President Yar’Adua Should Not Resign; But
Obey The Constitution Instead
Paul I. Adujie
President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, the peoples’ servant, the president who
listens and Mr. Rule of Law Ko? What happened? What changed?
What exactly is at stake in the face of President Yar’Adua’ frequent
hospitalizations and absence from the presidency? It rather simple.
The issue is President Yar’Adua violation or willful and complete
disregard for section 145 of the constitution of Nigeria. The issue is not
about his fragile state of health or about the unconstitutional and
unbridled power of first ladies. The issue is whether we are a nation of
laws, a nation of constitutional democracy or a nation of brigandage of
cabals, pirates and criminal gangs!
Nigeria must avert these obvious speed into serious crisis. Averting
catastrophes and cataclysms makes eminent sense. Avoiding looming anarchy
from unnecessary constitutional crisis in Nigeria simply require that
Nigerians scrupulously follow the constitution of Nigeria. In this
particular instance, adherence to section 145 of the constitution of
Nigeria 1999 strongly advocated. And this merely requires that some
Nigerian current political leaders with huge egos, curb their arrogance
and overbearing ways.
Nigerians at home and abroad have been left waiting and holding bated
breathe for over two weeks now, all due to the precarious state of health
of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, president and commander-in-chief of our
Nigerians, including myself, feel empathy toward the president over his
health condition. First, because is a fellow human being and second,
because he is one of us and thirdly, because he represent our nation as a
national symbol for Nigeria, during the proper tenure of his presidency.
We recognize that our president did not wish ill health upon himself and
it is not something he purchased from some supermarket or stoke. It is
just happenstance and luck of the draw, it happens to the best of us. Life
This is also an appropriate commentary on the human condition in Nigeria.
How be it, that there is no hospital in any of the six geopolitical zones
with sufficient medicines and adequate equipment of current medical
science and technology to enable health care givers perform their function
for President Yar’Adua and every Nigerian citizen Adamu, Bola and Chima,
whether in Anambra, Bauchi or Oyo states. It is an open secret that
Nigerian doctors and nurses excel everywhere in the world, but, in
Nigeria, the medical professionals lack electricity and equipment and that
I wish the president well in his pursuit of treatment and recovery
overseas, even as I recognize and I am saddened by the fact that millions
of Nigerians cannot go abroad for death inducing ailments. I sincerely
wish our president best of health, nonetheless.
But, niceties and politesse flees and depart from me quite rapidly, as I
consider the egregiously unconstitutional behavior of President Yar’Adua,
and his advisers,. Particularly, the chief law officer of the federation,
who ought to be our first in line, as a national constitutional watchdog
and defender of our constitution. Chief Michael Aondoaakaa has failed the
nation miserably as Attorney General and Minister for Justice. I have
actually had an occasion in the past to append a fitting label onto him,
as Nigeria’s Public Enemy Number One, as he seem to observe Nigerian laws
in the breach. Hugging looters and rigging courts processes in their favor,
both in Nigeria and in London.
But President YarAdua is not blameless. He knows our constitution, after
all, he was chief executive of Katsina state for 8 years, before become
president of our federation. And even before that, he was a college
professor and he read and understands the constitution. He has a bevy of
legal advisers, despite the willfully ignorant Attorney General and
Minister for Justice who seem to excel in subverting the constitution and
laws of Nigeria.
The issue here is not whether the president is sick, the world obviously
know that by now! The issue for me is not about the dichotomies of North
or South or Christian or Muslim, region or state, the issue at stake and
propelling of all these, is arrogance of persons who are being simply
uncouth. Section 145 of the constitution of Nigeria provides, in letter
and spirit, that the president shall inform leaders of the national
assembly in writing of his absence from the presidency, and absence from
the management of the affairs of the Nigerian nation. President Yar’Adua
haven’t practiced this constitutional requirement!
Only Sunday, I read in the front page of one of Nigerian newspapers, that
the military president of Guinea was shot and injured, and he chose to
seek medical treatment in Morocco, and he duly handed over or delegated
presidential authority, to his deputy! What an irony is that? Guinea
should be learning from Nigeria.
Guinea is small, and relatively poor compared with Nigeria, and above all
these, Guinea’s current leaders are not even pretending to be democrats or
to have faith in constitutionality. The military guys, president and
deputy, never laid claims to the practice of democracy and
constitutionalism, and yet, power transfer and devolution was without
incident, it was rather seamless, even after an assassination attempt on
the president, quite unlike the Nigerian circumstances where no gun shots
And so, in the case of Nigeria, President Yar’Adua or any president of
Nigeria at any given time, could be in excellent or perfect health, when
he is away from the presidency, on vacation, or drunk or whatever the
reason for being indisposed or otherwise absent or unavailable to properly
discharge his constitutional presidential duties, he or she, should follow
the stipulation of the constitution of Nigeria which prescribes the manner
of power succession and devolution in hierarchical order. President
Yar’Adua for his reasons or no reason at all, have so far refused to
follow these constitutional order.
The People Democratic Party members are surely blinded by their self
interests and their power retention paranoia. Their interests are in
direct conflict with the interests of Nigerians and Nigeria. The PDP is of
necessity, defending its “turf” and to that extent, I agree with Mr. Tunji
Braithwaite that a few in the ruling party or cabal, are selfish and
acting completely and totally at variant with the best interests of our
nation at this time. PDP has become a colossus incapable of managing
itself, let alone, our complex nation
After carefully considering all the present circumstances however, I
certainly do not believe that President Yar’Adua should resign, until and
unless, he is determined to be permanently indisposed, incapacitated and
otherwise unable to function effectively efficiently, as Nigeria’s chief
executive. Such decision should be his alone, and perhaps, given his
advertised impaired health conditions, in due consultation with his
As a matter of fact, there are historical precedents in all of these.
There have been presidents and prime ministers in the world, in the past,
and outside Nigeria, with imperfect health, President Roosevelt pursued
the so-called New Deal, even though he was afflicted and literally
crippled and wheelchair bound with Polio. And not too long ago, about a
couple of years ago, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel became comatose
and he remains that way, but, there was no upheaval in America and Israel
during these aforementioned times. The issue is that Nigeria should not
have a power vacuum or the absence and lack of legitimate constitutional
presidential authority in Nigeria, while the president is away in sickness
or in perfect health. The affairs of the Nigerian nation should not be
held to ransom or allowed to grind to a halt for so long. We do not want a
military or civilian coup. We need our work in progress democracy to lurch
forward and move Nigeria into a more perfect united nation where no one is
marginalized. We want constitutionalism.
However, it must be mentioned that those now demanding the resignation of
President Yar’Adua, with all due respect, are themselves beclouded by some
subjectivity. I am not persuaded that they could not find and win over
some PDP members to co-sign the resignation petition drive with the 53 who
appear to be interested in a power grab of their own choosing. After all,
a cursory look at the names on the resignation petition portray the
signers as anything but members of the CNPP, the current opposition
One cannot be certain that these CNPP crowd are making their demands with
clean hand, forthrightly, impartially, objectively and without prejudice.
The CNPP are such collective of opposition party persons, who are in my
estimation, not vigorous or vibrant as they should have been all these
times. They are therefore in my view, mere political opportunists and
political orphans, seeking circuitous way to the presidency. It is no
secret that CNPP of which the form the fulcrum, have been seething and
waiting in desperation. Or that they harbor bruises and even animosity and
hostility from the shenanigans of the last general election. These same
CNPP folks are now claiming that they are acting in the name of the
Nigerian electorate and people
CNPP should not be allowed to reargue and essentially re-litigate their
forgone election petitions losses through the backdoor of presidential
infirmity of President Yar’Adua, as a convenient excuse. Therefore,
President Yar’Adua and Vice President Jonathan remain the de jure and de
facto political leaders of Nigeria respectively.
But why is President Yar’Adua and his cohorts and acolytes and platoon of
enablers clearly flirting with an obvious calamity and catastrophe? Is it
that some Nigerians want to hurry Nigeria along and toward the precipice
of predicted anarchy and disintegration as forecasted and told Nigerians
by non-Nigerians the umpteenth time?
Or why would we not heed those, like General Theophilous Danjuma, who
recently repeated his old advice, that Nigeria cannot afford nor, would
Nigeria survive another civil war? Is that not glaringly clear to all, by
Does Nigeria want to follow the wonderful paths of Afghanistan, Somalia
etc? I presume that ours would be worse because of our size and numbers!
The extent of human hardship and suffering of Nigerians will be higher in
magnitude and higher in proportions.
We must not allow some selfish Nigerians use their political manipulations
and power intrigues to speed Nigeria to war and disintegration?
The current political climate in Nigeria is everything, but, it is
certainly not only President Yar[Adua physical health. This is not about
the president ill health at all, it is about his unwillingness to obey the
laws of the land and to respect section 145 of the constitution of Nigeria
1999. The current constitution, until it is amended or repealed
completely, remains the supreme law of the land. President Yar’Adua and
vice President Jonathan arrived at Nigeria’s political stage through an
imperfect albeit, a flawed process. Nigeria’s current constitution, is
also arguably imperfect. But we will have to make delicately manage these
double-binds and extricate ourselves from these rather delicate situations
without violent frictions.
In the preceding ten days or approximately two weeks, there have been a
toxic mix of incendiaries and combustible speculations about power
devolution, of the north and south axis type. There have been a plethora
of rumors and countervailing rumors of power grab and power grab
resistance strategies. There have been announced plans of usurpation and
counter announced or articulated plans to fight to the death! What manner
of citizens are these?
Some Nigerians want to play a zero sum game. Some Nigerians want to throw
the baby and the dirty bathwater, and these could portend cataclysms and
serve as harbinger to greater evils or even violence.
All those who wish for a peace and security, justice, progress and
development, advancement and greatness for our nation, must refrain from
making public pronouncements and posturing to inflame.
Those Nigerians and friends of Nigeria, who wish Nigeria well should
ensure that these delicate moment is managed effectively to protect and
preserve Nigeria as one, indivisible and united nation.