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Date Published: 05/11/10

Yar’Adua Death, Obasanjo & Jonathan’s Challenges By GEORGE ELIJAH OTUMU

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Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, the 58 year old ruler of Nigeria who died in Aso Rock, the nation’s sit of power recently, is the second Nigeria’s Head-of-State to have passed-on in the presidential Villa.

Since May 29, 2007 that he was forced to lead the country through the ‘backdoor’, on the crest of flawed election, obviously manipulated by Olusegun Obasanjo, a former president, this first Nigerian graduate president remained a sad man who waged relentless war against his failed health.

To convince Nigerians of his integrity and sincerity, he told the world that the election that brought him into power ‘was flawed’. And to make amends, he promised to put in place a lasting electoral reform that will make our elections credible, free and fair. This singular action gave birth to Justice Muhammed Uwais Report on electoral reform.

But, all his good intentions were downplayed by power-hungry politicians overtly and covertly to the extent that salient issues in Uwais’ Report that would have placed Nigeria on a good pedestal for the coming 2011 election was altered.

This former governor of Katsina State was ‘caged’ by coterie of high-placed Nigerians in the likes of Obasanjo, Turai, the wife and his defunct kitchen cabinet led by Michael Aondoakaa, a garrulous and deposed Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, later sacked as minister of special duties.

There had been outpouring of love and tributes to Yar’Adua by Nigerians in the high and low cadre of the society. The evergreen tributes really showed that the former president led a peaceful life in his short stay on earth.

Many Nigerians have laid the death of Yar’Adua on the doorstep of Obasanjo, incidentally the late president’s godfather. The Balogun of Owu in Owu kingdom is blamed to have purposely fostered a ‘dying’ man on Nigerians for killing his ambitious of third term in office.

Turai, a former ‘First Lady’ has been receiving knocks from Nigerians across the world for her personal ambition in place of the health of her spouse. She could not draw a line between Yar’Adua-the president and husband. To her, the two personalities of Yar’Adua are simply the same. The late president needed medical help badly, but Turai bungled all chances for the man to receive the attention of the best physician with regular distraction from the ‘kitchen cabinet’ who hijacked the man from his royal ward in King Faisal Specialist Hospital, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

For Turai and the ‘kitchen cabinet’ termed cabal, their lust for power made them to bring Yar’Adua to Nigeria under the cover of darkness and ‘dumped’ on his bed in Aso Rock.  With increased agitation by Nigerians on the true state of Yar’Adua’s health, the cabal occasionally held the nation into ransom by blowing siren of the president’s convoy around the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, giving impression that Yar’Adua was on a stroll. Only for Nigerians to later discover, it was game after all. How could these people have ‘toyed’ with the life of Yar’Adua for their own selfish aggrandizement?

Fearing that the game was up, Yar’Adua though weak could no longer stand the humiliation and the man died. Turai screamed for help in the hands of personal doctors of the late president who were by the bed side of Yar’Adua. All the ‘actors’ in Yar’Adua’s demise knew that their hidden game had collapsed like the pack of cards.

Goodluck Jonathan, then acting President was eventually informed through Yar’Adua’s aides. Troubled and speechless at the death of Yar’Adua, his boss whom he was denied assess, Jonathan wept and declared a public holiday, seven-day mourning period, while the nation’s flag flew at half mast.

Turai immediately removed her belongings and that of Yar’Adua from Aso Rock to Katsina State where the burial was held. Yar’Adua’s friends and foes were in Katsina State, not for the burial per say, but for political camaraderie in flowery speeches. While many Nigerians who watched the burial of Yar’Adua in the confines of their homes or offices cried, Turai’s face was strong, obviously thinking about all the properties and ‘fat bank accounts’ in her custody.

Yar’Adua may have lived long; if Obasanjo’s political machinery had not brought him to power at all cost. He may have lived after his first tenure of office as president had Turai prevailed on him to resign due to his fallen health. It is a statement of fact that no man truly knows the health of a spouse, except his or her partner. Turai would have been a heroine if she had compelled Yar’Adua to quit governance when his health nose-dived. Today, she is cursed and abused by women, girls, men and the youths for her shameful role in the Yar’Adua’s health issue.

It is important to say that all through the period Jonathan was acting President, he was holed-up in Aguda House in the presidential Villa. Not once was he ambitious to have coerced Turai to see the late president.

In less than 12 months for Jonathan, as the new President and Commander in-chief of Armed Forces to perform, he needs to hit the ground running to keep the memory of Yar’Adua alive. He should avoid praise-singers, contractors and ‘parasites’ that will be coming around his exalted office for the purpose of distraction.

Nothing stops Jonathan from declaring a state-of-emergency in the power sector, sack redundant ‘racketeers’ that are directors in Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, who are interested in buying new cars from ‘forced tax collection’ on light bills. We should have a team of professional technocrats directly under the presidency to run our refineries at optimal capacity.

As an indigene of Niger Delta from Bayelsa State, this is the time to practically demonstrate his understanding of Yar’Adua’s legacies by ensuring that peace finally returns to the volatile oil producing communities.

Jonathan needs to walk his talk by allowing anti-graft agencies to work without any let or hindrance, no matter whose ox is gored. Peoples Democratic Party, PDP chieftains in the likes of Vincent Ogbulafor, James Ibori and rest should face the music-judgment of their past in the court of law without any interference from the presidency. Corruption monster must be fought to a standstill.

If Jonathan is able to accomplish all these, there is no better campaign for Nigerians to desire his election as president in the 2011 election. The world is now at his feet and whichever he way he turns, posterity will judge him at the expiration of his tenure.

Otumu, associate Editor, Scroll Magazine wrote in via elijahotumu@yahoo.com    

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