“ FEC ascertain Yar`dua`s health status now”- Wole Soyinka
We know exactly what can be done. The cabinet, very strange constitution, faces the burden of primary action in this case. I understand it is a very embarrassing situation and I symphatise with Jonathan. As we can see, Jonathan's middle name is
Gentleman. Goodluck Gentleman Jonathan and I symphatise with his dilemma but I think he should understand, the cabinet should understand that they have a constitutional responsibility. Jonathan has the right to demand to see his boss.
He is acting for somebody. I don't care what the constitution says. I am not talking of the meaning of the word in plain good old English; he is acting for somebody, that person is just next door. He has a responsibility, both to himself and the cabinet, to the legislature, to the nation, to demand, to insist on seeing the condition of Yar'Adua, preferably with appointed doctors and then report back to the nation, take the necessary action and compel the legislature to take action.
As I said, I symphatise with his dilemma but when you are in position of leadership, you take unpleasant decisions. You are not a leader to be popular, you are not a leader to be nice, you are not a leader so that people can say he is nice. You are there to exercise power to fulfil your responsibility.
If the man whom I met, Umaru Yar'Adua was capable of speaking to this nation, he would have done so by now
If he were capable of communicating to this nation, by any means, not just vocal, even to send a note, authenticated, to receive his deputy, to receive the President of the Senate, to receive the Chief Justice, in other words, formally structured individuals or groups, not just hold prayer meetings, whether Islamic or Christian or orisha worshippers, he would have done so by now.
So, this idea of surrogate communication by those who have absolutely no legal or constitutional standing in this nation, these specially arranged meetings and obscene procedure, insult the intelligence of over 100 million people. I personally feel insulted about what is going on and I am encouraging Nigerian citizens to come out and say 'enough is enough'. You do not treat a human-being in this way. I don't see why, for instance, sango worshippers should not get up and say we also want our time with this president. Christians have gone, Moslems have gone, what about the Hare Krishna group? When is it going to be their turn?
So, we go round the entire canopy of religious leaders talking to somebody who was elected by the entire nation through a structured means called 'election' and then we have these informal groups going there and shortly after stories come out: he raised a hand, he nodded his head, he grinned; he grunted amen. What kind of nonsense is that? Just who do they think they are speaking to? Why can't they tell us even their frank assessment as lay people, not doctors? In any case, there are those who are trained in assessing the condition of people, including presidents. We have the example of Mubarak who went for an operation on his hand and handed over power before he left.
Take the United States, for instance, the president, the head of the nation, once he is going to be incapable of taking decisions, that individual hand over power and resumes the moment he has been proved or certified to act. This charade has been going on now for close to six months and I am asking the question, when is it going to end? I think it is time to call a spade a spade and stop thrashing a human-being like a kind of piece of inept sausage. Whatever the condition of Yar'Adua, he deserves the dignity and respect of fellow human-beings.
There is a macabre game going on, which is the use, in my view, of a helpless individual in a political manipulation. I am speaking as a human being now, not as an activist, political activist, agitator, whatever, I am just speaking as a human being, not even as a citizen.
I find myself revolted, disgusted and revolted by the use to which President Yar'Adua is being put by a group that is known, I believe, generally as the cabal. I think they are not faceless, a number of them have been mentioned by the media and they are very vociferous of course and they are very good at planting rumours and stories in the press to falsify the situation in Aso Rock right now, especially as it concerns the health of the president.It is this use that an impotent person, health-wise, is being put that I find really disgusting, a process that I think should be terminated as quickly as humanly and as resolutely as the situation demands,
The civil society organizations must put an end to the activities of the 'cabal.'The planted stories, I think there was one recently where it was said that the president had been seen at his desk and receiving his family and so on and so forth. We all know that these are fabrications and I think it is high time we got to the bottom of the motive behind this kind of activities and put an end to it. I am appealing to groups like Save Nigeria Group, Citizens Forum, civil liberties organisations, humanitarian organisations to intervene and stop this very dark tragic-comedy.On the Haliburton scandal, a judicial commission of enquiry must be st up to get to the bottom of it and set the records straight.
I am not sure how much the people of this nation are willing to tolerate, but outside, I can report to you that it is nothing but amazement and also a feeling of contempt that the Haliburton, international Haliburton scandal of that magnitude has been treated with such casualness and indifference by both the government and the people of this nation. Names have been named, figures have been quoted, indictments are there in the court of law and in a country where there is freedom and access to information, the former so-called attorney-general of this nation went to the United States some time, he said he was going to get to the bottom of it. He never reported anytime and nobody asked him, nobody in government, nor the Senate, House of Assembly asked him: what did you bring back about this Haliburton scandal in which former heads of state have been named?
It involves the crème-de-la-creme of the Nigerian society and I am asking organisations to start insisting on an independent judicial commission into the Haliburton scandal. We are talking about billions of dollars bribery paid to those who are supposed to manage the resources of this nation. They put it into their private pockets. We are talking of a serial corruption, in which it looks like virtually one Head of State just hands over the cash cow to the other. That is what it looks like. And the only way to find out is to set up a judicial commission of enquiry. Let those who have been named testify, let the various investigating agencies, which have compiled reports come out, release the reports to the public.
Let us know for once if the nation is being slandered because this is heavy stuff, an indictment of successive heads of state. It means we are being recognised outside as a corrupt nation and I think it is in our interest to get to the bottom of this. There are offices of Haliburton in this country, I think they should be asked to tell us what they know and what they do not know.
But it is an embarrassment, whether you like it or not, an embarrassment to us as citizens of the 'giant of Africa' to have this giant albatross of a scandal hanging over our necks without any efforts at all to resolve it once and for all. If we are being denigraded, let us get to the bottom so that we can tell those people, you are liars, stop running down the nation or else let those who are guilty take their punishment."
Being a presentation by Prof. Wole Soyinka at a press conference at the secretariat of the Save Nigeria Group in Lagos| Article source