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!


Rita said...

Nigeria we hail thee oh! But I still cannot understand why the hand over to the Vice President is dragging...every day we hear rumours that it has been effected...

Miss FlyHigh said...

I love Nigeria and it amazes me EVERYDAY. May God help the nation.
wetin we go do? wetin wo go say?

Dee! said...

RITA: Yes O! Nigeria we hail thee. The "hand over" to VP is taking so long because these politians are only thinking of their own selfish interests! They are just making excuses where there are none!
God help us.

MISS FLYHIGH: "I love my country, I no go lie..." Make we just dey sidon look!
Amen to your prayers. Nigeria go survive!

~Sirius~ said...

Aaaah, My dear country..very unique in everything that she does....
Nigeria we hail Dee.

Dee! said...

~SIRIUS~: Lol@"Nigeria we hail Dee" Yes o! Our dear country is very unique. May God help us. Amen.

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