Some of the lawmakers who reacted to Yar’Adua’s health condition yesterday pointed out that it was not a good thing for a country to be without a president.
Speaking with our correspondent, the Chairman, Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mufutau Egberongbe, explained that in a country of over 150 million population, “I don’t think we can find it difficult to get a person to lead us. From inception, the emergence of Yar’Adua was an imposition on the entire country.
“Yar’Adua was not really prepared for the job. The fact remains that whoever wants to rule a country must be in a right state of mind and sound health. I am in support of those who are calling for his resignation. The best thing for him to do is just listen to peoples’ clamour.”
On his part, Chairman House Committee on Finance, Olamilekan Adeola, pointed out that it is unfortunate for Nigeria as a country to have found itself in this kind of predicament. He explained that he would not only join the call for Yar’Adua’s resignation but would also advised him to look inward and assess himself to see if he is truly fit for the job.
“We should not forget that during the electioneering campaign, he was rushed and flown abroad, where the rumour of his death first came. At the commencement of his administration, he went for another medical check-up abroad which also generated, a lot of controversies. This would be the third or fourth time he would be going abroad for treatment in Saudi.
“I don’t know why he has refused to resign. We are facing a lot of challenges in this country and we need somebody who is fit to direct the affairs of this country. Since he has been there, he has not had enough time to do as other presidents of other countries have done. He was to address a United Nations assembly, but because of his health, he couldn’t do it.”
Samuel Adejare from Agege Constituency II, who is a medical doctor, maintained that the whole country knows that Yar’Adua is sick but some people are not being fair to him.
“The Federal Executive Council knows that this man is not alright and, instead of advising him to step aside, they are pushing him to continue.
“How can he direct this country when able-bodied men are finding it very difficult to direct the affairs of the country? He should just resign and allow whoever that can do it to take over. He is going through pains, and pain cannot allow him to concentrate on anything”.
But the President of the Senate, David Mark, disagreed. Yesterday he described as “irresponsible journalism” reports that pressures were being mounted on Vice President Goodluck Jonathan to resign so as to pave way for him to act as President and organise a general election in the event Yar’Adua was declared not medically fit to continue in office.
In a press statement in Abuja by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr. Kola Ologbodiyan, the Senate president told a post-morning mass tea session with members of St. Mulumba (Apo Mansion) Chapel, Apo Quarters, that he distanced himself from all speculative suggestions on North/South dichotomy as reported in a Lagos-based national daily.
He further urged Nigerians to “ignore these architects of division and phantom speculations”.
“We should concentrate on those things that can further strengthen our democracy and uplift the standard of life of the ordinary man”, he said.
According to him, “Since the President left for Saudi Arabia for medical check-up, the organs of government have remained intact and functional. But in spite of this, some Nigerians have resorted to all kind of rumours that can neither strengthen our development processes nor guarantee our much sought reforms. I urge you to ignore these rumour-mongers as they do not mean well for our country and her people”.
Mark told the group that from all facts available from the presidential team in Saudi Arabia, Yar’Adua was responding to his treatment, even as he told them that he has remained in constant touch with the team.
This period, Mark stated, is a sober moment when all Nigerians should engage in prayers for the President and urged the members of the Apo Chaplaincy to embark on a Novena prayer for his quick recovery.
In a related development, Lagos lawyer and legal activist, Festus Keyamo, has faulted calls on President Yar’Adua to resign, saying such advocacy for him to resign or stay is premature and ill-conceived without sound and unbiased medical opinion as to the ailment afflicting him.
This, he said, is because it is not automatic under the Constitution that when the President is sick, then he must resign.
“After all, as a human being, like all of us, the President can fall sick any time. It is the nature, degree and character of the ailment that will determine whether he is fit to continue in office.
“We should note that the lawyers cannot start their debate as to whether the President can continue in office or not without ascertaining the threshold issue of the actual state of health of the President”, he said.
Keyamo chided the Nigerian Medical Association, saying that it is disturbing that the only recognised body of all medical doctors in Nigeria has kept mute over this all-important issue. He added that it is enough indictment on the nation’s health system that the President has flown abroad each time, even for routine check-ups.
“But as regards the health of our President, must we depend on the opinions of doctors in Saudi Arabia who are not Nigerians and do not have the interest of Nigeria at heart when giving opinions? Nigeria has been known to produce sound doctors who are sought after all over the world, so it is time the Nigeria Medical Association speak up on this issue”, he stated.