President YarAdua Is 30 Days AWOL Or Absence Without Official Leave From Presidential Duties
Written by Paul I. Adujie
Absence Without Official Leave or AWOL, from duty by our president has put us in needless quandary. This is unacceptable and it should not continue.
Exactly 30 days ago, President Umaru Musa YarAdua left Nigeria for Saudi Arabia, ostensibly, for medical treatments, due to his known imperfect health condition, no one of course, begrudges our president for his unfortunate health status.
Even as Nigerians in the millions pray ceaselessly in churches and mosques and other houses of worship, at home and abroad, President YarAdua remains incapacitated, indisposed and perhaps in a precarious physical health condition in far away Saudi Arabia.
President YarAdua’s absence from work, and particularly, his departure without following laid down constitutional procedure, has thrown up questions. What is the best way to resolve President YarAdua’s refusal and or neglect to have been in compliance with constitutional stipulations? The drafters of the constitution of Nigeria, intended to seamlessly address circumstances similar to the ones in which President YarAdua have found himself as a consequence of his recurring ill health and indispositions.
The irony and oxymoron in President YarAdua’s AWOL, should not be lost on anyone in Nigeria or thiis world. This is so, as President YarAdua, upon becoming president of Nigeria, claimed to be a believer of the Rule of Law and constitutionalism, to the applause and embrace by Nigerians, who believed him on these claims, claims, which have eventually, turned out to be a mere ruse in the first place.
It will be recalled that President YarAdua at the inception of his administration, loudly claimed that he was a man of the people and that he would be a listening president and the servant leader with obeisance to the constitution of Nigeria. Since his inauguration in May 2007 and up till his moment of departure to King Faisal Hospital in Saudi Arabia, our president’s actions and pronouncements were not illustrative nor demonstrative of his self-avowed claims to being an apostle and an adherent of the rule of law, constitutionality, nor his false pretense of being a listening president who is as well a servant leader.
Exigent circumstances now dictates that President YarAdua be wheeled off Nigeria’s presidency.
This is important, in order to avoid a void, and an unnecessary political vacuum. Nigerians, and all those who wish Nigeria well, have been worried sick over a now highly likely probability of political and constitutional crises. This festering crises atmosphere is already very ominous and looming larger by the day and portends evil.
These unnecessary constitutional and political toxic mix of conditions have been foisted upon Nigeria by, and through the unwillingness of President YarAdua to follow the clearly laid out constitutional process. President YarAdua have neglected and refused to abide by set constitutional provisions, every time he has been away from presidential duties. President YarAdua and his acolytes are clearly disdainful of section 145 of the constitution of Nigeria, which require a president to formally inform Nigeria’s National Assembly of absence from presidential duties.
Clearly, it should be emphasized that, the drafters of the constitution of Nigeria, anticipated a sitting president may embark on a vacation away from the seat of government in our nation’s capital, in Abuja; A Nigerian president may, therefore, for instance choose to relax in any part of Nigeria, such as a vacation in Yankari Game Reserve, Obudu Ranch, etc or in the rare event, embark on overseas vacation, perhaps to a gambling trip in Las Vegas, Nevada in the United States. It is also quite likely, that the drafters of the constitution of Nigeria, also anticipated a happenstance such as the physical impairment of a president, which is identical to the current situation in which President YarAdua is clearly categorized.
Clearly, it was the intent, of the drafters of the constitution of Nigeria, in inserting section 145 of our constitution, that in both it’s letter and spirit, there should always be an orderly devolution and succession of power, even in the short term.
It should be clear therefore, that the primary reading and the only interpretation possible, of section 145 of the constitution of Nigeria, is a desire, a strenuous and fastidious desire to avoid a constitutional power void and constitutional power vacuum
Naturally then, the creation of the post or office of the vice president to complement the office and position of substantive president is also a derivation of this natural constitutional aversion for power void and vacuum. The position of vice president in our constitution was not intended as a mere decoration or as a superfluous political ornament for Nigeria’s constitutional democracy.
These very same political and constitutional crises, which now looms larger and larger, as everyday comes to an end, were the very reasons why, the drafters of the constitution of Nigeria, created the position of the vice president
The position of the vice president is constitutionally analogous to the usefulness and importance of a spare tire in car. Car manufacturers create space for the storage of spare tire in vehicles, in order that motorists would not be stranded without recourse, in the event of a rupture, puncture, burst and flat tire.
A spare tire saves the day, as a temporary respite or permanent replacement, depending on the circumstances. But in all cases, being in the possession of a spare tire, ensure an orderly devolution or transition and the journey embarked upon by the motorist and passengers continues with minor adjustment or discomfort or dislocations.
In President YarAdua, Nigeria has had a motorist, who loudly proclaims himself as an excellent motorist. President YarAdua however drives a car which is not brand new, and in fact, a car known to have tires with advertised precarious condition and yet, this motorist who is quick to proclaim himself an excellent driver, frequently traveled with this car, bad tires and all, and yet, neglects to bring along the spare tire, every time he embarkson trips with the car, imperfect tires, bad road and all!
President YarAdua has analogously brought Nigeria to where we are today, because of his ego, his malice or because he is stubborn hard head, he traveled without a spare tire, prescribed , tried and proven efficacy, which is supported by scientific research, as an imperative by car designers and manufacturers and highly recommended for safety of driver and passengers. All passengers are now facing imminent dangers, all due to being without a spare or replacement tire and hence we are stranded
It is time therefore, for Nigeria to leave or jettison this stubborn, ego maniac, arrogant and self absorbed driver. It was he, who refused and neglected to travel with a road trip prerequisite, a spare tire. It must be realized that it his arrogance, neglect and or refusal, has the potential of subjecting the car to damage or theft. It must, additionally be realized, that the stubborn driver through his arrogance, neglect and refusal to imbibe the good driver conduct of taking the spare tire with him, and activating the spare tire as prescribed and as needed, subjects everyone in the car to unnecessary harm as well.
Nigerians are the passengers in the car being driven by President YarAdua. He is an arrogant, ego maniac, stubborn and self absorbed driver who have, despite advise and available data, disregarded the imperative a spare tire. Nigerians are now stranded with the president on a deserted road in a desert and in the middle of nowhere, all puns intended. Our presidency is stranded in the desert in the Middle East region and far away from home. While government policies and programs, including the current budget stalls in abeyance.
How long can Nigeria afford to leave presidential duties in the limbo? Another 30 days? Another year?
Nigerians, it must be said, have in the circumstances, been very patient for these long 30 days, waiting for solution. But we are still stranded in the middle of nowhere, we are running out of water, food, and all other necessities and it is time to live the arrogant, and stubborn driver to his own devices in the desert. And his will not judge us as harsh. After all, it is the fault of this arrogant and stubborn driver who neglected to equip the car with manufacturer scientifically predetermined prerequisite for road trips by car, spare tire!
It is now time to consider our self-preservation. We must now bid the arrogant and stubborn driver farewell and a goodbye, leave him with the car, bereft of spare tire, food and supplies. We cannot afford to remain in flux or cast adrift as a consequence of our driver’s arrogance and stubbornness.
It is time to leave our driver. He will be stranded, but we must leave and wish him the best of luck.
After these long thirty days of hunger and thirst. After these long thirty days of uncertainties. After these thirty days of feeling like a nation about to implode. And After these long thirty days of being held hostage due to the arrogance neglect and or refusal to comply clear constitutional provisions.
Presidential duties are not part time within the constitution of Nigeria. Nigerians must therefore completely and totally disregard the inanities of Mr. Michael Aondoakaa, Attorney General and Minister for Justice as when he recently lectured Nigerians to the effect President YarAdua can govern Nigeria from Saudi Arabia. As if Nigeria is still a colony and being governed in absentia, by a monarch President YarAdua, and he Mr. Aondoakaa is the potentate governor-general or divisional officer on the ground handing out “the law” to the locals in locales.
If President YarAdua is not totally incapacitated or comatose, he should immediately, from his hospital bed in Saudi Arabia, write a letter to the National Assembly to formally inform them that he has proceeded on medical vacation. After all, Nigerians have been lectured by the AGF Aondoakaa that our president is well enough to manage Nigeria from his hospital bed? This means he can write a letter to Nigeria’s National Assembly at the very least. When the president so writes, the current anomalies with be corrected and resolved.
This would clear the current lacuna and pave the way for Vice-president Goodluck Jonathan to take over presidential duties, until the return of the president when and if, he is able to do so. In writing to the National Assembly, President YarAdua would have retroactively or in retrospect, complied with section 145 of the constitution of Nigeria, as he should have, from the onset of his trip to Saudi Arabia and eventual hospitalization since.
It is now obvious to all, that the daily business of governing Nigeria at the presidential levels have grinded to a halt. Our nation is left in limbo and left to totter and wobble, due to the vacuum and void, created by the absence, and then, neglect of President YarAdua to abide by and with section 145 of our constitution.
The seal of the president is needed to formalize the 2009 Supplementary Appropriation Bill. Similarly, the so-called amnesty program for members of MEND or the phenomenon of militants in the Niger Delta agitation for improved conditions still awaits full implementation and presidential oversight
Others have pointed to numerous other pending or shelved events such as the 2009 National Honors Award which cannot be conferred because the substantive president is AWOL and the vice president have no constitutional instrument conferring substantive powers on him, again, due to the egregious omission by President YarAdua prior to his departure from Nigeria.
Furthermore, there are the matters of appointments of the new President of the Court of Appeal and the Chief Justice of Nigeria have been duly confirmed, but still await the proper administration of their oath of office, and these are constitutionally stipulated to be administered by the President.
Currently, the vice president have been presiding over the Federal Executive Council , but it must be stated that as a matter constitutional law, and by virtue of Section 148 of the 1999 Constitution, it is the case that, only the president can preside over the Federal Executive Council (FEC) he is chairman of the board so to speak. Other than these, there sundry policy matters of national importance, including, domestic and foreign policy matters which demands presidential assent or approval. And no one Nigerian should hold the lives, the health, wealth and happiness of 150 million Nigerians hostage or to ransom.
It is not in Nigerians’ and Nigeria’s best interests to wait indefinitely for what happens or becomes, the outcomes of the President YarAdua circumstances. If he loved Nigeria, he would have followed the provisions of the constitution of Nigeria, whether he was in perfect physical health condition or impaired.
The National Assembly of Nigeria should now intervene to avert looming political and constitutional crises and probable catastrophes, which may ensue, due to the acts and omission of President YarAdua.
President YarAdua should be removed from office as a result of his haven been indisposed for so long, and, due to his precarious and steadily ebbing state of physical health. Nigeria is a nation, and not a personal estate or fiefdom. And Nigerians have been kept in the dark for too long. And for all we know, he may now in fact, be comatose or in vegetative state. And his handlers have refused to communicate and update Nigerians with his condition.
The Nigerian National Assembly should remove President YarAdua from office as a consequence on his refusal and neglect to comply with section 145 of the constitution of Nigeria.
President YarAdua should be removed from office due to his physical and mental incapacity to perform as president of Nigeria for more than 30 consecutive days.
President YarAdua should be removed from office because pertinently described exigent circumstances, and further, President YarAdua should be removed from office as president of Nigeria, for the protection and preservation of Nigeria and Nigeria’s national security and strategic interests.