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Presidential Indisposition and the Need for Caution and Soul-Searching

Franklin Otorofani Esq.
 Published December, 4th, 2009

As copiously demonstrated in several of my write-ups, I’m not a fan of President Musa Yar’Adua. I’m particularly un-impressed with the tentative, roundabout, style of his administration that seems to take one step forward and two steps backwards.  I’m not impressed either, with his revisionist policies that initially saw to the crude dismantling of the well-articulated policies inherited from the previous administration in the areas of power supply for which several contracts had been awarded and construction ongoing in some, including NIPP and the Mambilla Plateau mega power projects, unbundling of NEPA, as well as the contracts for the modernization of the railway lines, including of course, the deregulation of the downstream petroleum subsector with the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB)---all which he is only now beginning to implement after wasting more than two years in the saddle looking for excuses and playing the blame-game. But, as it is often said, better be late than never.

Regardless of our individual or group misgivings about the Yar’Adua presidency, however, the stark reality before the nation today is that the President is currently on a medical admission abroad for heart and kidney related conditions as reported. He is a human being like us who deserves nothing but prayers and respect. This is not the time to gripe over political differences or settle personal or group scores.  Yet we have seen the despicable conduct of several individuals and groups seemingly more concerned with the President’s resignation than his recovery and return to Nigeria.  All of this is being hinged on their warped and opportunistic interpretation of the clear meaning and intendment of the constitution. Why are Nigerians behaving like kindergartens in a matter as grave as the hospitalization of the President? It appears nobody is putting his/her thinking cap on these days and everybody is just belching out trash, including, as always, some self-seeking political renegades wanting to capitalize on the President’s illness as if that will somehow change their political fortunes for the better---nothing but a pipe dream of course.  Yar'Adua has only been out for less than two weeks, not on a picnic or jamboree abroad as some of the governors, but on a medical admission, and people are just going gaga and hyperactive as if the heavens are about to fall on them. By the way, what was he doing when he was around all this time that you missed so much?  Did his presence give your jobless youths jobs? Did his presence fix your gullied and broken roads? Did his presence remove darkness from your homes and offices? Or did his presence fix your educational and healthcare institutions? Or, for that matter, did his presence put food on your tables? Nigerians are a funny lot, indeed. It seems they’re all so easily excitable even in a morbid situation like this. Why has his absence suddenly become unbearable that you are all asking for his replacement? Is Nigeria at war with another country or is she being invaded by Cameroon or Republic of Benin? So Nigerians cannot do without Yar”Adua for even a week for fear of being overrun by another country or what? What exactly is your problem? Is it the budget that was hurriedly dumped on the National Assembly or what? Do you have any share in that budget too? How much was your share in previous budgets? Oh, so you've all been counting on that budget, uh? Fools for ever! How many budgets have come and gone and not one of them has been implemented? How many budgets have come and gone and your conditions have gone from bad to worse? What exactly are you counting on Yar'Adua's presence for? Every action must be objectified otherwise it becomes a lunatic rant. What is the clamoring intended to achieve? What is the objective behind the clamor for the President’s resignation? Give me just one reason you want him back home so bad!  Oh, wait a minute! You don’t really want him back home hale and hearty—on the contrary, you want him dead and/or out of office by any means necessary, natural or man-made, uh?  Suit your sadistic selves, but give me one reason how that will improve your condition?  Is it for VP, Goodluck Jonathan, to take over? Take over and then what? Would that make Yar’Adua administration anymore legitimate than it is or what?  Or is VP Jonathan suddenly the magician who will work miracles for the nation? Is VP Jonathan no longer a PDP man? Have you suddenly forgotten so soon what you’ve always said that nothing good could come out of the PDP? Has the PDP suddenly changed in your assessment? So you want to remove a ring from one leprous finger and put it on another leprous finger of the same leprous hand and call that change and be happy, then go home and make merry for the dawn of a new era, uh? What exactly is your problem, talking heads who do not take time to ponder and think deeply before running your mouths like kids? It's a shame—a crying shame indeed that the nation is currently plagued by shallow mentality! Whether Yar'Adua is here on not makes absolutely no difference whatsoever to the nation’s fortunes. Whether VP Jonathan takes over or not makes no difference to the nation’s fortunes including the opposition. The AC, ANPP, PPA, APGA, or CNPP, IS NOT coming to take over from the PDP if Yar'Adua dies or resigns from office. They will remain exactly where they’re today.  It's all motion without movement. Let the President take good care of himself in Saudi Arabia and come back home whenever he is cleared by his doctor to do so. Therefore on no account should anybody or group go bananas because of Yar’Adua’s absence. It’s sheer lunacy.  The man should be allowed time to receive proper medical treatment without undue pressure from any quarters.

The Nigerian government can function without the President. Let no one stampede him into rushing back or pressure the Federal Government to take precipitate actions that could destabilize the nation at this most critical juncture of our national journey. It's utterly uncalled for and done in bad taste. Nigerians must learn to imbibe the virtues of due process and natural order of things. Unlike before we have been told this time around the nature of the President’s ailment and his hospitalization. This is not the first or second time he has undergone treatment abroad. So what? What is that supposed to mean? Is that something new and unheard of? Must the president resign just because he has been hospitalized or I’m I missing something here? The constitution does not say the VP must take over if the president is admitted in hospital for any length of time. It says if he is certified to be physically or mentally incapacitated and therefore not fit to carry on his presidential duties, not momentarily as when he is undergoing treatment, but on a permanent basis. He is not on a long term medical disability as yet. The interpretation of this simple and straightforward constitutional provision ought not be rocket science for anybody, but hey, we’re dealing with a peculiar species of homo sapiens in that part of the world capable of inventing crisis where none exists and that’s why Africa is rife with unnecessary, self inflicted crisis.  All we know how to invent is political crisis while others are excelling in science and technology.  It bears repetition that at this moment in time the President is not on long term disability except somebody somewhere has it in his morbid prayers that he should be. God forbid, should that happen or the President fails to make it out, it would, of course, become a totally different matter altogether. But that is not the case today and no one should pretend or presume that to be the case. That would be wickedness in high and low places. Therefore all that talk about resignation is totally premature and the handiwork of idle minds and political desperadoes.  Pray for the President in these trying times even if he is your Enemy Number One. Is that not what Jesus teaches us in the Bible?  Oh, how we pay lip service to Christianity even as we profess it to High Heavens! God is not deceived. We deceive no one but ourselves when we profess Christianity with our tongues on Sundays and wish others dead in our hearts including even our arch enemies. This is the ultimate test of faith and many are already falling by the wayside. Men of little minds! And if you don't know how to pray for your friends much less your enemies, why, go jump in the Lagoon! The mighty Atlantic would be more than happy to embowel you and your sick wishes for the President and the nation. I'm sick of these infantile rants and nauseating bellyaching. If Yar'Adua's death will make your life better, then continue your morbid prayers of sin. But guess what, you could be next for playing God for God is not deceived.  Seriously, no kidding!

Long live Mr. President.

Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Franklin Otorofani Esq


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