Hajia Turai: Fermenting a coup? Photo courtesy
Reports that Nigeria’s ailing president was smuggled into Nigeria without the knowledge of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, the country’s vice president, is disgusting. Jonathan did not even authorize the army to line up Abuja streets at the time his boss secretly arrived. What’s more, the media in Nigeria was caught off-guard thanks to the news of Yar’Adua's arrival being broken by Al-Jazeera Television.
The situation in Nigeria is a replica of what is going on in many African countries where a kit and caboodle of power brokers surrounding big men can abuse the constitution by hijacking the president without being dealt with. If Jonathan was not aware off all happenings-cum-goings-on, who is crewing Nigeria? What is the root of this unconstitutionality in the first place? Who ordered the army to line up Abuja streets?
The first suspect in this power abuse and usurpation is none other than the first lady, Turai who barred Jonathan from having audience with his boss. Other culprits are Yar’Adua’s relatives. Yar’Adua’s mother, Hajj Dada, was recently quoted praying that her son be allowed to go back to Katsina so that prayers would be made for his recovery. The pretext Turai offers is that doctors told her not to allow anyone to see the president! What rubbish!
Ensconced amidst power brokers from Katsina, the home of Yar’Adua, Turai is doing whatever she can to get away with it; shall the president pass on anytime. This has created much jumble in Nigeria. Nigerians do not know the condition of their president. Rumours are rife that Yar’Adua is in bad shape and therefore, anything can happen anytime. Turai and Co are embarking on these abracadabras to create a conducive environment for power to change hands. Some refer to Turai as Nigeria's Imelda Marcos after the influential wife of former Filipino strongman Ferdinand Marcos, who ruled for more than two decades before being driven from power by protests in 1986.
First ladies and whiz kids surrounding African big men are tearing down our continent. They’ve become presidents behind the curtain. Some accost journalists and wield immense powers as if they have constitutional backing to act like rulers. In Uganda, the president’s clan-cum-family use the country like their privy firm and nothing is done to arrest this anomaly! They are everywhere doing everything that can make money. All lucrative tenders and the like are under the control of their netherworld. Like the strongman himself, they’re above the law. That’s why Museveni’s Brother Caleb Akandwanao aka Saleh Salim has nary been charged for corruption.
The situation is even gross in Algeria, Congo, DRC, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Libya, Gambia, Rwanda, Togo, Tunisia and Zimbabwe where a family-crony axis of evil lords it over people.
News that Yar’Adua’s wife glutted the acting president from seeing his boss without the fear of the institution of presidency is a blow to Nigeria.In US, when a winning presidential candidate is declared president, They say: "This is not a normal human being but the president of the United States." This means, the president-elect ceases to be a family matter but a public figure. In principle the president is supposed to be above petty confines like tribe, religion, region and what not. Yar’Adua’s wife has therefore grossly erred to hijack the president of the people that voted him their leader. This crime borders treason. Legally speaking, Nigerians have the right to see and hear their president. They’re the ones that voted him their president. What she is doing is dangerous for democracy.
Yar’Adua is bedridden. That is why he’s nary been seen in public since November last year. That’s why his homecoming was secretive and controversial. He needs freedom from manipulators.
Were I Jonathan, under the power vested in me under Nigeria’s constitution, I’d order the release of the information about the president’s bill of health come what may. This would help to stop anxiety and confusion about the president. And it’d stop the machinations carried out by Mafioso surrounding the president.
What’s going on in Nigeria is a big lesson for Africa. We need to lop powers that first ladies and cronies wield behind the curtains. Even Prince Philip despite being the consort of the Queen can nary barricade Britons from seeing their monarch simply because they share one bed. Turai’s mischievous stance has offended Nigerians.
“I believe that it is people around him [Yar'Adua] that are gaining from the confusion" says Information Minister Dora Akunyili. "People around him are doing to him today what 100 million political enemies cannot do to him. The cabal wants to continue with their usual statement of 'the president said,' and you must comply. They want to continue dishing out instructions even when the president did not say so,” the minister says. She warns: “This cabal should, please, stop heating up the system and allow President Yar'Adua to recover.”
This statement shows how desperate and frustrated Nigerians are. The whole minister does not know anything about the health of her boss simply because his wife and the cabal do not like!
Paroxysms emanating from Yar’Adua affair do not end up in Nigeria. The US has already warned that Jonathan must be left alone to rule till the president is declared fit to rule. Nigerians are wary and balked. Professor Itse Sagay, one of Nigeria’s political pundits was recently quoted as thus: “In the absence of that, being brought back in an ambulance and then taken by an ambulance, somewhere without being seen, simple is a token that his condition is still very bad, rather than the other way round. And, so, this cannot make any difference to the institution of an acting presidency.
We should start thinking about how to curb president’s wives, cronies and other hyena-like power brokers behind the president or first lady. Importantly, Yar’Adua needs to be freed from the first lady and her inner sanctum bêtes noix.
Source: The African Eecutive Magazine March 10, 2010.