President Yar'Adua should apologize to Nigerians
Yar¢Adua should simply apologize to Nigerians for lying to us over his health status. We have been taken for a ride for too long and each time the lie is told, the truth becomes obvious. The president is not just healthy enough to cope with the rigours of the office he occupies. To lead the most populous black nation is not a child¢s play. So much is demanded from the leader, both physically and mentally.
We all are aware that in this part of the continent, lies are told in order to get certain things. For instance, we lie about age in order to get appointments or to retain one so that one is not retired. It is therefore not surprising when one tells you that his official age is so and so. Official age is not the same as one¢s real age. It won¢t surprise anyone, therefore, that Professor Wole Soyinka is 74 years old and former president Obasanjo is 71, even though Obasanjo is obviously old enough to compete with Soyinka¢s grandfather on account of age.
President Yar¢Adua lied when he challenged anyone that doubted his health status to a game of squash. He lied so that he would not be disqualified by voters on account of his poor health status. If he had told us the truth that time, he won¢t have found himself in the mess he is in now. That is, having to look for excuses anytime his physical ability is called to question.
The other time, the president was to address the United Nations and he decided to delegate Ojo Maduekwe, Foreign Affairs, to represent him on the excuse that he had to attend to crucial domestic issues. This is the same president that would jet out to Saudi for unknown reasons when domestic issues were begging for attention. As expected, Maduekwe was politely refused to be accorded the privilege that was meant for only Heads of States. Nigeria lost the opportunity to address the world. This is an opportunity that all nations of the world look up to.
So many other state functions were avoided by the president for obvious reasons: he could not just hold on. Federal Executive Council meetings which held weekly previously now holds bi-monthly. Appointing ministers become a nightmare for this administration. Serving ministers have to wait on long queues to see Mr. President even when pressing issues are involved.
The latest issue is the presentation of 2009 appropriation bill to the national assembly by our ailing president. Traditionally, this has always being done by the president. The feeler we are getting is that the president may delegate someone to do it on his behalf as he is, they argued, not under any obligation to do the presentation personally. Good reason. But why Yar¢Adua whose competence is in doubt? Is the presentation more rigorous than a game squash? Which other domestic matter is he going to be attending to that is more important than having a joint session of the national assembly?
Only God knows how many files are pilling on the table of Mr. President, and we may never get to know since the oath of secrecy forbids the common from knowing happenings in and around Aso Rock.
My candid advice is for the president to tender his unreserved apology to all Nigerians for deceiving us into believing that he was sound. Nigerians are oft-forgiving. If he does it from the bottom of his heart, I strongly believe that Nigerians will ask him to ¡carry go¢ to complete his term. What they may never accept is if he asks for a second term. Another four years of sabbatical will be too risky for the nation.
Mohammed Ali Jnr.
Plot 225, Golf Course Close
Ungwar Rimi Road