Jonathan, stop these liars

Jonathan can provide answers to these questions by officially asking Gusau to see Yar’Adua and report back to the nation. Dead or alive, Yar’Adua is our property as a nation

Jonathan, stop these liars by Adebolu Arowolo

We lost a significant part of last quarter to President’s Umaru Yar’adua’s health crisis. National attention was devoted to how to fill a yawning power void created by Yar’adua’s absence from office without official leave. A clique had then seized the control of government, exercising power on behalf of an incapacitated President. We lost time to a cabal whose members were exploiting Yar’adua’s unfortunate health situation to milk the nation.

This quarter has also ended without an emphatic solution to the destabilizing politics of Yar’adua’s health. Even after Goodluck Jonathan has been empowered as Acting President and Commander-in-Chief, the cabal has still not stopped playing pranks with the true state of Yar’adua’s health. Tissues of lies and dirty intrigues are still being thrown around by the desperate cabal to create confusion and obstacles for the Acting President in order to prevent him from moving forward with governance. 

Early last week, and following the dissolution of the Federal Executive Council, some national dailies were used to spread another rumour that Yar’Adua would soon return to his desk. In a story that was specifically aimed by members of the cabal to hobble Jonathan’s progress and stall the constitution of a new cabinet, one newspaper wrote that, the exercise “could shortly hit a brick wall because President Umaru Yar’Adua intends to resume duties in his office next week.” 

Attributing its source to top associates of the ailing President, the newspaper wrote further that “Yar’Adua intends to make a national radio and television broadcast to signal his resumption of work as early as Monday or Wednesday next week (last week) … Yar’Adua has made much progress physically since his return to the country late last month, and … his remaining medical problem now is speech related… The ailing President now walks around the house, and also around the garden, where there are birds and animals.” According to the report, Yar’Adua has been receiving visitors, including family members, close friends, some political associates, some state governors and also some personal staff. The report however did not say why the Acting President has been prevented from seeing the President. 

The cabal also went to town with another story that Yar’Adua would pray at the National Mosque last Friday. Out of curiosity or love for Yar’Adua, many people went to the Jumaat ground in Abuja to catch a glimpse of a President who has remained elusive since his secretive return to the country 34 days ago. It all turned out to be another grand chicanery aimed at stalling government activities. 

It is hard to forget how Nigeria’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Abdullahi Aminchi, packaged lies as official statements about Yar’adua’s health for more than three months. Throughout Yar’adua’s stay in the Arab country, Aminchi gave the impression that Yar’Adua was recovering fast. At a time, he said the President was already eating, talking, and walking. At another time, he said the ailing man was already doing light exercise and watching football; only for the man to be transferred from one ambulance to the other on the night he was smuggled into the country. 

Yar’adua’s return itself was aimed at stalling the belated process by the Federal Executive Council to pronounce the President incapable of discharging his official duties as a necessary step towards removing him from office. Thirty-four days after returning from Saudi Arabia, I am not sure the man they say is recuperating inside Aso Rock is in this country as claimed by his associates. 

It is sad that Yar’Adua has his worst enemies as friends. To be deliberately benefiting from a friend’s misfortune is the peak of cruelty. Why should the President of a nation be reduced to the private property of a cabal? Why are the members of the cabal finding it difficult to see that the game is up? Do they think they are fooling anybody when they say Yar’Adua is healthy and about to bounce back to power? Those who are hiding Yar’Adua from us only want to continue to loot in the President’s name. 

There are reports, for instance, that billions of naira appropriated by Yar’adua’s associates as security vote during his three months’ stay in Saudi Arabia has been funnelled into private accounts in Mauritius, Isle of Man and other foreign lands. If not checked, the cabal is rich and powerful enough to continue to destabilise the government of Jonathan. Members of the cabal, according to some reports, have already moved money to Abuja and are ready to bribe every senator with $100,000 in order to delay the ministerial screening exercise or prevent some important nominees from scaling the hurdle. 

Jonathan dealt a severe blow to the cabal’s camp when he dissolved the cabinet and appointed General Aliyu Mohammed Gusau as the National Security Adviser. He needs to take further steps to consolidate his hold on power and redeem Nigeria’s image as a nation governed by law and decency. It is shameful for a nation’s President to be kidnapped and held incommunicado by a clique. The citizens of this nation have the right to know the true state of the President’s health. Is he dead? Is he alive? Is he incapacitated? Where is he? 

Jonathan can provide answers to these questions by officially asking Gusau to see Yar’Adua and report back to the nation. Dead or alive, Yar’Adua is our property as a nation. He must therefore be liberated from the dark forces that have abducted him. There should be no problem recalling Ambassador Aminchi from Saudi Arabia to come and explain why he should not be dismissed from service for deceiving the nation. Yar’adua’s Chief Security Officer, Yusuf Tilde, and Aide-de-Camp, Col. Mustapha Onudieva, should be replaced by competent and loyal officers who are capable of placing the nation’s interest above private and parochial interests.

The Senate that saved the nation by working with others to empower Jonathan as Acting President and Commander-In-Chief should go further to give him credible men and women to work with. The ministerial screening exercise presents another opportunity for the Senate to burnish its image. The senators should therefore act swiftly and decisively in the best interest of the country. They should approve competent and courageous ministers who will be able to contribute meaningfully to the final resolution of the Yar’Adua impasse. Jonathan must put a final stop to this period of political uncertainty by apprehending and punishing those crooks and liars who are masquerading as Yar’adua’s associates.