Date Published: 03/24/10
Re: Rejoinder to Alhaji Tanko Yakassai's press statement on the "Illegal Dissolution of the EXCOF by AG President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan" … by UNITY RESOURCE GROUP
Most reasonable Nigerians believe that the unnecessary controversy surrounding the ‘Acting Presidency‘of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has been rested. This is mainly due to the consideration by many Nigerians, and other peace loving peoples of the world, that the prolonged absence (over 100 days) of President YarAdua from office and the country, without any information whatsoever on his true state of health, has brought great shame and ridicule on the nation, and has made the ship of state rudderless, almost to the point of political and administrative stasis.
President YarAdua’s failure to officially and openly hand over to his Vice, by giving the requisite notice of his absence to the National Assembly [whilst not a crime] was a clear dereliction of duty. If the country was not to be paralyzed or grounded, and the affairs of state put in jeopardy, an intervention of some sort was inevitable and imperative.
Technically, the only requisite condition that was missing before the resolution of the National Assembly was passed was the official letter from the President, notifying the National Assembly of his illness.
However, the constitution is not an abstract document, it is primarily organic. It is not meant to author or create confusion; rather it is put together for the good order of society and smooth running of the various arms of government.
In the broadcast by President YarAdua on BBC he clearly stated that he was unwell and cannot return to his duties until discharged by his doctors.
This was the basis of the “doctrine of necessity” which the Senate invoked to pass the resolution making the Vice President the Acting President.
It is an incontrovertible fact of law that our apex court, the Supreme Court has been known to invoke the “doctrine of necessity” to get us out of other constitutional quagmire.
Besides this, Section 4(2) of the Nigerian Constitution, under consideration of legislative powers, confers on the National Assembly, the power to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the federation.
In the absence of a President for a period over 100 days, due to obviously grave and incapacitating illness, the extent of which is still kept in absolute secrecy, peace and good order of the Nation is obviously threatened while proper governance becomes definitely impractical.
From the above alone therefore, the action of the National Assembly was apt, correct and unquestionably lawful.
We have gone to all this extent to prove to Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, and any more doubters of the legality of the resolution passed by the National Assembly, appointing Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as Acting President in the absence of President YarAdua, that their position is illogical, unreasonable and legally flawed. This has been acknowledged and accepted nationally and acclaimed by World Leaders.
The assertion by Alhaji Yakassai that “President YarAdua remains in office” is laughable. While we accept that YarAdua remains President, for now, it is undisputable that he is presently incapacitated and can therefore not discharge his duties; for which reason the Senate passed the resolution appointing Dr. Jonathan Goodluck as Acting President.
For the avoidance of doubt, it is unthinkable that in a normal democracy, two Presidents will co-exist at the same time.
The pseudo-legal argument that the Acting President does not have the power to dissolve a federal executive council which he did not constitute, is an eloquent testimony to the perverse ignorance of the authors of such dictum.
In the first place the Presidency is never one person. The dramatis personae that hold the Presidency are two, namely the President and his Vice [of course, the Presidency as an institution is much more than these two people]. But suffice it to say that all acts and pronouncements made by the President is presumed to include his Vice as his “Associate”, as contained in Section 142(i) of the Nigerian Constitution. This section refers to the Vice President as an “Associate” of the President. The Webster dictionary defines the word ”associate” as meaning “joined with another, united, allied, existing or occurring together, concomitant”.
The implication of the above, therefore, reinforces our assertion that all actions of the president are deemed to have been taken together, jointly or concomitantly with his Vice, now the Acting President.
The so called “trite in law” referred to by Alhaji Yakassi does not apply here, because the unquestionable and undoubted powers of the Acting President to dissolve, hire, and fire of the members of the Executive Council of the Federation is clearly provided for under Section 5 of the 1999 constitution, that vests the executive powers of the Federation in the President, exercisable by the Acting President giving the continued absence of President YarAdua.
Furthermore, and perhaps more importantly, is the fact that Section 147 of the Constitution also vests on the President/Acting President the sole power to appoint any minister of the Federation for Senate confirmation.
We will not join issues with Alhaji Yakassi on what he thinks the Acting President should do or not do. Alhaji Yakassi has a right, as do all the other 140 million Nigerians, to hold his own views and opinions; and even to propagate such.
He should however not issue any veiled threats to the Acting President, or other peace loving Nigerians.
In the continued absence of President YarAdua, The authority and mandate to direct the affairs of this nation till 29 th of May 2011 rest squarely on the shoulders of Acting President Goodluck Jonathan; and going by the jaundiced, illogical and patently ridiculous opinions of Alhaji Yakassi as expressed in his press statement, we find it difficult to accept or recommend him as a fit and proper person to advice any Chief Executive of this country on issues relating to good governance, responsible leadership, true federalism, peace and the good order of society.
In particular, we consider his claim that the Acting President is surrounded by a neo-cabal, encouraging him to pursue a sectional agenda, needs to be corrected even though, like all other assertions are made by him, it has no basis in fact and in truth.
We are yet to notice any cabal around Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. If there is any grouping at all, the people we see are General Theophilus Danjuma, General Aliyu Gausau and Alhaji Ahmed Yayale. These gentlemen are eminent Nigerians known and respected in their various fields. Perhaps Alhaji Yakassi should explain further which sectional agenda he believes these men are encouraging the Acting President to pursue.
In conclusion, we see Alhaji Yakassi as a Northern Elder of the “old times” who is frantically disturbed, if not confused, principally because of a morbid fear that the North may lose political power if President YarAdua is not upheld and sustained in office by all means, at all cost, dead or alive, till the elections of 2011 when another Northerner can be “rightfully” elected according to the laws of the PDP which are supposed to be superior to the Nigerian Constitution.
We enjoin Alhaji Yakassi as a true Muslim, to have recourse to the pristine dictates and tenets of Islam which teach that all power belong to Allah and He gives power to, and takes away power from, whomsoever He wishes.
UNITY RESOURCE GROUP
22 nd March, 2010