YAR’ADUA: ONLY THE SENATE CAN SAVE NIGERIA

Filed in News by on March 8, 2010

Yar’Adua: Only the Senate can save Nigeria – Former Senate Minority Leader
From ismail omipidan, Kaduna
Monday, March 08, 2010

Shuaibu

Senator Lawal Shuaibu, former Minority Leader under former Senate President Nnamani, has declared that the crave for money has made it impossible for the Senate to exercise its power the way it ought to, insisting that only the Nigerian Senate can save the country from the current political logjam.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Daily Sun in Abuja, Senator Shuaibu, who was a leading member of the “2007 Movement,” a group of lawmakers in the National Assembly that saw to the demise of the contagious Third Term agenda, and who like many Nigerians see the Senate’s resolution conferring authority on Jonathan as illegal and unconstitutional, further said the Senate must exert pressure on Yar’Adua and his handlers to ensure that a letter was transmitted to the National Assembly to normalize Jonathan’s acting status.

“Now that Yar’Adua is around, let that letter go to the National Assembly, confirming that he is going on a medical treatment. But if he cannot confirm that, let him confirm his arrival and state that he is now proceeding either a medical vacation or holiday, not necessarily abroad; he can undergo the vacation here in Nigeria, or even inside the Villa, while transferring power to the Acting President. That communication is very important, and they can do it.

“As I said, he cannot refuse. If he can’t sign, all over the world, thumbprint is accepted more than a signature, because it is biometric. Even on passport today, it is what they use, because you can never change your biometric impressions, but you can always change your signature. So, he can thumbprint on a letter to the National Assembly. It now rests squarely on the National Assembly to exert pressure on them to produce the letter. I can assure you that once they are bold enough to request for that letter, they will get it.

“You see, most of the Senators in the Senate today, don’t know the privilege they are enjoying, particularly, privilege of exercising power. It is the most powerful arm in the presidential system of government. What I mean is that, they can get anything they want done, they can get anything moving, if they exercise their powers well. The National Assembly is the engine room where political power is generated. Even the President derives his power from the Act of the National Assembly. But majority of them don’t know.

“The old members there are aware of the powers, but the most unfortunate thing, from what we hear is that the crave for money has enslaved so many of them, so much so that they don’t even know the powers conferred on them by the constitution, most of them don’t even want the power, they want the money, and that is what is going on.”
Exerpts:

What is your take on the current political situation, especially with regards to the status of Acting President Goodluck Jonathan?

What the Senate and by extension the National Assembly did at that time was right, but was done in the wrong way. There is nowhere in the world where the resolution of the Senate will carry the force of law. The Constitution is very clear about how an acting President will emerge. Be that as it may, it has happened. The next thing is to make it conform to the law.

Democracy in Africa is still in its learning stage, as such we must accept certain mistakes, particularly, taking into cognizance the type of explosive situation we have at hand, a serious constitutional crisis. The only way we can handle the situation is to normalize the acting presidential status of Jonathan.

“Now that Yar’Adua is around, let that letter go to the National Assembly, confirming that he is going on a medical treatment. But if he cannot confirm that, let him confirm his arrival and state that he is now proceeding on either a medical vacation or holiday, not necessarily abroad. He can undergo the vacation here in Nigeria, or even inside the Villa, while transferring power to the acting President. That communication is very important, and they can do it.

What if he refuses to do it?

The claim was that before now, the communication could not come because Yar’Adua was in an Intensive Care Unit, ICU, of the Saudi hospital. Now he is out of it. We can accept that if you are inside an ICU, probably you should be allowed to rest and continue to get attention from probably only your doctors. As I said earlier, let us now look at it from the point of view of the current happenings. He is now in Nigeria, inside the Villa; he can still send a letter informing the lawmakers and Nigerians that he is proceeding on vacation. Once the letter gets there, it will formally confirm a legal acting capacity on Jonathan of the presidency of Nigeria.

That is the only way to go out of the current quagmire.
I don’t think he will refuse. Unless the people around him are not telling him the truth because no President can operate in a vacuum, no President operates in isolation. The constitution made him the President, he swore to an oath to abide by it and so he must respect the provisions of the constitution.

What is your comment on the way he was smuggled back into the country?

You see it was all a funny thing. Like one newspaper said, Yar’Adua just appeared like a James Bond, like an abracadabra. He was not around for months and suddenly he was around. And nobody has seen him up till now, nobody can claim he has seen him, and everybody keeps saying the top people in government are going to see the first lady for briefing. I mean who is the first lady, when there is an acting President?

Because for now, only the wife of Jonathan can play the role of a first lady, the wife of Yar’Adua, for now has no role to play, so long as Jonathan remains in the saddle as acting president. So it was so funny for them to say they are getting a briefing from Tura’i, except of course if they say they want a briefing on his health conditions, but not on the issue of government business.

Deployment of troops
When it comes to the movement of troops, I think the top military brass can explain the reason behind it. But it is true that the acting president knew nothing about it, then that is really unfortunate, because as acting president, he exercises full presidential powers, and the military’s allegiance and loyalty should be to the office of the president. And in this case, Acting President Jonathan is the occupier of that office, so everything must flow from the office of the acting president and not the ailing president.

We waited for more than two months before the Senate’s resolution came. How long should we wait, now that the President is around?
You see, the issue is that it was just unfortunate that the Senate used the foreign media broadcast as the basis for their resolution, which, I said, was wrong. Accepting that broadcast is an insult to the Nigerian people. Why not FRCN or NTA? Does it mean that only the foreign media can access the president for an interview? And majority of Nigerians did not even believe it was the president that granted that interview. Because, come to think of it, there is software for changing voices, you could do it.

I was shocked that the Senate accepted it. But the constitution did not say transmit a written declaration to Nigerians, no, it says transmit to the National Assembly. So you can’t compare a written declaration to a radio broadcast. You can’t pick it up and hear it. Majority of the lawmakers did not even hear it. They were told it was aired on BBC.
Having said that, I don’t see Nigerians waiting for another three months before the right is done.

Talking about doing the right thing, it lies squarely on Yar’Adua and his people. And from all indications, it appears they are not ready to do that, so what next?

As I said he cannot refuse. If he can’t sign, all over the world, thumbprint is accepted more than a signature, because it is biometric. Even on passport today, it is what they use, because you can never change your biometric impressions, but you can always change your signature. So, he can thumbprint on a letter to the National Assembly. It now rests squarely on the National Assembly to exert pressure on them to produce the letter. I can assure you that once they are bold enough to request for that letter, they will get it.

If you were in the Senate today, what would have been your approach to the current political logjam?

You see, most of the Senators in the Senate today, don’t know the privilege they are enjoying, particularly, privilege of exercising power. It is the most powerful arm in the presidential system of government. What I mean is that, they can get anything they want done, they can get anything moving, if they exercise their powers well. The National Assembly is the engine room where political power is generated. Even the president derives his power from the Act of the National Assembly. But majority of them don’t know.

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Comments (1)

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  1. ubong says:

    Senator
    All said, would you be bold enough to go to court and demand to know the health condition of your president (If still alive) made public as he took oath of office to abide, protect and defend the constituted authority of nation.

    I single-handedly speard-headed/mobilised , devoid of any threats, fear and intimidation from people, dethroned my village head, who assumed a similar position that yar adua has been allowed by the so called greedy national assembly members. yar adua (if still alive ) is not greater that the country he took oath of office to protect and accordingly, he should be ready to abide by the law

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