In memory of Nigeria’s anonymous President Yar’Adua and the devil himself, Obasanjo.
By Rudolf Okonkwo, USAfricaonline.com columnist and CLASSmagazine correspondent
December 2, 2003: Just like you and I, Yar’Adua will die. Someday. I want to be the first to write his obituary. It is the greatest honor I can give to the man. Yar’Adua should be able to read it while resting comfortably in his hospital bed. Not many people will have such a privilege. So here you go, Mr. Umaru Musa Yar’Adua:
There lies a sick man stranded at the presidency. The damage he wrecked could only be accessed posthumously. Beneath his grave is the bile of our epilogue.
Mr. Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, the second president of Nigeria’s fourth republic, was tied to the presidential stake by the devil himself. (Yes, there is a devil. And his name is Olusegun Obasanjo).
Yar’Adua spared nobody of any pretension to leadership, so we should spare him no pretension to polite tribute.
Yar’Adua’s era had no poetry. His days had no imagination. If not for his sickness, he could as well have been an anonymous president. I can bet my last naira that no parent named their child Umaru or Musa or Yar’Adua as a consequence of his sojourn at the presidency.
Yar’Adua subverted whatever remained of the Nigerian spirit. He never had a cult. He never had a worshiper. He was an unfinished failure. He was a god that did not make it.
As the governor of Kastina state, Yar’Adua instituted the sharia law that sentenced Amina Lawal to death for adultery. She was to be stoned to death. Later an appeal court freed her. No appeal court could free Yar’Adua’s daughters from being auctioned to the highest bidder.
If Yar’Adua only stole the cup of invincibility from Nigeria, it would have been pardonable. But he dropped it into a latrine. The adventures of Yar’Adua would make for a bad children’s coloring book. His gargantuan body of achievement dwarfed those of the legendry turtle.
Yar’Adua proved that if you change the clothes without changing the diaper, what stinks will continue to stink. He distinguished himself as an arch-Nigerian- ignoramus hanging on the wing of inaction.
He whetted no man’s appetite. He brought no smile on any citizen’s face. His posture was uninspiring. His program was invisible. He was too pathetic to be laughed at. Our eternal respect for him was in his complete lack of comic value. There was no distinction to be made between his government and the government of a dash.
Before Yar’Adua, the universally acclaimed mantra was that, “Nigeria is the only country in the world where the best is impossible and the worst never happens.” But after Yar’Adua, Nigeria became a country where the worst is impossible and the best never happens. In essence, Nigeria hit the bottom after Yar’Adua.
Before Yar’Adua, Nigeria was governed by two kinds of leaders. It was either “a fool surrounded by idiots or an idiot surrounded by fools.” It was Yar’Adua that first established a government led by a dead man surrounded by vultures. What comes after Yar’Adua will be a government of vultures surrounded by dead men.
I have often argued that the problem with Nigerian leaders was that they forget that they were mortals. Yar’Adua proved that men who are conscious of their mortality will not necessarily perform any better. While Yar’Adua daily knocked on the door of hell, his wife, Turai, was busy stuffing oil blocks inside her bra.
Yar’Adua will forever live in one mythology – his was the definitive proof of how not to be president. He performed so woefully that if Nigerians were people who valued excellence, they would staple a tail to his corpse. So that when he reincarnates and aspires to a leadership position, he will be promptly identified and quarantined.
Yar’Adua studied Analytical Chemistry at ABU but had no understanding of the law of Thermodynamics. On its own, heat cannot flow from an area of cold to an area of hot, says the second law. Yet, Yar’Adua’s Vision 2020 hoped to go from an area of cold to an area of hot on its own.
Faraday’s Law states that “the weight of any element liberated during electrolysis is proportional to the quantity of electricity passing through the cell and also to the equivalent weight of the element.” What Yar’Adua did not grasp at school was that this law means that the moral authority of any politician following an election is proportional to the amount of fraud that took place during the electoral process and also to the moral state of the politician.
Yar’Adua was the last “Nigerian” president. Hundred years from now, when the history of that territory formerly called Nigeria is written, historians will note that it was Yar’Adua who finally brought an end to the farce. They will note that his physical ailment was a reminder to the people trapped in that dead and dirty pond that they, too, were sick. The predicament of Yar’Adua was the predicament of the Nigerian lot- an incapability to know when to quit.
If the tears of the downtrodden did not make him raise a finger against corruption, nothing else would. If the histrionics of the vultures around him did not make him question his reality, nothing else would. If an obituary like this did not make him rethink his legacy, nothing else would.
May his soul, and the soul of all those who die, unnecessarily, every day, in that occupied territory, rest in peace.
In lieu of dancing in the street, play squash in honor of the dead president. In lieu of flowers, send assault weapons to his gun-loving son.
•Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo wrote exclusively for USAfricaonline.com, the insightful and much cited report: Anambra’s rigged 2003 elections, and Chris Uba’s confession at the WIC 2004 convention in Newark, New Jersey; and several commentaries.
NEWS: Yar’Adua should resign, handover to VP: some politicians, activists demand; some signatories deny statement
By Obinwa Nnaji in Lagos, USAfrica Executive Editor (Nigeria) and Chido Nwangwu
USAfrica and USAfricaonline.com (characterized by The New York Times as the most influential African-owned, U.S-based multimedia networks) established May 1992, our first edition of USAfrica magazine was published August 1993; USAfrica The Newspaper on May 11, 1994; CLASSmagazine on May 2, 2003; www.PhotoWorks.TV in 2005.
December 2, 2009: As Nigerians continue to debate and speculate about the serious health issues facing their President Umaru Yar’Adua, a group reflecting a cross section of political and civil society leaders, mainly outside the ruling Peoples Democratic Party but significantly including its former national chairman Audu Ogbe, has called for his resignation.
The 56 signatories also recommend that the Vice President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan should take over, immediately, to serve out the term of the Yar’Adua health-challenged presidency.
Their signed statement states, in part, “As President Yar’Adua’s compatriots and part of his larger Nigerian family, we sympathize with him and believe that his health should be given priority attention. At the same time, the need to provide effective governance for this nation of over 150 million people cannot be compromised…. Indeed, the constitution has rightly envisaged the situation in which the country has found itself. In any event, we are of the view that the president should immediately and unconditionally hand over to the vice-president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan to complete the current term of office, and conduct the next general elections on the basis of the report of the electoral reform committee headed by Justice Mohammed Lawal Uwais.”
On the issue of those who insist Yar’Adua’s mandate restricts the presidency for 2 terms to the northern section of Nigeria, the group argued that the “Conventions and devices as rotation are strictly non-constitutional and any attempt to becloud issues by mixing political party administrative devices would be unhelpful in the situation we find ourselves.”
The group cited “several loopholes in his presidential service delivery” which they insist have not served Nigeria well. For example, the signatories mentioned the recent 2009 “United Nations General Assembly for which a private audience had been arranged between him and President Obama for high level discussions of issues mutually beneficial to Nigeria and the United States because he was in Saudi Arabia to ‘open a university’ which was a dummy sold to cover up his treatments.”
Among the listed notables are former Senate president Ken Nnamani, former speaker of the House of Representatives Aminu Masari, presidential candidates Dr Tunji Braithwaite, Olu Falae and Prof. Pat Utomi, former Military governor of Kaduna State retired Col Abubakar Umar, former governor of Edo State John Odigie-Oyegun, former presidential aspirants, retired Lt. Gen. Alani Akinrinade and several others. They add that the president has breached constitutional procedures in the way “his health condition has necessitated several medical trips abroad (and for which) he has not transmitted to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives a written declaration that he was proceeding on vacation or that he is otherwise unable to discharge the functions of his office as required by Section 145 of the Constitution.”
His option is “to immediately choose the honourable option of either: resigning his office immediately, or if he is confident of his true physical condition, request the Federal Executive Council to pass a resolution pursuant to Section 144 (1) of the Constitution to the effect that the President appears incapable of discharging the functions of his office.” They continue that “In the circumstance, Ministers have routinely flouted the orders of the President and engaged in infighting as a direct result of the vacuum in leadership. This was recently embarrassingly exposed to the world with the series of conflicting public statements credited to the Attorney General and the Chairperson of the EFCC. This was also exposed further when the president disavowed knowledge of a memo to all foreign missions purportedly on his instructions. Furthermore, till date, ministers continue to flout the public instruction of the president that ministers who presented memos at the FEC should stay behind to brief the media.”
Some political leaders from the North, especially Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, have also cautioned against demanding Yar’Adua’s resignation. Sources close to VP Jonathan have dismissed earlier reports that some unnamed, influential persons were putting pressure on the VP to resign amidst the President’s ill-health as a guarantee for a northerner to continue as President.
Meanwhile, the First Lady of Nigeria and a few very close aides of the President are with him in Saudi Arabia as his complicated health situations are managed by a team of international doctors.
USAfricaonline.com and its blog Nigeria360@yahoogroups.com continue to feature debates among Nigerians on the dramatic turn of events and unique clash of party politics, regional politics, presidential performance and constitutional order. e-mail: news@USAfricaonline.com and USAfrica247@Gmail.com
Life and death tales follow Nigeria’s President Yar’Adua to Saudi Arabia, again
USAfricaonline.com Special report by Chido Nwangwu
USAfrica and USAfricaonline.com (characterized by The New York Times as the most influential African-owned, U.S-based multimedia networks) established May 1992, our first edition of USAfrica magazine was published August 1993; USAfrica The Newspaper on May 11, 1994; CLASSmagazine on May 2, 2003; www.PhotoWorks.TV in 2005
Nigeria’s President, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’adua, is back in the news as the subject of increased chatter across Nigeria’s international communities and inside the country’s capital city of Abuja on the twin-issues of the Fulani prince’s health condition and capacity to lead and serve as the leader of the country’s almost 220 million citizens.
The confluence of the Nigerian president’s health issues and the performance of national and international duties have also remained matters of debate and concern.
This time, he left late on Monday November 23, 2009, arriving next day on Tuesday November 24 and admitted for his renal, heart condition known as acute pericarditis, and asthmatic medical needs. President Yar’Adua’s media/communications assistant Olusegun Adeniyi’s formal statement as the president departed Nigeria indicated the President’s Saudi trip includes “follow-up medical checks.”
The Nigerian presidency, according to the Lagos and Abuja correspondents of USAfrica and USAfricaonline.com, is sensitive to the mounting speculations and polite inquiries following another of Yar’Adua’s urgent medical trips and admissions to the familiar Saudi Arabia’s King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre in Jeddah.
Across different private and public platforms for Nigerians, and through phone calls, e-mails and text messages to the USAfrica newsroom in Houston, USAfricaonline.com and across its four main e-groups especially Nigeria360@yahoogroup since November 23, 2009, we have witnessed debates linking President Yar’Adua’s latest, sudden medical check up trip to Saudi Arabia as symptomatic of his inability to maintain a strong, hands-on grip on the affairs of the country.
In the light of the realities of the President’s health, Nigerians continue to seek answers to the mounting questions being raised
First, how medically fit is Nigeria’s president?
Second, how does his health impact his capacity to, operationally, govern Nigeria, Africa’s largest democracy?
Third, who handles the levers of government in the presidency when, as we have seen, the president is himself indisposed?
Fourth, what is the reality of authority and power inside the Nigerian presidency?
Fifth, what are the actual capacities and putative roles of the Vice President of the country, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan in these dynamic configuration of things?
Sixth, what circles of immediate influence shape the outcomes at the Nigerian presidency under Yar’Adua — especially when he’s indisposed?
Privately, the key members of his ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) express concern about the President’s capacity to execute his own 7-point agenda/program amidst the demanding task of leading the PDP’s large, diverse, cantankerous and complicated structure and partisans.
In a brief chat with USAfricaonline.com, a major co-leader of the PDP from Kaduna State who played a critical role in fighting former president Obasanjo’s failed 3rd-term shenanigans said: “He will complete his term, Insa’Allah. (Insa’Allah is Arabic for God willing). And aside from the human factor we’re also concerned about the president’s health and how it affects the North’s opportunity and ongoing turn at providing the president. We pray for his recovery and healing.”
The Action Congress (AC) party -led by Obasanjo’s former VP Atiku Abubakar – has never been subtle in expressing concern over the health of President Yar’Adua and its impact on governance. AC’s National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed argues that Yar’Adua’s incapacity to present the 2010 budget this week to the National Assembly requires and validates the call for a full disclosure on the President’s health: “We have said that the President is a human being who can fall ill at any time, and that his ill-health cannot be used against him. But since the President is the father of the nation, we – his children – must be fully kept abreast on his state of health. Failure to do that will fuel rumors, as we have now seen.”
But Senator Ayogu Eze of the PDP Enugu State argues “there is no indication for us whatsoever that the president is unable to discharge his responsibility. So far we do not have any evidence that the president cannot do his job so why should we pry into that.” Eze, chairman of the Senate’s Information committee adds “The health of the president is a constitutional issue and it is only a health board of enquiry that can determine the fitness or otherwise of the president, the composition of that board is very clear.”
On his part, the chairman of the U.S chapter of the PDP, Prof. Bernard-Thompson Ikegwuoha told USAfricaonline.com and Nigeria360 e-group that “It’s wrong and improper to add the president’s health to the issues for politicking in Nigeria. He deserves our compassion and should be commended for seeking and getting the best medical attention to be able to serve Nigerians better. Everything cannot be and should not be politicized.”
Another critical voice is that of the opposition party ANNP Governor of Kano State, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau who told me/USAfricaonline.com and CLASSmagazine during our November 2009 exclusive interview that the issue is not the private health of the President: “we are focused simply on the issue of his public performance and service to Nigeria. Everyone knows that Yar’Adua and their PDP government have failed Nigeria. There’s no light or security…. They do not have passing marks; even the members of Nigeria’s national assembly, their own party members have indicated so. What are they talking about? They have failed”
Like Dr. Shekarau, Yar’Adua served as governor (of Katsina State, from May 1999 to May 2007). Yar’Adua was handpicked and reportedly “pushed” by his predecessor Obasanjo to become President of Nigeria through a controversial Nigerian presidential election in April 2007, assessed by international observers as rigged and neither free nor fair. He was sworn in as president on May 29, 2007. He was born on August 16, 1951, into a family of political heavyweights of Fulani descent in the north central state of Katsina (at the time the old Northern Nigeria).
Despite the health issues, Nigeria’s largely indisposed President is also being positioned by some who benefit from his continuing role as president to seek a 2nd 4-year term, come 2011.
The latest, preceding background to the issues and reports about the President’s health status occurred on Tuesday September 22, 2009 when he made as priority one of his personal-cum-official trips to Saudi Arabia over his scheduled attendance of the very important event of the 2009 United Nations’ General Assembly meeting in New York same week/period. His handlers publicly noted and announced that his mission to Saudi Arabia was for the cause of education, specifically to commission the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, and by the way get some medical care for asthma.
The more urgent question for Nigerians is how soon President Yar’Adua will return to take charge of the ship of state amidst competing and clashing interests across the various arms of government.
Also, they raise questions over deteroriating security, kidnapping and the epileptic energy/power supplies across Nigeria.
Even as Nigerians await his return, rumors of his mortality continue to fly. Truth is Nigerians love rumors; tales of death and dying; true or false, they trade in them….
We wish President Umar Yar’Adua speedy recovery!
•Chido Nwangwu, recipient of the Journalism Excellence award (1997), is Founder and Publisher of USAfricaonline.com (first African-owned U.S.-based professional newspaper to be published on the internet), USAfrica The Newspaper, CLASS magazine and The Black Business Journal, USAfricaTV, AchebeBooks.com, and several blogs/e-groups. He served as an adviser to the Mayor of Houston on international business (Africa) and appears as an analyst on CNN, VOA, NPR, CBS News, NBC and ABC news affiliates. e-mail:Chido247@Gmail.com
President Obama, hate-mongers and mob cons. By Chido Nwangwu, Publisher of USAfricaonline.com, www.Achebebooks.com, CLASS magazine, The Black Business Journal, USAfrica.TV, and the largest digital images/pictorial events domain for Africans abroad www.PhotoWorks.TV
Follow Chido at FaceBook.com/usafrica and at Twitter.com/chido247
USAfricaonline.com goes richly interactive with new look, content….
By Alverna Johnson. Corporate Affairs, Houston:
On 10/10/09, the major redesign and addition of richly interactive options will go fully live on the award-winning web site of the first African-owned, U.S-based professional newspaper published on the internet, www.USAfricaonline.com
“The importance of this latest interactive re-positioning of USAfricaonline.com is to fully tap into the advantages of the digital world to benefit our community and readers. Especially, the key issue and leverage is that we have and own unique content; and with this initiative, USAfrica advances, further, the immigrant African views and news into the international media and public policy mainstream. It leverages the global resources of USAfrica, again, into the electronic frontline of critically informed, responsible discourse and seasoned reportage of African and American interests as well as debating relevant issues of disagreement”, notes Chido Nwangwu, the Founder & Publisher of USAfricaonline.com, AchebeBooks.com, The Black Business Journal, USAfrica.TV and CLASSmagazine.
“Some of the new features on USAfricaonline.com have enabled for our readers and bloggers, the live texting of pages and page links to phones and other multimedia devices, instant sharing across all the leading social networks especially Facebook, Twitter, digg, myspace, Mixx, Technorati, LinkedIn, AIM, LiveJournal and Yigg.”
Chido Nwangwu, recipient of an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree in May 2009 and analyst on CNN, VOA, SABC, highlights other advantages as “live RSS feeds and e-syndication of the USAfrica reports and premium content. In terms of graphics and structure, the new USAfricaonline.com has visually refreshing headers and crisp pictures. We’ve also added more columnists, regional news correspondents and incisive special features writers. The site will be updated regularly, especially for significant breaking news.”
The flagship of the American media, The New York Times, several public policy, media and human rights organizations have assessed USAfrica and USAfricaonline.com as the most influential and largest multimedia networks covering the bi-continental interests of Africans and Americans. The first edition of USAfrica magazine was published August 1993; USAfrica The Newspaper on May 11, 1994; CLASSmagazine on May 2, 2003; PhotoWorks.TV in 2005, and dozens of web sites and e-groups/blogs.
The Houston-based USAfrica has a formidable, experienced network of editors and correspondents across the U.S and Africa. Its Publisher served as adviser on Africa business/community to Houston’s former Mayor Lee Brown. http://usafricaonline.com/chido.html
contact: Alverna Johnson (Corporate Affairs). USAfrica Inc. 8303 Southwest Freeway, Suite 100, Houston, Texas 77074. office:713-270-5500. wireLess: 832-45-CHIDO (24436). e-mail: News@USAfricaonline.com or Chido@USAfricaonline.com