Thursday, February 25, 2010

Who has seen Yar'Adua?

Although Yar'Adua came in the dark, it is now an open secret that he is in Nigeria. This is further butressed by the statement issued by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Olusegun Adeniyi. In the said statement the Special Adviser said Yar'Adua returned to the Presidential Villa, Abuja early Wednesday morning after being discharged by the team of medical experts overseeing his treatment in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. However NO ONE has SEEN the President since his purported dark "arrival". Even the acting President has not set eyes on the President!

After the "medical holiday", the number one citizen returned unceremoniously. Even the Minister for Information was not informed about his arrival. She said she heard of his arrival from CNN. Can you imagine that? With the return of the President, the Country has been thrown into another state of chaos and confusion. What an irony!

The most honourable thing to do (I hope) is for the President to step aside and let his vice continue acting. Anyway, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity said in a statement thus:

President Yar'Adua is grateful to the Vice President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, for competently overseeing the affairs of state in his absence.

The President also wishes to thank the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the entire membership of the National Assembly, the Governors' Forum, and the Judiciary, the Armed Forces and other security agencies, former heads of state and other eminent Nigerians for their roles in maintaining order and stability during his absence.

President Yar'Adua wishes to re-assure all Nigerians that on account of their unceasing prayers and by the special grace of God, his health has greatly improved.

However, while the President completes his recuperation, Vice President Jonathan will continue to oversee the affairs of state.
Nigerians deserve to know better! Nigerians wish Yar'Adua well. Nigerians wish Yar'Adua quick recovery, but that does not mean Nigerians should be taken for granted! The health status of the President MUST be made public. This is a democratic setting for crying out loud! The office of the President is more important than the person elected to that office! Is the President "fit and proper" to rule this great Nation?

This charade MUST stop! Haba! For how long will the Country be in the dark? What is going on? Nigerians deserve to know! Nigerians have the right to know!

Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The return of Mr. President!

Yar'Adua is back!

Just like that! About three months ago, Yar'Adua left the Country for medical treatment (without following due process). Now 93 days after he left the Country, Mr. President returned to the Country, just like that! It was reported that he arrived at the Presidential wing of the air port in Abuja at the wee hours. Hmmmm! Why was his arrival calculated in such a manner? Why did he come in the dark? Why was there an ambulance waiting for him at the airport? Why were journalists prevented from seeing him? Why were the floodlights on the tarmac dimmed? These are questions that should be answered! In answering these questions please let us remember that the office of the president is more important than the person of the president. How long will this hiding game continue?

Well I guess that with the "arrival" of Yar'Adua, Goodluck, the Acting President will "step aside" and leave the office for the President. Right?! Okay! He is expected to inform the Senate in writing of his arrival before Goodluck stops acting. Yeah. That was the content of the Resolution passed to empower Goodluck as Acting President. Well, until the Senate receives that letter, Goodluck will continue to "act".
Meanwhile the Saudi bound team were able to give the Saudi King the "appreciation letter". Like the teams before them, they were unable to see the President! Well, that has been over taken by the recent events. The drama is still unfolding. Nigerian are watching keenly!

Well, welcome back Mr. President! We wish you a speedy recovery!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Another Team to Saudi Arabia as Aondoakaa faces more trouble

The Federal Executive Council has set up a six man panel to visit Yar'Adua in saudi Arabia. Tax payers money in action!

Imagine, they have set up another team to go visit Yar'Adua in Saudi Arabia! This would not be the first team/delegation sent to Saudi Arabia to ascertain Yar'Adua's state of health. Governors, "close aides", delegation from the ruling party PDP, delegation from the House of Representatives and even the Sultan of Sokoto have all been to Saudi Arabia  to see the ailing President. They all returned with the same message - they did not see the President! Members of this new team are:
1. The Secretary to the Government of the Federation - Yayale Ahmed
2. The Minister for Health - Babatunde Oshotimehin
3. Minister for Foreign Affairs - Ojo Maduekwe
4. Minister for Petroleum Resources - Rilwanu Lukman
5. Minister for Justice and Attorney General of the Federation - Adetokunbo Kayode (SAN)
6. Minister for Agriculture -  Sayyadi Abba Ruma

Well, I wish them a safe trip to Saudi Arabia and back. If they return with a different report (ie that they were granted access to the President), then that will be a big plus. Read full story here.

More trouble seem to be brewing for the embattled erstwhile Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Mike Aondoakaa. The purported apology letter he wrote to Prof. Akunyili has been rejected. Akunyili said the apology was not acceptable on the grounds that it was not clear. She wants him to clear all ambiguities contained in the said letter. Please read the full letter here.

PS- I have been trying to add pictures to this post without luck! Is it just me, or its a general problem with blogger? Help please!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Aondoakaa, now Minister for Special Duties!

It is no longer business as usual for Michael Aondoakaa (SAN). The first thing the newly appointed Acting President, Goodluck Jonathan did was to redeploy Aondoakaa. The Acting President moved Aondoakaa from the prestigious office of the Attorney General to the Special Duties Ministry. The new Attorney General and Minister of Justice is Prince Adetokunbo Kayode (SAN), who was the Minister of Labour and Productivity.

When the former AG was asked how he felt, he said:  
"Well I am in the government, in the cabinet and I pledge my loyalty to the Vice-President. I'm the Minister of Special Duties." 
He even added that he has no regret for all his past actions because
"every single action I took was in the interest of this country. No attorney-general worth his salt will go to the pages of papers and say there is a vacuum."  

He was (is) very loyal to the ailing President. He even said Yar'Adua can rule the country from anywhere in the world, including a sick bed in a hospital in Saudi Arabia! Yes. Aondoakaa said so. This statement attracted criticisms from Nigerians. Some were even asking if Aondoakaa actually passed through the Law School.

Just last week, Aondoakaa shouted Prof Akunyili down when the later presented a memo to the Executive Council, asking that VP be sworn in as President. He said Akunyili  trying to make herself an angel and a cheap hero. He added that she (Akunyili) should "go and confront herself with what happened in NAFDAC." The question now is what happened in NAFDAC? Aondoakaa, please tell us what we do not know. Remember, he who assert must prove.

Anyway, in an attempt to right his wrongs, Aondoakaa wrote an apology letter to Akunyili stating amongst other things that he was quoted out of context. At least he had retracted the libelous statement and apologized to Akunyili. I'd say Aondoakaa is playing his politics well. Akunyili please forgive him for he acted under duress. Meanwhile enjoy your new portfolio Mr. Aondoakaa, M. (SAN).

Meanwhile the team delegated by the House of Representatives to visit the ailing President in King Faisal Hospital, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia were denied access to their President! Well it was worth trying. I believe they knew they won't be granted access to see the ailing President, knowing that other top players (including the Sultan of Sokoto and the PDP National Working Committee) have been denied access to the President. The First Lady, Turai Yar'Adua determines who can see her husband!

I am still trying to get an appropriate title for this home video! Any suggestions?

Long Live Nigeria!
Nigeria o ni baje o!* (Nigeria will not rot! )

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Acting President for Nigeria!

The Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has been empowered by the National Assembly to step into the "shoes" of the ailing AWOLed President, Yar'Adua. The Senate President, Mr. David Mark said the telephone interview aired on the BBC served as the notification needed to allow Mr. Vice act as President. So based on the "telephone conversation" yesterday, the National Assembly passed a resolution empowering Vice President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan to assume power as the acting President, pending the return of the ailing President Yar'Adua. The Senate added that the moment they receive a "letter" from Yar'Adua informing the Senate that he (Yar'Adua) is back to the Country, then Goodluck will cease to act as President.

With all due respect to the "law makers", that is NOT the right way to go about it. The Senate has no power to confer power on the Vice-President to act as President! The applicable Latin maxim here is nemo dat qui non habet. Simply put, this phrase means "he who has not cannot give". That is, you cannot give what you do not have.

The Law is very clear on that. The 1999 Constitution is very explicit. Section 144 of the Constitution is to the effect that the President or Vice-President shall cease to hold office on the following grounds:
1) A declaration is passed by the Federal Executive Council (which is made up of all ministers, who incidentally were appointed by the President) stating that the President or Vice-President is incapable of discharging the functions of his office.

2) After this declaration is passed, it has to be verified by a medical panel comprising of 5 medical practitioners, appointed by the Senate President. The personal physician of the President shall be a member of the medical panel.

Sections 144 (2)&(3) state thus:
(2) Where the medical panel certifies in the report that in its opinion the President or Vice-President is suffering from such infirmity of body or mind as renders him permanently incapable of discharging the functions of his office, a notice thereof signed by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall be published in the Official Gazette of the Government of the Federation.

(3) The President or Vice-President shall cease to hold office as from the date of publication of the notice of the medical report pursuant to subsection (2) of this section.

Now, that is the LAW! The National Assembly, in my opinion, erred in law by empowering the VP with the Presidential powers.

The BBC conversation relied on by the National Assembly IS NOT the requirement as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution. That conversation does not meet the requirement as set out in section 145 of the Constitution.

Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

73 days and still counting . . .

Fact: The President is ill.
Fact: The President has been away for 73 days today.
Fact: Most Ministers have not "spoken" to the President.
Fact: Nigerians are worried about the prolonged silence surrounding the prolonged absence of the President.
Mr. President is still at large!

Some days ago, a Federal High Court Judge, in fact, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Dan Abutu, gave the Federal Executive Council a 14 day ultimatum to decide whether the President was still capable of ruling the Nation or not. As a result of that Court Order, on the 27th of January, the Executive Council unanimously passed a resolution that only the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua could determine whether he is fit to remain in office.

It is a known fact that Nigeria has an ill President. It is also a known fact that Nigerians are praying for Yar'Adua to get well FAST! But for crying out loud, how long can we stay without a President in Office. Yes, the various Ministers and other politically minded individuals are currently manning the affairs of the Nation, but for how long?

For the records, when this guy, Mr. President, was Governor of Katsina State, news had it that he would go AWOL for months and when he does resurface, it's business as usual. Is that the same thing happening now? There had been so many rumours surrounding his disappearance from office. Some say he is dead. Some say he is brain damaged. Suddenly, there was a televised telephone conversation between Yar'Adua and a BBC correspondent. Sincerely, when I heard the shaky voice on BBC, I said thank God Yar'Adua is still alive. . . at least that will douse the rumours going on! I was so relieved that at least the nation will not be thrown into a state of chaos. Even with that, people were not still convinced. There was a general doubt that the voice was not Yar'Adua's. Some even said, it was a technological trick!

Now it is exactly 73 days since the President travelled AWOLed to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment. The Federal Executive Council still believes he is fit and proper to continue as President! Right now, the President can not carry out his duties as a President, therefore he is INCAPACITATED. Although the Executive Council has not been confirmed that he is “permanently incapacitated”, how long would a Nation should stay without its President? Our leaders are simply playing politics with us. No one is speaking out.

The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has made adequate provisions on steps to follow when the President is unable to perform his duties as President. Sections 144, 145 and 146 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides thus:

144. (1) The President or Vice-President shall cease to hold office, if -
(a) by a resolution passed by two-thirds majority of all the members of the executive council of the Federation it is declared that the President or Vice-President is incapable of discharging the functions of his office; and
(b) the declaration is verified, after such medical examination as may be necessary, by a medical panel established under subsection (4) of this section in its report to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

(2) Where the medical panel certifies in the report that in its opinion the President or Vice-President is suffering from such infirmity of body or mind as renders him permanently incapable of discharging the functions of his office, a notice thereof signed by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall be published in the Official Gazette of the Government of the Federation.

(3) The President or Vice-President shall cease to hold office as from the date of publication of the notice of the medical report pursuant to subsection (2) of this section.

(4) the medical panel to which this section relates shall be appointed by the President of the Senate, and shall comprise five medical practitioners in Nigeria:-
(a) one of whom shall be the personal physician of the holder of the office concerned; and

(b) four other medical practitioners who have, in the opinion of the President of the Senate, attained a high degree of eminence in the field of medicine relative to the nature of the examination to be conducted in accordance with the foregoing provisions.

(5) In this section, the reference to "executive council of the Federation" is a reference to the body of Ministers of the Government of the Federation, howsoever called, established by the President and charged with such responsibilities for the functions of government as the President may direct.

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.

(2) Where any vacancy occurs in the circumstances mentioned in subsection (1) of this section during a period when the office of Vice-President is also vacant, the President of the Senate shall hold the office of President for a period of not more than three months, during which there shall be an election of a new President, who shall hold office for the unexpired term of office of the last holder of the office.

(3) Where the office of Vice-President becomes vacant:-
(a) by reason of death or resignation, impeachment, permanent incapacity or removal in accordance with section 143 or 144 of this Constitution;

(b) by his assumption of the office of President in accordance with subsection (1) of this section; or

(c) for any other reason,

the President shall nominate and, with the approval of each House of the National Assembly, appoint a new Vice-President.

Yar'Adua is an "advocate" of the "rule of law". Why can't the Law be respected now that it directly concerns him? When he was sworn into office as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Yar'Adua swore to an oath of allegiance to obey the letters and the spirit of the 1999 Constitution without fear or favour and to also promote peace and accord in Nigeria.

The first option under Section 144 of the Constitution has been explored, what about the second option? The Senate President should set up a medical panel in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution to verify the "declaration" of the Executive Council.

The latest development now is that the Minister of Information and Communications, Prof. Dora Akunyili has finally spoken. The news has it that Akunyili submitted a memo to the Executive Council to "prevail on Yar'Adua to hand over to the Vice-President." Hmmmmm! With this development, Akunyili has become the "lone voice" in the Federal Executive Council and as a result, she was shouted down by the pro-Yar'Adua Ministers! What a way to advocate freedom of speech in a democratic setting!

In addition, the "media" owners have given an ultimatum to the President to take "the honourable path and spare the nation the on-going political confusion."

As for now, we’ll continue to do “sidon look”, when the home video finish playing, we’ll give credits where necessary!

Nigeria we hail thee! Long live the Federal republic of Nigeria!
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