When in 2007 former President Olusegun Obasanjo chose Umaru Yaradua as his successor in office, there were reports in every news media about his failing health. The daily tabloids reported that Umaru Yaradua had kidney problem and undergoing treatment somewhere in Germany. Powerful media battle was unleashed to silence that obvious assertion.
Nobody wants a sick President for a presumably sick Nigeria. Obasanjo did everything humanly possible to ensure YaraduaÂ´s election, undermining his health question which had filled the news all over the country. Skeptics had reserves on whether it is constitutionally correct to allow a sick man into the office as President of the federation. Political rivals were disturbed but strategizing on the possibility of enthroning a â€śGoodluckâ€ť into office.
Whichever way, it doesnâ€™t seem like Yaradua was the most admired candidate for his political folks. It was believed that he was imposed on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by the patriarch, Obasanjo. Why did Obasanjo insist on Yaradua as the most qualified successor? He (Obasanjo) was credited with a boastful speech arguing that â€śit is time to produce the first Nigerian graduate Presidentâ€ť. ObasanjoÂ´s credentials are full of eventualities and unpopular anecdotes such as his replacement of Col. Adekunle (black scorpion) as the commander of the 3rd marine commando division that matched into Owerri in 1969 when the war was almost over.
Or his rapid transition to democracy in 1979, handing over to Shehu Shagari in a widely contested election soiled by credible reports of massive rigging. And also, his adventurous journey to the UN secretary general bid that saw Boutrus Butrus Gali as the world chief diplomat.
YaraduaÂ´s election into power was no lesser controversy and ObasanjoÂ´s â€śbad jokeâ€ť in Nigeria. Since President Yaradua assumed office, he had seen physicians from all over the world on quite a couple of occasions. In fact, half of his foreign trips were for health reasons. Nigerians are beginning to grow weary over the â€śtortoise crawlingâ€ť of the nations affairs.
The pace with which the nation is run is slow and nothing seem to be moving rightfully. His popular seven point agenda on â€śPower, Electoral reform, Education, Agriculture, The Niger Delta, Health and Employmentâ€ť has become a seven point hopeless story. All we hear is controversies over one polemic decision by members of his cabinet on corruption and domestic matters. Eminent Nigerians are questioning his fitness to run the country while his actual health condition remained a close guided secret.
What we know is sourced from the pages of the media, with the bitter knowledge that the media has also a tradition of â€śnot telling all the truthâ€ť. Troubling news spread about his recent internment into a Saudi hospital and prayers immediately began to pour out for his quick recovery. On the other hand, more voices began to invoke constitutional question, asking his immediate resignation for health reasons and his immediate replacement by his deputy, Goodluck Jonathan.
All these were happening while rumors of the NorthÂ´s insecurity over the possible return of power to the south continued to grow thick and more conspicuous. Daily tabloids and news media reports pointed to a demand by the Northern elites that Goodluck Jonathan should resign in order to pave way for the senate president, a Northerner, to succeed President Yaradua in the eventuality that he did not recover.
Even the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), the Nigerian umbrella for practicing lawyers has demanded that the constitution be invoked and Yaradua declared incapacitated to run the affair of Nigeria. This assertion has been out rightly responded by the Attorney General of the Federation, Aondoakaa who claimed that â€śthere is nowhere in the constitution that it says the President cannot be sickâ€ť.
But, is it just about the president being sick or the sickness really affecting the presidentÂ´s capacity to run the affairs of the nation? Some will argue that the President has not lost his sense of reasoning, thus, he is not insane and therefore, could be considered fit to govern. Well, I have seen so many people relieved of their jobs for being regularly sick and their contracts terminated. President Umaru Yaradua should reconsider his stance and for the love of the nation, allow someone else to paddle the boat of the nationâ€™s affair. He has my thoughts and prayers with a sincere wish for his quick recovery.
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Capone Hackney, London, UK January 21, 2010
Is Yaradua dead or alive? That is the question.Many people are speculating about this and I am worried that we cannot reach to an understanding. We had a protest here in London and people are begininng to get weary with a lot of unanswered questions.
How on earth can a President of a country get sick and we know about it from rumours? This is not happening in this new millennium! A southern president would not have survived such arrogance such as the Yaradua's and his Northern cohorts. But I dont blame them, just as this author said, Obasanjo (a southerner) knew he was sick and yet, imposed him on us. A sick leader in a sick country.
Lukman Haruna Abuja, Nigeria January 20, 2010
The South should just be quiet and let the president recover from his illness. Recently, the court has spoken that it is not necessary for Yaradua to hand over power to Jonathan before the later can exercise it. Jonathan is the vice president and once the president is absent, in his place comes his vice. What else does the south want from Yaradua? The country is being run correctly and we have the house and the senate to enact laws that can be used to govern the country effectively.
Chris Manchester, UK January 18, 2010
This is a stunning revelation; that Obasanjo knew he was sick and imposed him on Nigerians.
A beautiful and interesting piece. Does anyone know anything about this guy(Yaradua)? God bless Nigeria
Agunwa Lagos, Nigeria January 14, 2010
I think he is already dead so there is no need for prayers to have his speedy recovery.
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