“If we fail to act now, history will not forgive us,” – Dora Akunyili
Only very few persons have good conscience to say no even when majority believe all is well in a system. Obviously Dora Akunyili, a professor and Nigeria’s Information and Communications Minister is among the few that can off-load a burden, feel free to take a principled stance and damn the consequences if need be.
It takes the singular heart of a lion and a principled character like Dora Akunyili to make a positive difference in a rotten drug industry even when dare-devil drug traffickers want her life out to pave way for a free drug business in the country.
The drug traffickers fled the illegal drug trade and the image of the Amazon (Dora) blossomed to the good health of Nigerians, and history was made of her glorious outing in the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
Last Wednesday, Dora with a heavy heart, not in relation to death but saddened with “the State of the Nation”, rattled the Federal Executive Council (FEC) with her memo on the continued absence of ailing President, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua from the country and the need to handover to Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan to save the nation from further embarrassment.
Dora Akunyili’s memo which was later withdrawn say in parts “ I wish to call on the Federal Executive Council to act now in the best interest of our dear President and our dear nation. We also wish to save ourselves from shame because our stand is becoming very embarrassing… The name of our President and all his achievements are being rubbished by this unfortunate debacle. The President and his family are also being put under undue pressure, which will not help his recovery. If we fail to act now, history will not forgive us.”
Of a truth, history do not forgive those who keep silent in the face of challenges especially if such challenges have to do with conscience and integrity. Thus, when Dora Akunyili decided to send her controversial memo to the FEC, she did that not for want of it, but to stand on the side of history irrespective of the earlier position of FEC that all is well with Yar’Adua in Saudi Arabia hospital.
On January 27, the Federal Attorney-General and Justice Minister, Micheal Aondoakaa had told Nigerians after a FEC meeting that the cabinet unanimously agreed that Yar’Adua is fit to continue in office, even with his poor health.
Every element of charade has an expiring date. When Dora sent in her memo to FEC that Jonathan Presidency is now imperative, it was an indication that the FEC’s charade has expired to the chagrin of most other FEC members. Who is fooling who?
Dora Akunyili is not alone for Jonathan Presidency now. Media stakeholders, February 1, had expressed worry over the political crisis in Nigeria and called on ailing Yar’Adua to handover power to Jonathan within seven days or resign. Unfortunately, Aondoakaa would not stop at nothing to secure rulership in absentia for Yar’Adua, and that is why the media stakeholders have given him (Aondoakaa) red card even as they advised the National Assembly to impeach Yar’Adua if he fails to abide by Sections 144 and 145 of the 1999 constitution. The beauty of democracy can be seen in the unity of 36 state governors for a transfer of power to Jonathan in order to save the country from impending anarchy and threat to political instability. The governors’ stand over Yar’Adua’s continued absence from the country is enough to send strong message to Nigerians that deceit has lost its face value in the game of offshore Presidency.
For how long will Nigeria continue to exist with leadership vacuum? This is the worry of another set of political figures in the country led by former House of Representatives Speaker, Aminu Bello Masari and a former Senate President, Ken Nnamani. Their demand for the resignation of Yar’Adua and the assumption of leadership by his vice will only encourage the efforts to strengthen the nation’s weak democratic institutions that have failed to respond appropriately to the popular clamour for Yar’Adua to transfer power to his deputy.
Arewa Consultative Forum, an umbrella body of the Northerners has pitched its tent with history. It lent its weight in support of an orderly transfer of power to the Vice President.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo, a Pan-Igbo organization shares the sentiment of Arewa Forum, that time has come for Jonathan to take charge of leadership in absence of his master.
All these calls represent voices of reason which of course are those of God and they should not be ignored even as the evil cabal that has pocketed Yar’Adua administration is not leaving any thing to chance to secure Yar’Adua’s rulership in absentia. Perharps, the cabal is worried that once power shift, their economic base and that of their aides, dependents etc will cease, hence the efforts to keep the flame of offshore Presidency burning.
Whether we like it or not, two sets of Nigerians are locked up in prayers which are equal and opposite. The first prayer point is for God to facilitate the transfer of power to Jonathan at least to enable the country move forward. Others are praying for Yar’Adua to recover immediately to retain power and shame his perceived enemies. But when we realize that many national issues including the review of the Electoral Act, the Niger Delta crisis, the 2010 National budget have been put on hold, it is only expedient for those in power to listen to voice of reason which is that of God.
CAN Accuses El-Rufai Of Hidden Agenda
The Kaduna State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has accused Governor Nasir El-Rufai of engaging in politics with civil servants and residents of the state.
This was contained in a statement issued on Tuesday by the state chairman of CAN, Rev. John Joseph Hayab, in the aftermath of the pronouncement of a four-day work week by the governor.
El-Rufai had said the state government would begin implementing the transitional arrangement in the public service starting from December 1, 2021.
However, the CAN Chairman urged caution, stating that the citizens of the state had been subjected to pains by this government through some of its unpopular policies.
He advised civil servants in the state not to celebrate the policy yet until they were convinced that there was no hidden agenda behind it.
“Workers must be sure that the policy is not aimed at reducing their salaries.
“They must be convinced that the government will not wake up one day with another shocking news of salary reduction since the five working days have been reduced to four.”
“How can a state that is not secured talk about giving workers time for agriculture and be with family when bandits move about freely, terrorising people in their homes, on the farms, and on the highways!
“How can one spend time with family when you have nothing to feed them or provide for their basic needs?” he said.
Meagre Allocation Stalls Adamawa LG Polls
The Adamawa State Independent Electoral Commission (ADSIEC) has postponed the December 4 local government council polls indefinitely due to lack of funds.
ADSIEC Information Officer, Innocent Daniel, said on Monday that the commission was awaiting funds from the government to conduct a free, fair and transparent election.
“Among the major challenges that led to the postponement of the election was the meagre allocation to the commission in the state’s 2021 budget.
“The allocation is too meagre for the commission to organise and conduct the election.
“Also, the re-usable election materials such as ballot boxes, duty vests, bags and kits were completely vandalised during the #Endsars protest,” he said.
The Information officer said that the commission was also faced with the problem of handling the new polling units that were converted from voting points by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He said that the conversion had raised the polling units in the state from 2,609 to 4,104.
“This development will lead to an increase in facilities and ad hoc staff. The ongoing registration of new voters will also have a resultant increase in ballot paper requirements.
“It is in this regard that the preparations for the local government council election for December 4, is hereby suspended to give the government time to source for funds,” Mr Daniel said.
2023: Northern Youths Urge Old Politicians To Steer Clear
Politicians above 60 years of age have been urged to stay away from the presidential race come 2023.
The appeal was made by the leadership of the Concerned Northern Youth Forum (CNYF) in Kaduna yesterday.
They argued that in developed nations, people of that age and experience were mostly engaged in charitable activities, free consultancy services and other forms of selfless services.
The spokesman of the group, Comrade Abdulsalam Moh’d Kazeem, called on youths to take advantage of the “not too young to rule” to participate actively in the political arena.
Also, a north-based group has tasked Nigerian youths to join politics to free the country of bad governance.
Coordinator of the group, National Youth Movement for Good Governance, Nasiru Aliyu, who disclosed this at a news briefing in Kaduna, said Nigeria requires young hands that can work assiduously to address its developmental challenges.
Meanwhile, some stakeholders in the North Central zone and bigwigs of the PDP in the region, have thrown their weight behind the candidature of Bukola Saraki in the 2023 presidency.
The group, led by Professor Iyorwuese Hagher, stated this on Monday during the advocacy committee meeting for Saraki with party members and delegations from across the zone at the Nasarawa State party secretariat in Lafia.
An associate of Saraki, Alhaji Kawu Baraje, urged the party to consider Saraki as its presidential candidate for 2023 to salvage the country from total collapse.
Also, the campaign team of a former presidential candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, on Monday met with the party’s officials and stakeholders from the three senatorial districts of Benue State over the 2023 general elections.
The leader of the team, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, said they were in Benue as forerunners of Atiku to consult with the elders of the PDP in the state and ask them for support for their principal who will be contesting the presidential poll in 2023.
Similarly, a support group, Tinubu Legacy Forum (TLF), has said the national leader of the ruling APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is not too old to contest the presidency.
While 69-year-old Tinubu has not formally declared his presidential interest, his recent visitations and series of support groups, rooting for him, show his interest in contesting the 2023 presidency, probably under the APC.
Addressing newsmen on Monday in Abuja, the Coordinator, TLF, FCT Chapter, Barrister Abdullahi Awwal Muhammad, said Tinubu was not too old to contest for the presidency.
In Lagos, a Yoruba group yesterday endorsed the former Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha as the next president. The group, under the aegis of Oduduwa Sons and Daughters for Equity and Justice, declared that the Yoruba people have decided to support a South-Easterner as successor to President Muhammadu Buhari.
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