No Need for Yar’adua to show face – Aides

Umaru Yar'aduaAides to President Umaru Yar’adua insist that the recent clamour for Nigeria’s acting President Goodluck Jonathan to be made a substantive president that began two weeks ago was not to fill the power vacuum but to make Yar’Adua history.

Therefore Nigeria’s ailing President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua who returned last week from a Saudi Arabia hospital, so far appears set to disregard the clamour for him to make a public broadcast to his nation, until he has resumed duty as Nigeria’s substantive President.

His aides insist that the current political gridlock in the country has been engineered by just a few individual’s inclusion former president Olusegun Obasanjo’s cronies like Nasir El’Rufai.

A circulating email purportedly written by El Rufai says it all. (read the email here)

Yar’adua’s presidency aides said on Monday, in reply to enquiries why President Yar’Adua has yet to speak to Nigerians since his return to Nigeria after over 70 days owing to ill-health. They said that since Vice President Goodluck Jonathan’s elevation to the position of an Acting President, there was no longer a vacuum in the presidency. They pointed out that on President Yar’adua’s return to the country last week, his spokesman, Mr. Segun Adeniyi issued a statement in which Yar’Adua stated that though he was back in the country, he would still continue with his sick leave, and in the interim his deputy, Mr. Jonathan, would continue to function as Acting President. In that case, they argued that the clamour for President Yar’Adua to put up a public appearance or speak to the nation does not arise as he as said he was still recuperating, and that once he is ready to return to his duties, he would address the nation in due course.

The source said that ordinarily, he would have made this statement official by appending his name to it, but that would send the wrong signal that there was a power contest in the presidency as “all official matters should now come from Acting President Jonathan’s office, as the President is technically on leave.” According to the source, the calls for the President to state his true condition of his health is misplaced as the man has owned up that he was still sick and was recovering. “It is only when he has announced that he was healthy enough to resume his presidential duties would anyone be justified to ask for his health status”, he said.

The highly placed Presidency aide charged that the clamour for Yar’Adua to make a public statement was the result of a highly orchestrated media manipulation by some politicians to grab power. To buttress this, he called attention to an e-mail believed to have come from the former Minister in the Obasanjo administration which ended in May 2007, Mr. Nasir El-Rufai. The e-mail dated Friday February 12, 2010 was from the and copied to four others; spoke in post-Yar’adua presidency terms.  The document argued that a Vice President should be provided for the Mr. Jonathan only if he “becomes substantive President, and that it was only after this that he would dissolve the cabinet.

To achieve this, the e-mail stated that “the sum total of the forgoing is that we must continue to push for the declaration of the permanent incapacity of Yar’Adua so that Goodluck will be substantive President and will nominate a VP and put Yar’Adua totally behind us. There are two other ways to achieve this – impeachment and FEC (Federal Executive Council made up of the presidency and the ministers) resolution for a medical panel by the Senate. In my humble view, the impeachment option is not viable” as it could take up to six months to conclude.

The e-mail continued, “The most viable option – which process can be completed within weeks – is the FEC – Medical Panel –Permanent Incapacitation option. We must focus on that and remain resolute until success is achieved. This is through continuous pressure, naming and shaming the reluctant, self-centred Ministers, and emphasizing the reality of power – now with Goodluck and not Yar’Adua”. 

So far, the dictates of the e-mail continue to form the national and even international agenda as pressure continues to pile on Yar’Adua to either relinquish power or he should be forced to do so.