Press Statement: PRESIDENT YA’ADUA’S HEALTH CONDITION AND THE STATE OF THE NATION
It is clear to every discerning observer that President Umaru Yar’Adua’s physical condition has had a negative impact on his ability to discharge the functions of the highest office in our nation. Within the last few months, he has been unable to attend to crucial affairs of the State at home and abroad and whenever he has found time to do so, his judgment appears impaired by his ill-health.
A few examples may suffice:
i. His health condition has necessitated several medical trips abroad but he has not transmitted to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives a written declaration that he was proceeding on vacation or that he is otherwise unable to discharge the functions of his office as required by Section 145 of the Constitution.
ii. President Yar’adua though invited was unable to attend the United nations General Assembly for which a private audience had been arranged between him and President Obama for high level discussions of issues mutually beneficial to Nigeria and the United States because he was in Saudi Arabia to ‘open a university’ which was a dummy sold to cover up his treatments.
iii. It is also common knowledge that the incapacity of the president has affected the implementation of the nationâ€™s budget because he has been unable to coordinate the management of the national economy and to preside over the Federal Executive Council in a diligent manner.
iv In the circumstance, Ministers have routinely flouted the orders of the President and engaged in infighting as a direct result in the vacuum of leadership. This was recently embarrassingly exposed to the world with the series of conflicting public statements credited to the Attorney General and the Chair person of the EFCC. This was also exposed further when the president disavowed knowledge of a memo to all foreign missions purportedly on his instructions. Furthermore, till date, ministers continue to flout the public instruction of the president that ministers who presented memos at the FEC should stay behind to brief the media.
v You may also recall that a battery of doctors complete with their paraphernalia escorted the president to the National Assembly last year to stand by as he delivered the budget and you may also recall that some pundits have revealed that the crisis between the Senate and the house on who should host the budget delivery by the president was contrived to provide an escape for the president who was reportedly physically unable to perform this formal task.
vi Finally, the current condition of the president has created a dangerous situation whereby no one is in charge of the affairs of the State contrary to the letter and spirit of the Constitution.
As responsible and concerned individuals from every part of Nigeria, we call on President Umaru Yar’Adua to immediately choose the honorable option of either:
(a) resigning his office immediately, or
(b) if he is confident of his true physical condition, request the Federal Executive Council to pass a resolution pursuant to Section 144 (1) of the Constitution to the effect that the President appears incapable of discharging the functions of his office. This honorable step will enable the Senate President to appoint a Medical Panel to confirm the fitness or otherwise of the President to continue in office.
As President Yar’Adua’s compatriots and part of his larger Nigerian family, we sympathize with him and believe that his health should be given priority attention. At the same time, the need to provide effective governance for this nation of over 150 million people cannot be compromised. Indeed, the Constitution has rightly envisaged the situation in which the country has found itself.
In any event, we are of the view that the President should immediately and unconditionally hand over to the Vice-President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan to complete the current term of office, and conduct the next general elections on the basis of the report of the electoral reform committee headed by Justice Mohammed Lawal Uwais.
(1) Alhaji Balarabe Musa (2) Chief Olu Falae (3) Senator Ken Nnamani (4) Alhaji Aminu Masari (5) Lt. Gen. Alani Akinrinade (Rtd) (6) Chief John Odigie Oyegun (7) Dr. Tunji Braithwaite (8) Col. Abubakar Umaru (Rtd) (9) Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN) (10) Alhaji Buba Galadima (11) Hon. Olawale Oshun (12) Dr. Usman Bugaje (13) Alhaji Adamu Maina Waziri (14) Mallam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai (15) Mr. Femi Falana (16) Mr. Yinka Odumakin (17) Alhaji Sadiq Yar’Adua (18) Hon. Adamu Farouk Aliyu (19) Chief Jos Ayomike (20) Hajia Naja’atu Muhammeed (21) Dr (Mrs) Joe Okei-Odumakin (22) Ms. Annkio Briggs (23) Mrs. Jumoke Anifowose (24) Chief Supo Shonibare (25) Mr. Odia Ofeimun (26) Hon. Lawal Garuba (27) Mr. Biodun Sowunmi (28) Hon (Dr) Ishaq Kurufi
(29) Hon. Uche Onyeagocha (30) Hon.. Bashir Idrs Nadabo (31) Mr. Kayode Ogundamisi
(32) Saint George Eke (33) Mr. Bamidele Aturu (34) Prof. Sola Adeyeye (35) Mr. Osita Okechukwu (36) Hon (Dr) Haruna Yerima (37) Mr. Anselem Odinkhalu
(38) Mr. Akintoye Branco-Rhodes (39) Hon. (Dr) Almajiri Gaidam (40) Alhaji Amitolu Shittu (41) Mallam Uba Sani (42) Barrister Supo Ojo (43) Barrister Sani Hussaini Garun-Gabbas (44) Mr. Festus Okoye (45) Mallam Salihu Lukman (46) Dr Sam Amadi
(47) Mr. Adetokunbo Mumuni (48) Alhaji Kabir Yahaya (49) Hon. Awwal Tukur
(50) Mallam Tanko Yinusa (51) Mallam Nasir Kura (52) Achike Chude (53) Mr. Iboroma Akpana (54) Mr. Morakinyo Ogele