YAR'ADUA: GRIM BATTLE AHEAD, FEC MAY DECLARE HIM INCAPACITATED
Reports suggesting that ailing President Umaru Yar'Adua is back on his feet might herald the commencement of fresh fireworks over the nation's Presidency. Sunday Sun learnt that the report, which said Yar'Adua was spotted in his study hugging members of his immediate family, caused panic in Abuja and has reportedly sparked off fresh agitation and scheming over the nation's prime seat.
This indication emerged as some prominent Nigerians appear un-amused over the report and are asking to see their leader even as some viewed it as another kite flown by the Yar'Adua cabal to distract the nation.
A source said: 'I have a lot of reservation over that report. It could be another of the lies they have been selling to Nigerians over this issue from the beginning. But if they are using it to cause distraction, they will have their hands full this time because we have gone past that stage.We now have an Acting President and we are again getting the respect of the international community.'
Feelers from the camp of members of the Nigeria First Forum (NFF) in the House of Representatives and some politicians close to Acting President Goodluck Jonathan also indicate that a ' grim battle is about to start.'
It was learnt that the report reinforced the determination of those agitating for the ouster of Yar'Adua to fast track their action.
A member of the NFF confided in Sunday Sun that Wednesday's approval of the nomination of Professor Christian Chukwu as minister by the Senate could be the missing link in the intricate jigsaw being put in place to facilitate the removal of the ailing President.
It was leant that Professor Chukwu from Ebonyi State would man the vacant health ministry portfolio and might be the main tool to consign Yar'Adua's reign into the dustbin of history as a former President.
The first assignment of the new health minister would be to do what Professor Babatunde Osotimehin shied away from. 'Chukwu would be able to let the nation know what is the exact health situation of the President. His coming on board may be the turning point in the health saga,' the source added.
It was leant that members of the Federal Executive Council would have a good reason to invoke Section 144 to oust the ailing leader.
'This present FEC is not the old one. It is Jonathan's team and with this new team, Section 144 will easily be secured, especially with the manner the Yar'Adua's people are trying to cause problem across the country.'
Interestingly, some members of the Yar'Adua inner caucus are also said to be anticipating trouble as they are reportedly uncomfortable with the rising influence of Jonathan, which peaked with his recent visit to the United States of America.
The rumpus within the hierarchy of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which has pitched the chairman of the party, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, against some hitherto indifferent members of the party is seen as the handiwork of those close to the Acting President in an attempt to force the hands of the PDP leadership to call a mid-term congress where they might eventually be removed.
'Do you think it is a coincidence that Ogbulafor is facing rebellion within the party at a time the ICPC is also prosecuting him for fraud? Is it a coincidence that Dimeji Bankole's seat suddenly becomes unsafe at the time some people are questioning the way the party is being run? I hope you still remember the roles played by Ogbulafor and Bankole before the emergence of Jonathan as Acting President?' said a source.
But the camp of the ailing President appears equally battle ready as they are said to be poised to face the renewed threat with several methods in their arsenal. One of such methods is to attack the foundation of Jonathan's acting Presidency via the court.
A plaintiff, one Nkemjika Nkemjika, in his originating summons, said Jonathan cannot validly perform the functions attached to the office of President Umaru Yar'Adua, based on the resolution passed by the National Assembly on February 9, 2010 but can perform presidential functions as guaranteed by Sections 5 (1) and 148 of the 1999 Constitution only as determined by Yar'Adua.
He wants the court to declare that Jonathan is not the Acting President.
The latest suit is the third challenging the National Assembly declaration.
Although the upper legislature appears to have an answer for the onslaught, sources hinted that a plan is already afoot to scuttle the Jonathan Presidency.
'The latest plan has been in the offing long before Jonathan dissolved the last FEC and that it involved several top operators of the judiciary as well as some top lawyers,' said a source.
He added that the latest legal challenge to Jonathan's leadership might get to the Supreme Court 'where he (Jonathan) might meet his waterloo because the pronouncement is clearly against the provisions of the constitution.'
Meanwhile, former legal adviser to the All Nigeria Peoples Party, Mike Ahamba, SAN, constitutional lawyer, Professor Itse Sagay, SAN, secretary of the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, Senator Femi Okunrounmu, former Petroleum Minister, Professor Tam David-West and social commentator, Mike Igini, have all expressed sadness that Nigerians were yet to see Yar'Adua since his current ill-health saga began in November 2009.
According to Ahamba, 'Yar'Adua does not have a loving family member because if he does, they won't allow his health to become a matter of international discourse the way they have allowed it to be.
'Be that as it may, we all voted for him and he is the president of all Nigerians and we desire to see him. Reporting that he met with his family members is not enough. They should let us see him on national television.'
Sagay, on his part, was however cautious on the report, querying how the reporter got the story.
'I see all this as speculation. How did the reporter get the report? I am happy if it is true but the problem is when are we Nigerians going to see him? We voted for him and we deserve to know his state of health. I think that is what members of his family should focus on.'
Okunrounmu was also circumspect, insisting that the report be treated with caution. He however said: 'It will be difficult to believe until we see him on national television.'
Also, Tam David-West said the news that Yar'Adua' has recovered was good news because the president's recovery is an indication that the looming chaos that his death would cause would have been averted.
His words: 'If Yar'Adua dies in office, the aftermath that will result from his death will amount to complex ethnic problems and his vice, Acting President Goodluck Jonathan, will be manipulated,' he said.
The professor of virology added that stories and public comments that have emanated since Yar'Adua fell ill have been negative and poisoning, which indicated that Nigerians were happy and not sympathetic about his health crises.
'It is expected of every Nigerians to pray that he recovers and not die in office. Also all Nigerians should be able to empathize with him and his family and not rejoice about his predicament.'
But, public affairs analyst and social commentator, Mike Igini, described the report as suspicious. To him, some people are trying to use him as a bogeyman.
Igini wondered if the cabal around Yar'Adua would have allowed him to only walk down to his study and not call the Cable News Network (CNN) and British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
He said: 'Frankly, I think some people are now using Yar'Adua as a bogeyman. If he is hale and hearty, I doubt if he would be left to take luxurious walk in the study by these forces.
'Why should such improvement in his health be leaked to the press in such facetious manner? Why not consult the leaders of government and engage on his rehabilitation? These actions only help to poison the political space and the desired outcome of such activities are suspicious,' he stated.