It has been reported that the purported signature on the 2009 supplementary budget by the President might have been forged to douse rising tension and prevent Vice President Goodluck Jonathan from assuming the position of acting President in the absence of President Yar’Adua. A Presidency official was said to have forged the signature of the ailing Nigeria President, Umaru Yar’adua.
Two Nigerian Newspapers, The Tribune and The Sun adds that the report that Principal Private Secretary to the President, David Edevbie, was in Saudi Arabia with the president for 90 minutes, during which, the President purportedly signed the budget, was false.
The Nigerian Tribune says while questions are still being asked about the whereabouts of President Umaru Yar’Adua, the 2009 Supplementary Budget, alleged to have been signed by the ailing president, was not physically signed by him in Saudi Arabia as no official of the Nigerian government has seen the president in the last one week.
According to The Sun, In the midst of the controversy and suspicion, a sitting judge warned that the offence, if proven, could earn offenders a life jail term with no option of fine. He pointed at section 467, sub-section (1) of the Criminal Code to buttress his position.
But Ladi Williams, scion of the late legal icon, Rotimi William, specifically said that a 14-year jail term awaits anyone found to have been involved in such crime.
Ladi, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria said he wouldn’t want to believe the allegation was true, but was quick to add that if it could be proved it is a serious matter.
Though the announcement was made that Edevbie travelled to Saudi Arabia, it was learnt that only the specimen signature of the president was imposed on the supplementary budget booklet and that the hawks believed that the National Assembly would be convinced by the deal.
Many officials of the Umaru Yar’Adua administration, who were contacted by the Tribune on the whereabouts of the president, remained silent last week, as concern spread as to where the president is being kept 38 days after he left the shores of Nigeria.
A Nigerian lawyer, Yinka Oyeniji said, told the Sun that the signing of the “2009 supplementary budget has been fraught with irregularity and illegality. Though, there is no law that says that this is how the budget should be signed, but we can rely on conventions and usual practice, budget is usually signed in the presence of media men, camera, vice president and relevant ministers, cabinet members and stakeholders. But this one was not done that way”.
Last week the Nigerian Tribune that President Yar’Adua was not admitted to King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Jeddah or Riyadh as alleged, as they continued to put heads together on the next line of action.
The Newspaper reported that the budget signing hoax was part of the grand plot to stop Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan from becoming acting President.
It was confirmed that immediately the decision was reached that a letter be produced in conformity with with Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution, some hawks in the system immediately generated an alternative idea to frustrate Jonathan from becoming acting President.
A source said that the hawks immediately came up with the idea that the outgoing Chief Justice of Nigeria could swear in the incoming one while the president could actually sign the budget from anywhere.
Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Michael Aondoakaa, then announced on Monday that the outgoing Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Idris Kutigi, would swear in his successor before the expiration of his tenure.
Once that was done, it was gathered that they had concluded that it was no longer necessary to hand over to Jonathan in acting capacity. Some kitchen cabinet members were said to have contacted the First Lady, Hajia Turai Yar’Adua, to inform her and further explain the machinations to her, the Tribune said.