Apparently realizing the implication of a vacuum in the Presidency, following the continued absence of President Umar Musa Yar’Adua from the seat of power, state governors may have resolved to work for the swearing in of Vice President Goodluck Jonathan as acting president.
Feelers from the parley the governors held before meeting with Jonathan earlier this week revealed that the consensus among the state chief executives is that if President Yar’Adua would not return to the country before the middle of the month, the vice president should be allowed to function officially as acting president.
It was gathered that governors expressed fear over the continued absence of Yar’Adua, despite the assurances that he would return to the country soon. The governors were said to have reasoned that such absence creates the impression that there is a vacuum, which could be exploited by anti-democracy elements.
Saturday Sun gathered that the governors are particularly afraid following what happened in Guinea, where the president died and such vacuum made the military to take over government.
A source close to one of the governors said: “The governors examined the implication of what is happening in the country, especially as it concerns the continued absence of the president. They said that the way things are going is not good. They are afraid of what happened in Guinea, saying that although democracy has been rooted in the country, nothing should be done to suggest that the country is drifting.”
It was gathered that the governors reasoned that if they continue to insist that there is no need for an acting president and some people capitalize on this and truncate democracy all of them would lose out.
To pre-empt this, it was gathered, the governors want Jonathan to be made the acting president, pending the return of Yar’Adua. According to the source, the governors reasoned that this has become necessary so that nobody would say that there is a vacuum in the Presidency.
The governors, it was gathered, went for the Jonathan option so that the country would run effective, especially at a time when there may be a diplomatic row between the United States and Nigeria over the blacklisting of the country because of the attempted bombing of an aircraft by a Nigerian youth.
The source said: “The governors believe that at a time when the US has blacklisted Nigeria and listing her among countries on terror watch, there should be effective leadership in the country. The governors believed that at a time President Barrack Obama is speaking on the failed terror attack involving a Nigeria, there should be somebody of that stature, who would equally speak for Nigeria. Therefore, they want to press for Jonathan to assume that responsibility.”
Saturday Sun gathered that it was based on this common agreement that the governors paid a solidarity visit on Jonathan this week, without making it look as if they are passing a vote of no confidence in the president.
At the meeting with Jonathan, sources said that the governors gave assurances that they would do everything within their power to ensure that executive power is transferred to the office of the vice presidency, in acting capacity, pending when Yar’Adua would return to work.
How to achieve this Saturday Sun gathered that one of the ways the governors want to actualize the swearing of Jonathan, as acting president is to lobby members of the National Assembly from their states.
Sources told Saturday Sun that each of the governors was given the assignment to talk to federal lawmakers from the respective states and make them understand that if nothing is done to restore confidence in government democracy may be threatened.
“Soon, the governor would be discretely meeting with members of the National Assembly to press it on them that there is the need to have an acting president. If the meetings go well, soon you would be hearing members of the federal legislature demanding that power be transferred to Jonathan,” the source said.Yar’Adua’s daughter denied access to him
Meanwhile, despite the report that Yar’Adua was said to have spoken to Jonathan, it was learnt that access to the president in Saudi Arabia is still restricted. Sources say that many of those who had made efforts to see Yar’Adua in hospital were not allowed to do so. Also, it was learnt that the hospital in which the president is being treated has strict instruction not say anything about him.
“This is why the hospital has been referring inquiries about the president to the Nigerian ambassador in Saudi Arabia,” a source close to the presidency said.
Saturday Sun gathered that the restriction of access to Yar’Adua is not only for his associates. Some family members, it was gathered, are not also allowed to see him.
It was learnt that one of the daughters of the president was denied access to him in Saudi Arabia when she stopped by, on his way to the United States, where she had gone for the delivery of her baby. The daughter was said to have waited for days and when it dawned on her that she should not be allowed to see her dad, she proceeded to the US.
“Why the president’s daughter was not allowed to see him is because it was feared that if she saw the president, she would tell her husband the real situation. The president does not want that,” a source said.Yuguda also visited
It was gathered that Yar’Adua’s son-in-law and governor of Bauchi State, Mallam Isa Yuguda, was also in Saudi Arabia to see the president. Sources revealed that the governor, who just returned, stayed longer than he expected because he was not allowed access to Yar’Adua earlier.