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Home arrow Africa arrow The Yar’Adua Mafia: One last desperate move!
The Yar’Adua Mafia: One last desperate move! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Frisky Larr, NigerianNews Special Columnist   
Feb 26, 2010 at 09:20 PM

 In one last albeit giant stride to salvage what is left of hope for presidential powers, the Yar’Adua mafia unleashed Wednesday, an unconstitutional coup de main to underscore the hint of the possible man-in-charge. For the avoidance of doubt, a coup de main is nothing but an attack without warning. A warning shot of sort that seeks to destabilize the camp of the opponent that will initially seek to identify the direction from which the shot was fired.

The peculiar character of this warning shot this time though, is the unconstitutional packaging of its peripheral elements. From all we know in the public arena, neither Goodluck Jonathan nor at least, the upper chamber of the National Assembly was pre-informed of the hastily arranged return of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.

Reports claim that information reached Jonathan of the imminent return of the ailing President only through diplomatic channels. To add insult upon an already painful injury, the inner circle of the Yar’Adua mafia obviously made microscopically pointed contacts with platoon leaders or commanders within the military for the release of soldiers to man the airport and the route to the President’s home. All without the knowledge of Goodluck Jonathan!

I deliberately use the name Goodluck Jonathan in this context without the formal designation “Acting President” for obvious reasons. As long as Umaru Musa Yar’Adua returns to town and keeps hope alive that he may write a letter to the National Assembly that he is ready to resume office, Goodluck Jonathan remains his Vice President. As long as Umaru Musa Yar’Adua bears the title “President” (both formally and informally), Goodluck Jonathan will always remain his Vice President not “Acting President”! It is as simple as that. Finally, as long as legal challenges persist and judgment is yet to be passed on the legality or otherwise, of Goodluck Jonathan’s ascension to the seat of Acting President, Goodluck Jonathan will always remain Yar’Adua’s Vice President. It is against this background that anger should be muted as a matter of necessity, over Yar’Adua’s spokesperson Segun Adeniyi’s reference to Goodluck Jonathan as Vice President.

Indeed, we are all as Nigerians only now, beginning to reap the seed of misplaced convenience and expediency that we have tried to sow in our democratic environment over the past few years. We have deceitfully attempted to create a democratic tradition of permitting emotionally convenient realities to go for legalities. Now, the price is being demanded.

Not long ago, Nigerian Supreme Court Judges passed an amateurish judgment pronouncing the constitutionality of a Vice President swapping parties and still remaining President. Legal experts who should have known better applauded the judgment because the victim of the judgment was their public enemy. They knew too well that if the President of the time had passed away, a new President with a different party that the electorates never voted for would have taken over the Presidency. It was however, emotionally expedient and the judgment passed as law.

Shortly thereafter, a candidate for election, whose name did not appear on the ballot paper was declared as the winner of a Governorship election even though he never filed any motion that prayed the Judges to declare him Governor. Experts applauded the judgment rather than knowing better. The victim, once again, was public enemy No. 1 and that was sufficient to make illegality the reality of law.

A Governor’s term was illegally extended for the frivolous reason of late ascension to power at the expense of constitutionally defined tenure and framework. The denial of his rights was prudently attributed to criminal acts. The criminals were never identified and no one faced prosecution. Constitutionally defined tenure was sacrificed. It was all accepted because public enemy No. 1 was at the receiving end.

The elected Governor whose term was kept on hold was denied the status of Governor-in-waiting because he was popularly hated. This too has become law.

The ensuing election of Peter Obi to a second term was visibly shown to have been badly flawed with even registered and prominent candidates failing to see their names on the list of voters. A minimal fraction of qualified voters were said to have been registered and allowed to vote and they determined who won the ensuing election. We accepted this whimsically as long as the wrong party did not win the elections.

The past days and weeks have been bearing witness to an ailing President on vegetative conditions, whose inner circle is taking the nation for a ride. They have trampled on the constitution perhaps without the knowledge of the ailing President. To fill the power vacuum, the legislative chambers passed non-binding resolutions and took a Radio interview as fulfilling a constitutional requirement demanding a written letter from the ailing President. The result was satisfactory. It calmed down tension and the body politics of an agitated land was up on its feet and the Acting President was to hit the ground running. Still it was illegal. There is never a legal framework on earth in which a Radio Interview can be taken in lieu of a written notification.

We now live in a country, in which expediencies take the place of strict legality. Whatever soothes our ego and satisfies our emotions is given the twist and turns of manipulated legality and funnily becomes the ultimate law.

Do we now understand the reasoning of the Yar’Adua mafia? We laid the groundwork and showed them the path to toe. This time however, we did not give them a viable public enemy No. 1 behind which they can rally and galvanize public sympathy.

Today’s developments sadly and perhaps fortunately too, bear all the hallmarks of a positive twist. A historical watershed! It may be all that we have needed to take us back to the path of strict legality.

On the other hand, it may also mark the start of a radical overhaul weighing in, in the direction of partisanship. It may translate into a violent intervention to help the cause of the cabal that is holding us hostage.

Barring the absence of a military coup d’etat to restore the loudly propagated northern interest in a two-term Presidency, the present dynamics may hasten the demise of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.

On his recent visit to Nigeria in the run-up to the National Assembly's resolution to empower Jonathan, the American Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Ambassador Johnnie Carson was reported to have held a closed-door parley with retired General Ibrahim Babaginda – a man with no official designation. A non office-holder, who has so far refused to make a public pronouncement on the boiling state of the nation at a time all former Heads of State have made their positions known! Ambassador Carson was reported to have helped defused a planned coup that had reached implementation stage.

In its recent public hearing at the American Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, Committee Chairman Senator Feingold stunned observers like me with the remark that a rumored military coup that was planned in Nigeria for December 31st, 2009 had to be called off due to the realization of impending fierce resistance by the international community.

Today, it remains to be seen what message the Nigerian military is sending its entire population, by having unit commanders release troops to receive a bed-ridden presidential patient from Saudi Arabia without the knowledge of the Acting President who was the tentative Commander-in-Chief at the time of arrival.

Recent reports have cried foul in the appointment of combat commanders of northern origin in the strategic positioning of high-level military personnel. The writing was clear on the wall. Military leaders have come out openly to deny this fact pointing assiduously to invisible rules and regulations that they have adhered to. Actions are however, speaking a very different language.

In this last desperate bid to hold on to power, the Yar'Adua mafia with the support of some non-office holding elements from the North may try out the last trump card - a military intimidation. A coup would definitely bear far-reaching and unforeseeable consequences and the cabal may end up ruling over Northern Nigeria alone on the long run. If a coup is successful, the resultant government may be destabilized by incessant rebel sabotage until the nation falls apart. On top of this, will be sustained international resistance led by a vehement and determined American diplomatic machine. No military government will thrive on this.

In the light of all these, the Yar’Adua mafia may end up falling straight down on their own erected sword. The game is being stretched too far. The military option is resting on a base of thawing ice. It is extremely unlikely to help them out. If anything else, it will hasten the resolve of the Jonathan camp with the invisible hands of Olusegun Obasanjo, some eminent Northerners and many elements in the National Assembly to advance and seal the legal removal of Yar’Adua from the Presidency on health grounds. The American diplomatic machine will rally and should by now, have started rallying several loyalists in all segments of the leadership and the Senate amendment of section 144 of the constitution as proclaimed only some hours ago will be just the beginning.

Turai should then be careful not to witness the forcible removal of the patient from the presidential wing of Aso Rock when the time is due for the enthronement of national stability at the expense of the power-hungry cabal.


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