be taken now as some mischief makers are bent on reading meanings into anything the vice president does, just as they would read meanings to anything the vice president does not do.“You will agree with me that events in the last 96 hours have been such that some mischief makers have been churning out mis-information to serve their own diabolical instinct.

t was because of the way some people were carrying-on which forced the Presidency to come clear on the health status of President Yar'Adua.”

According to huhuonline.com constitutional and procedural checks over this matter, it is assumed that the Vice President is expected to perform the functions of the president in the absence of the latter, but the 1999 Constitution states expressly how such a role can be performed in the absence of the number one citizen. Section 145 and 146 state: “145. Whenever the President transmits to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives a written declaration that he is proceeding on vacation or that he is otherwise unable to discharge the functions of his office, until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary such functions shall be discharged by the Vice-President as Acting President. “146. (1) The Vice-President shall hold the office of President if the office of President becomes vacant by reason of death or resignation, impeachment, permanent incapacity or the removal of the President from office for any other reason in accordance with section 143 of this Constitution.”

In these entire developments People's Democratic Party (PDP) has said that the party is not considering forcing any office holder to resign his or her office under whatever guise. Reacting to reports making the rounds over a succession crisis in the country, the party's national publicity secretary, Prof Rufai Alkali says that the ruling party is appalled that members of opposition parties have chosen to magnify the illness of President Musa Yar'Adua out of proportion for their selfish ends. The party makes it clear that reports reaching it indicate that the president is improving steadily and will soon return to continue the work he is doing. They advised those working themselves up over an illusionary vacancy in the presidency to calm down and pray for the peace and stability of the country instead. Meanwhile the minister of information and communications, Professor Dora Akunyili has assured Nigerians in a press statement recently issued by her to Nigerians that all government machineries will function effectively while President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua is away on medical treatment. Akunyili further said that government appreciates the teeming concern and prayers of Nigerians towards the quick recovery of Mr. President. She says that the solidarity and support of every Nigerian is needed now more than ever by Mr. President as his family as they go through this trying period.

But PDP should however note that Lagos State Government has set a precedent for them to follow, and that has ultimately calls for any serving public office holders, irrespective of his status, no matter how highly placed, to rescind his or her appointment so as to avoid the scenario of double tragedy, as it relates to delivering his best optimally, and to avoid endangering his life due to health/medical conditions. Mr. Segun Ayobolu was the Special Adviser to Governor Raji Fashola on Information and Strategy, but has been battling with terminal diseases, such as hypertension and cancer since 1984, despite the fact that he was never found unproductive since his call to duty in that capacity. He took a bold step on Monday (30th Nov.) and opted out of Fashola's administration. Nobody is indispensable, and taking a bow is not a defeatist ground or an act of cowardice for any politician. The interest of Nigerians which Yar'Adua sworn to uphold should not in any way be compromised. Vincent Ogbulafor and his political associates should be cautious of politicising what is best for Nigerians at this trying moment of our nationhood.

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