JONATHAN SHOULD DEMAND TO SEE YAR'ADUA
Acting President Goodluck Jonathan
Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has asked Acting President Goodluck Jonathan to insist on seeing President Umar Musa Yar'Adua, without fear of who would be offended. He said that the acting president has the constitutional right to make such demand.
It would be recalled that Jonathan said he saw Yar'Adua last in November 2009.
In a press conference in Lagos yesterday, Soyinka told Jonathan to realize that he is expected to take unpleasant decisions.
Soyinka said: 'You are not a leader to be popular or nice. You are there to fulfill your responsibility. Let the constitution requirement be followed and guided by the reality on the ground. Although I sympathize with him in his dilemma, Jonathan and his cabinet should realize that he has the constitutional responsibility to demand to see his boss. I don't care what the constitution says.
The responsibility he has to himself, cabinet and the nation is to demand to see the condition of Yar'Adua and report back to Nigerians and also compel the legislature to take action.
'It is time for the nation to be authoritatively informed about the condition of Yar'Adua. If they should announce that Yar'Adua is fit and Jonathan does not leave immediately, I will be one of those who would drive him out of the office.'
The Nobel Laureate warned what he called the 'cabal' to desist from carrying speculations about the president in the media.
'They are using a helpless individual in a political manipulation. I find myself revolted and disgusted by the way President Yar'Adua is being quoted by a group that is known as the cabal. They are not faceless. A number of them are being mentioned by the media. They are very good at planting rumours in the press to falsify the information in Aso Rock, as it concerns the health of the president to achieve their selfish aim to ruin the nation. If the man that I have met, Yar'Adua is capable of speaking to this nation, he would have done it. If he was capable of communicating to the world, through any means not just vocal, he would have spoken or sent a note or receive the acting president, Senate president or even the chief judge. We all know that these things are not true.'
Soyinka described the claim and announcement that some clerics and imams were granted access to the president as an insult on the intelligence of Nigerians.
'This idea of surrogate communication to those who have no legal or constitutional standing in this nation is, to me, an insult to the intelligence of over 100 million people. I personally feel insulted. I don't see why Sango worshipper will not come and insist that they would want to see the president. If Christians and Muslims have gone to see the president, why are they limiting the visit to some religion? No matter the condition, Yar'Adua deserves the dignity and respect of Nigerians. It is high time we stood up for the truth and fight the motivation behind all these things and put an end to it.
I am appealing to groups, civil right organizations and humanitarian organizations to intervene and stop the very tragic comedy.'
Other issue raised was the Halliburton bribery scandal. On this, Soyinka said: 'It is a thing of contempt that the Halliburton scandal of such magnitude has been treated casually and with indifference by the government of this nation. Names have been mentioned; figures have been quoted. The indictment is at the court of law. Imagine a country, where there is freedom of information, the former Attorney General of Nigeria went to US sometime ago and never reported anything and nobody asked him. The Senate or the House of Representatives did not ask him what he brought back. Nigerians should insist on an independent judicial commission. We are talking about millions and billions of dollar bribe paid into their private pockets. It is an embarrassment to us to have such scandal hanging on our neck without any effort to correct it. People are tired and bored. Our nation is being scandalised.'
On why he boycotted Governor Adams Oshiomhole's rally, Soyinka explained that he decided to leave the event when he discovered that Senator David Mark was the guest of honour.
He said: 'You cannot invite me to such a function, where those who have a case to answer are; those that were found guilty in the past and present. When I got there, I found out that I do not like the company that I'm supposed to keep. I received no inkling before hand, as I thought it was an Edo State affairs. When I found out that the umbrella has been spread to include certain people, it became a problem for me. But the turning point was when I opened the pages and discovered that the special guest of honour was Senator David Mark. For me, that was out of it. I was to go to an event in which the special guest of honour of all Nigerians happens to be somebody who has fought against the implementation of Justice Mohammed Uwais recommendation, somebody who spearheaded the legislature to pass a vote of confidence on Maurice Iwu.
'Sometime ago, I told David Mark to swear by everything he owns that he won the election and reveal to the whole nation what method was used to coarse the truthful winner to step down. He should have been the first to refuse himself from being recognized in that kind of function, although I understood that he did not turn up. Maybe, he is beginning to do self-examination.'
On the retirement of Iwu as chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Soyinka stated that his greatest happiness in the developments was that Iwu's office was searched and document taken.
'I am very happy that some weeks ago his office were searched and documents was found and if those documents indicate that he flawed the electoral laws, he should be put on trial. This post is meant for people with maximal integrity. I hope the right decision will be made.'
Asked if he would accept to be INEC chairman, Soyinka said no. 'Let me tell you why I will not accept such an offer. It is because I will be up against one million handicapped persons. There will be the Iwu fanatics, who will want to make sure that the project fails, maybe because I am the one involved. I will require a hundred times energy to succeed. I have no doubt in my mind that I can assemble the dream team and capable hands, who can deliver such an election. The next election will not be perfect.'