Monday, September 1, 2008

Every choice, every action and every preference for inaction will have a consequence. That consequence can be immediate and obvious or the consequence and/or consequences can be slow to appear and occur over a period of time. In 15 months of the swearing in Umar Musa Yar'Adua as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the consequences of his mysterious health condition are, slowly but surely, becoming abundantly clear.

In March 2007, Yar'Adua was rushed to Germany for treatment and eventually rumors swirled that he was dead. Even party officials that should have known of his condition where left in the dark as to whether he was dead or alive. It was not until he granted an interview to the BBC's Hausa radio service that Nigerians discovered that he was, thankfully, alive and well.

Once again, Nigerians are unfortunately left with absolutely no information as to the whereabouts and health of their president. Nigeria's newspapers are awash with speculation as to where Yar'Adua has been since his trip to Saudi Arabia for the lesser Hajj over a week ago. Some newspapers now report that the President underwent a renal transplant which, upon further research, is apparently only performed on individuals with chronic end-stage renal/kidney disease. Officials have refused to confirm this information.

Like most Nigerians, I continue to wish Yar'Adua a quick and speedy recovery and am happy to learn that his surgery (assuming there was one) was successful and that he is recovering in Saudi Arabia. However, like every Nigerian, I have to confront the unanswered issues that his 'condition' and apparent surgery raise. It is unconscionable for the President of Nigeria to schedule significant and life threatening surgery without informing the people he serves. While all good meaning people will understand that he must take care of his health especially as he apparently suffered from chronic kidney disease, is it not fair that Nigerians know that their president is seriously unwell and could undergo surgery?

Rather than keep the nation abreast of the President's situation, officials have consistently ignored the obvious news reports of surgery in the local media and instead insisted that the President is perfectly well and participating in the lesser Hajj. This, despite the fact that the President's trip to Brazil was canceled or "readjusted" as the Foreign Minister, Ojo Maduekwe, now claims. Yar'Adua, like Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke, is not a private individual, as such every move he makes, or doesn't make, must be privy to the populace. After all, it is the people that will endure the consequences of any decisions made by their President - for better or for worse.

Nigerians are beginning to suffer the consequences of Yar'Adua's decision to not be upfront with the people. The PDP (Yar'Adua's party) sowed seeds of confusion by alleging coup attempts, Yar'Adua validated (intentionally or otherwise) those allegations with a military shakeup, and then traveled to Saudi Arabia for surgery, leaving the nation anxious and confused. This environment has, as expected, led to political opportunists like former Presidential hopeful, Major General Buhari (rtd.) jockeying to step into the supposed political vacuum. Buhari has publicly called for the Vice President, Goodluck Jonathan, to assume the Presidential seat and run the country in the absence of Yar'Adua.

Who would gain from such a proposition? No offense to Goodluck Jonathan, but, he is surrounded by a corruption scandal which might have died down because of his new position as the nation's Number 2. Nevertheless, the fact that $13.5 million was seized from his wife, Patience Jonathan, and was the subject of a now stalled EFCC investigation extinguishes his credibility to become President of a country which is struggling to battle excessive corruption and its overwhelming effects on every aspect of Nigerian existence. Regardless of how Yar'Adua cam to power, at least he has no corruption scandal hanging over his head and even managed to reveal his assets when he came to office. Therefore, is it Johnathan that Yar'Adua, who committed himself to selflessly serving the people, intends to have run the country in his absence?

And as for Buhari, he has disqualified himself from any discussion on the future of Nigeria and its politics, in my humble opinion. Buhari, who lost to Yar'Adua and even contested the results of the 2007 Presidential elections, insulted the very people he sought to 'serve' when he attempted to rewrite the history of Nigeria's most notorious former military dictator, the late General Sani Abacha. Buhari exalted Abacha in death and challenged any allegations of his looting by blatantly stating,
"...ten years after Abacha, those [looting] allegations remain unproven because of lack of facts."
This, despite the unquestionable fact that Abacha, his family, friends and cohorts looted the nation's Central Bank to the tune of $505.5 million!!! If Buhari is to have his way, it would not surprise me that he would angle himself into a position of power and influence over a Johnathan-led government and/or destabilize a Johnathan-led government. My conspiracy-loving mind cannot help but be suspicious given what is publicly known of the various parties involved.

Many Nigerians now believe that military coups are unfashionable and a thing of the past in Nigeria. I, on the other hand, have learned to expect the unexpected. Consequently, I feel that Yar'Adua's recent firing of Nigeria's Chief of Defense Staff, the head of the Army and Navy was a strategic move to prevent the possibility of a coup by eliminating the most powerful figures that could confront the current power structure. However, the continued absence of Yar'Adua from Nigeria and the fact that the public has not seen or heard him over the last week, begs the question of whether this can create an opening for some military element to take over the country? I absolutely detest the thought of a military regime ever controlling Nigeria again and hope that Yar'Adua will recover quickly enough to reclaim his role as President because no matter what anyone thinks about last year's Presidential elections, Yar'Adua is a better alternative to a military regime.

At the end of the day, Yar'Adua needs to get well very quickly and return to Nigeria so that it is obvious who is in charge of ensuring that the ship sails relatively smoothly. Every ship needs its captain. Similarly, Nigeria needs its President, for better or for worse. Particularly, to limit the untoward consequences of his absence that are beginning to appear and will undoubtedly worsen if things continue with no positive change.

Further Reading:
- Yar'Adua And The Continuing Heath Issue
- Suppression In A Democratic Regime
- Wanted Dead Or Alive
- Rest In Peace
- "We Need Fresh Blood Haba!!!! Bones Are Weak!!!"

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Afrobabe said...

Some one called from naija last night to say he was dead....heard anything???

Afrobabe said...

ok, just read the news about his whereabouts or if he is dead or alive...check..

Beauty said...

His family must be going through hell with the Chinese whispers. If only those VIPs would take the leadership challenge and come out with the truth on all issues, always!

Anonymous said...

Hello Sollomonsydelle. I'm back after a long absence. I must say you are awesome in every respect. I am so impressed with your work. You remain my greatest inspiration to keep on blogging.
I heard the disturbing news(rumors?) about our presidents health and i share your concerns. I anticipate an authentic revelation of the true state of his health and like other well-meaning Nigerians, i wish him the best.

Flourishing Florida said...

na wa o. i just dey hear dis latest sickness thing. i overheard something like it over d radio, but i hadn't been paying much attention. dis morning, my colleague said he heard it too dat d man is dead.

while i don't like Yar' Adua, Nigeria is better off with a president who can carry his term 2 completion dan leave us with a void now dat lots of shit can happen. i seriously pray he survives, & den takes his leave by 2012. but i really doubt he can oh. dat man is really sick! who ever advised him 2 accept dat nomination wen he knew how fragile his health is?

Flourishing Florida said...

na wa o. i just dey hear dis latest sickness thing. i overheard something like it over d radio, but i hadn't been paying much attention. dis morning, my colleague said he heard it too dat d man is dead.

while i don't like Yar' Adua, Nigeria is better off with a president who can carry his term 2 completion dan leave us with a void now dat lots of shit can happen. i seriously pray he survives, & den takes his leave by 2012. but i really doubt he can oh. dat man is really sick! who ever advised him 2 accept dat nomination wen he knew how fragile his health is?

Flourishing Florida said...

apparently, yar' adua is still alive (thank God). another colleague just told me dat yar' adua is expected back n d country today. let's wait & see den

N.I.M.M.O said...

Classic Solomonsydelle!

I have been absent from blogville myself for the past week due to illness. Just recovering. (Nobody asked or did a post about me sha. Na so life be. One day me sef go be President).

I sincerely don't see anything to be alarmed about in UMYAwn's illness or otherwise. Its a fact that the man is gravely ill. We ALL know it.

Its part of a drama that had been scripted before he became President. He is playing his part, as are the other dramatis personae. Everybody is just playing his role either knowingly or ignorantly.

My Sister, you know its not everything one knows that one can say for 'national peace and concord'. Read between the lines. UMYAwn is not in power. He is a hostage. Remember Abacha? De ja vu.

I don't know how much you have read on this but don't you find it interesting that all through the period of uncertainty, we did not hear a single word from Baba Gana Kingibe, the powerful Secretary to the Government (SGF) and the closest person to UMYAwn.

Even the VP Goodnight Jonathan himself was mum. Anyway, that one can't talk unless he's asked to talk. The only people yapping were Odey, the uninformed Minister of Information & Communication and the loquacious Ojo Maduekwe with his usual mandibular acrobatics trying to explain the difference between 'canceled' and 're-adjusted'.

It's a circus my dear, complete with clowns and bears and elephants and 'strong' men and ... you get the picture.

I think your criticism of Buhari was rather unfair. He had said that the question was posed to them right in the presence of Abacha's wife at Abacha's 10th memorial. What did you want them to say? We don't speak ill of the dead.

Besides, Maryam Abacha had consistently explained to anybody that was ready to listen that her husband was just 'keeping' the money for Nigeria so that some other people don't steal it and when Nigeria was ready to collect the money back, she 'willingly' surrendered the account details and secret codes. Could anyone have been more patriotic?

But have we asked asked ourselves what happened to the so called Abacha loot that was recovered?

This is getting too long maybe I should just do a post on it.

NneomaMD said...

is it just me, or does anyone else find the idea that Yar'adua all of the sudden went Mugabe on us EXTREMELY troubling concept? Incredibly troubling, especially for someone who was thought of to be one of the more humble Nigerian presidents. I'd hate to be a harbinger of bad news, but things to not bode well for Nigerian democracy if such acts are perpetuated with out some sense of outrage from our people.

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