Death of Yar’adua And Its Political Relevance To The Nation

25 May 2010

By Yakubu Muhammad Rigasa

Though Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’adua’s death was anticipated by speculations months before it actually stroke, the shock it sent to both those who had waited for it with bated breath and his admirers knows no bound. This could be as a result of the reports from his close relatives that his condition was getting better by the day since his sudden and secretive return into the country which succeeded in dousing the hitherto political tension throughout the nation. So, he died at a time when very few expected it while many others kept eyes on his possible resumption to his presidential duties.

So much drama took place within the circle of those around the Late President until the sad news of his death. First his health status was concealed from Nigerians despite the calls that such attitude was unbecoming of his family members since having information about his health was never tantamount to peeping into his privacy. After all, they argued, a person in the shoes of a president of the most populous black nation has very little concerning him to call his privacy as he’s more or less considered a public property. Many people heaped the blame of this concealment and the subsequent strict restriction to accessing the President on Hajiya Turai, his devoted wife. His personal physician, however, once exonerated Turai from the accusation of barricading any means to Yar’adua, stressing that they were acting on directives from the Saudi doctors who said the President could develop what they called ‘contact infection’ if allowed to mingle with sympathizers at that moment. With or without the doctors’ prescription, Turai deserves commendation for standing by her husband for better for worse till death did them apart.

Second, the explicit silence of the Nigerian constitution on whether or not the vice president could be elevated to assume full executive powers of the president in circumstances like these was another issue that drew our attention and the resolution of which made headlines. So, when it came to the crunch, the National Assembly decided to confer acting president status on Dr. Goodluck Jonathan in order to save the nation from impending political instability, but in spite of that the country was thrown into an apparent constitutional crisis with the legislators and ministers on opposing divides looking at the decision from different perspectives. Those for Jonathan accepted the decision wholeheartedly and even moved farther to make the legislature declare President Yar’adua incapacitated and thus strip him of his leadership position so as to pave way for Dr. Jonathan to become the substantive president, while those for Yar’adua vehemently resisted the move seeing it as an open betrayal of the President. Now with the demise of Alhaji Umaru Yar’adua this tussle for power has been finally laid to rest. Mr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is now the president who must do his utmost to overcome the multiple challenges of his government within the short span of its life.

Another issue of paramount importance is that of rotational presidency system maintained by the ruling party, PDP. I wonder how the very people who had consistently declared at a time that this system must be retained by the party were now cunningly reversing from their words when they became convinced that Yar’adua could hardly return to his seat talkless of seeking for a second term. To be able to make an impact on the lives of Nigerians within this short period of his administration, President Goodluck Jonathan should pay deaf ears to sycophants’ possible calls for him to vie for the presidency but should, instead, concentrate on how to build a good legacy for himself by touching lives in the most positive manner. If the system is eventually abrogated and he’s given the chance, then of course he’s free to contest, but for now let that not distract his attention from offering his most needed services to his fatherland. Let him scrutinize the ongoing projects started by the Late President and continue with them where necessary. Programmes like those designed to boost power generation and distribution should be accelerated to meet maximum target, security must also be given its deserved priority, nor should he discard the Niger-Delta development projects that succeeded in quelling the violence of dissidents in the area.

As for Late President Yar’adua, all he needs now is our prayer for the repose of his gentle soul.

Allah Ya gafarta masa, amin.



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