Continuing with the theme of comparing Nigeria’s current President Goodluck Jonathan against his predecessors, here is a comparison of Jonathan against Nigeria’s first Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa.
GOODLUCK JONATHAN’S INTERVIEW:
ABUBAKAR TAFAWA BALEWA
Full replay of the 2012 presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney.
President Goodluck Jonathan has named 57 year old Kaduna state governor Namadi Sambo as his new vice-president. Sambo’s appointment is now subject to ratification by the Senate and House of Representatives.
Goodluck Jonathan has been sworn in as Nigeria’s 14th Head of State and 4th executive President. He is the first Nigerian President to assume office after the death of an elected sitting President.
President Umaru Yar’Adua was buried in Katsina on Thursday May 6, 2010.
Courtesy: The Punch
The Islamic ceremony was attended by several thousand people and dignataries including former Heads of State General Ibrahim Babangida, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar 111, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, former Senate President, Anyim Pius Anyim, and former Lagos State Governor Bola Tinubu. Many state Governors also attended.
Yar’Adua’s body was flown from the capital Abuja. His body was draped in the green and white Nigerian flag. It arrived in the Yar’Adua family’s compound in Katsina around 3pm. The air force plane that flew him was accompanied by his wife Turai.
Courtesy: The Punch
His body was initially taken to the Katsina township stadium where it was brought for Islamic prayers, then he was buried at the Dan Marna cemetery around 6.30pm after being given a 21 gun salute. His father Musa and older brother Shehu, are also buried at the same cemetery.
May he Rest in Peace, and sincerest condolences to the entire Yar’Adua family for their loss.
More photos of the funeral procession can be viewed at:
On the back of his recent trip to the U.S., acting President Goodluck Jonathan was interviewed by Christine Amanpour of CNN. Interview Highlights:
1) He has not seen Yar’Adua, nor have the government ministers.
2) He has no idea about Yar’Adua’s state of health.
3) He does not know whether Yar’Adua will ever return and resume his duties.
4) His most pressing concern at the moment is electricity supply, and he has promised to hold a free and fair election next year where voters choice will actually count.
5) He refused to be drawn on whether INEC Chairman Maurice Iwu would be sacked.
6) He declined to confirm whether or not he will contest next year’s election.
7) He was also asked about General Ibrahim Babangida’s intention to contest next year’s presidential election.
The full transcript of the interview is below:
Thank you very much, indeed, for joining us on this program.
Thank you for finding time to discuss with me.
Can I ask you first what an extraordinary name. How did “Goodluck” come to be your name?
I don’t know. I have to ask my father.
Have you had good luck? And do you think you’ll need more than good luck to face down the incredible array of challenges that’s on your plate?
Well, the issue of good luck, I don’t really believe that the good luck an issue. But at the present, I’ve been facing a lot of challenges. What some people will attribute to good luck could have been disastrous under some circumstances.
Well, let me ask you this. You are now acting president, because the president, Mr. Yar’Adua, is unwell.
Have you seen him since he has come back from his medical absence in Saudi Arabia?
No, I have not seen him.
The thinking of the family is that they should isolate him from most of the key actors in government. I have not seen him. The Senate president has not seen him …and at every single government function, I have not seen him.
Doesn’t that cause anxiety amongst the people?
Yes, it does. It does. Obviously, it does, but we cannot influence his family’s thinking.
Would you prefer that the family allowed you to visit him?
Yes, of course. But I will not want to force.
What is his actual state of health? This also is a mystery.
I can’t say exactly. Only the medical doctors can.
Have they told you?
No, they haven’t.
Have they made any public statements?
Not quite. Not now. At the beginning, yes, but (Someone’s name – unclear) left for Saudi Arabia, I think in the second week or so, within the first week, we are told that acute pericarditis. After that, no other statement has been issued.
So if he can receive religious leaders, why can he not receive at least the acting president who’s acting in his name?
Well, religious leaders are there for (inaudible) blessings. Probably that is why they asked the religious leaders to go and pray for him. We are a very, very religious society.
Do you believe that those around him are trying to undermine you or your new cabinet?
I wouldn’t say they are trying to undermine me, because the laws of the land are very clear. And, of course, that is why in the first place constitution is designed for two people to be in charge of government at every time, one superior and one inferior.
Do you think he will ever come back to government?
I can’t say that. It’s difficult for any of us as mortals to say so.
So you are now acting president, and you have essentially a year, because elections will be held this time 2011.
What is your most pressing issue?
The most pressing issue for Nigerian now, in terms of basic infrastructure, is power.
You mean electricity?
Electricity. Outside that, what is central to the minds of Nigerians now is an election that their votes will count, free and fair elections because we’ve been accused of as a country that our elections somehow are questioned. And I promise Nigerians that they will surely get that and I’ve done some experiments.
The next thing that Nigerians worry about is issues of corruption. You know we’ve been accused of as people who are in a privileged position in government amassing wealth at the expense of society. So they expect us to take these two issues seriously.
So what can you do to take those issues seriously?
Obviously, the issue of good governance, of free elections, free of corruption is central, and you heard the United States has also said just now that you must remove the head of the election commission, Maurice Iwu. Will you do that?
You see, the issue of the – the electoral body – in fact, I even told the audience I addressed this morning, the issue is whether the present electoral body can conduct free and fair election or not. And I told them that, yes, they can, because I have done it with the same people.
On issue of the people at INEC, I told them that, look, between now and ending of June, most of the officials at the national level – they’re called commissioners – their tenure will end, and we’re going to review them on individual merit.
Within this period that I have been acting president, I have conducted three elections. They are conducted by INEC and it was free and fair. Only on Saturday, we conducted local council elections in the federal capital territory and all the information is that, apart from one or two that had some few discrepancies, they have been very peaceful, very credible… So that is the issue. So the issue is beyond one person.
But let me just ask you…
I’m not defending the chairman.
Do you think he will stay or will he be removed?
All of them we’ll review. And any one of them that we feel is not competent definitely…
Do you feel that Mr. Iwu is competent?
(Laughs) No, no, no, no. I know that this question continues to come up.
What I’ve said is… the issue is beyond Mr. Iwu.
I know. But I’m specifically talking about him, because it’s come up in your meetings with U.S. officials.
Yes, I agree that within the period that is (inaudible) there are quite a number of controversies. I agree. There are quite a number of concerns. There are quite a number of controversies. So I know what I’m telling you; that this very Iwu, I’m not trying to argue for him. The Iwu we are talking about has conducted free elections these past three elections that I’ve made reference to that are credible.
So the issue is beyond Iwu because we must set up an electoral system and our regulations and laws that will make sure that anybody who is appointed to that office should be able to conduct acceptable elections. And that is my focus.
OK. Will you run in 2011? Will you present yourself as a presidential candidate?
For now, I don’t want to think about it, because the circumstances that – the circumstances of the day are quite worrisome.
I came in as the vice president to run with President Yar’Adua, of course, getting close to period of election, he took ill. And I have to take over under somewhat controversial circumstances. Only last week, I reconsidered the cabinet. So let us see how Nigeria will move forward first. I had a similar experience when I was governor of my state.
I said, nobody should ask me whether I will contest election or not. I must first of all see whether the state is moving. If the country is not moving, what what will I tell Nigerians I want to contest?
The full interview will air on ‘Amanpour’ at 2000 BST on Wednesday 14th April
President Umaru Yar’Adua has returned to Nigeria after 3 months away receiving medical treatment in Saudi Arabia. Apparently Yar’Adua flew back into Nigeria on Tuesday (February 23) night on board a presidential jet, while members of a government delegation that travelled to Saudi Arabia to see him, flew back to Nigeria in a separate plane, after not being allowed to see Yar’Adua.
Reuters quoted a Saudi official at Jeddah airport as saying “”The president left at 10:22 p.m. (1922 GMT) alone in a plane and another plane carried Nigerian government envoys,” the official at Jeddah airport told Reuters. Al Jazeera has confirmed that Yar’Adua is back in Nigeria, in the capital Abuja. Reuters reported that two presidential planes landed in the presidential wing of Nigeria’s international airport in Abuja.
Return Borne Out of Fear
The timing is very telling. The political mood in Nigeria has been moving toward having Yar’Adua PERMANENTLY declared incapacitated, and the “acting” President Good luck Jonathan has been treated with some hope and optimism with many assuming that Yar’Adua was not coming back, and urging Jonathan to carry out reforms.
Things were not looking good for Yar’Adua: his cabinet ally Michael Aondoakaa was removed as Attorney-General and Justice Minister the same day that Jonathan became acting President. Then the cabinet were become increasingly insistent in demanding to know the state of Yar’Adua’s health. They went to so far as to send a delegation to Saudi Arabia with a mandate to physically see the President to ascertain his condition. Yar’Adua’s return must be viewed in this context. He and his allies are feeling the heat, and are trying to pre-empt any moves that could permanently sideline Yar’Adua from power.
However now that Yar’Adua is back, what next? Is he healthy enough to resume as President? Will Jonathan stand aside for him? Things are heating up….
Jonathan’s confirmation as VP will hopefully put an end to the controversy (at least temporarily), and will give the leadership some semblance of order and due process. While we have arrived at a PRACTICAL solution, I am not sure that the manner and circumstances in which Jonathan was appointed acting VP was LEGAL.
There are numerous mechanisms for appointing the VP to acting President including:
a) Impeachment of the President
b) TEMPORARY incapacitation of the President
c) PERMANENT incapacitation of the President
The National Assembly did not do any of the 3 things above. Yar’Adua was not impeached or declared incapacitated on a temporary or permanent basis.
The basis for Jonathan to TEMPORARILY act as the President arises ONLY IF Yar’Adua HIMSELF informs the President of the Senate (David Mark) and the Speaker of the House of Representatives (Dimeji Bankole) that he is leaving the country on vacation or is unable to perform the functions of his office. Yar’Adua did not do that as per section 145 of the constituton:
“145. Whenever the President transmits to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives a written declaration that he is proceeding on vacation or that he is otherwise unable to discharge the functions of his office, until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary such functions shall be discharged by the Vice-President as Acting President.”
For Yar’Adua to be PERMANENTLY replaced, two overlapping actions are required. Firstly, two-thirds of the Federal Executive Council must pass a resolution declaring that Yar’Adua is unfit to discharge his functions; AND
The declaration then has to be verified by a medical panel of 5 doctors (including Yar’Adua’s own doctor), confirming that the President is PERMANENTLY incapable of discharging his functions.
I suspect that this is not the end of this saga, and that we will be hearing more about it from Yar’Adua supporters. Don’t be surprised if this ends up in court.
After over two months of controversy and crisis, the Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan has finally been confirmed as acting President in the absence of sick President Yar’Adua.
My thoughts are (a) what took them so long to do this, and (b) now that wasn’t so hard was it?!
Jonathan has made a televised address to the nation to confirm his new status as acting President. You can watch video clips regarding this and read more at:
The full text of Jonathan’s speech is below:
AS we all know, our dear President, His Excellency, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, has been receiving treatment in Saudi Arabia for some time now. Naturally, his absence from the country has generated considerable interest and a heated national debate.
Today, the National Assembly passed a resolution mandating me to act as President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In following the extant provisions of the 1999 Constitution to arrive at this decision, the leadership and members of the National Assembly have shown great courage, statesmanship and patriotism. I salute them all.
In the same vein, I will like to commend all the other political actors and national leaders, particularly the former heads of state, elder statesmen, governors of the 36 States and other leaders of political groups, civil society organisations, the media, and, indeed, all Nigerians, for their valuable contributions and counsel. Our security services also deserve our special commendation for their loyalty and devotion to duty during this trying period.
The circumstances in which I find myself assuming office today as acting president of our country are uncommon, sober and reflective. More than ever, therefore, I urge all Nigerians as a people of faith in God, to pray fervently for the full recovery of our dear president and his early return.
The events of the recent past have put to the test, our collective resolve as a democratic nation. I am delighted to note that our nation has demonstrated resilience and unity of purpose. Today affords us time to reconnect with ourselves and overcome any suspicions, hurts and doubts, which had occurred. In all these, there are no winners and no losers, because by the Grace of God, we have, once again, succeeded in moving our country forward. We have all shown that our unity as a people, our love for this country, and our hope for its great future cannot be shaken.
It is now time for us to move on in a more determined manner to tackle the various challenges which we face as a nation. Our march towards Vision 20:2020 is irreversible.
Therefore, we see a need to prioritise on a few of the most critical areas which continue to plague our effort at engendering meaningful economic growth and development.
Some of these critical sectors include power, infrastructure, security, generation of employment and business opportunities for our teeming young men and women.
The Federal Government will take every step necessary to consolidate the gains of amnesty in the Niger Delta and execute the post-amnesty programme. I, therefore, appeal to all concerned to be patient, as there can be no meaningful development without peace and security.
As regards the Jos crisis, government will endeavour to sustain the peace and find a lasting solution to the recurring crisis in Plateau State. In the meantime, culprits of the heinous crimes committed in the recent incident will face the full weight of the law. I want to restate that government will not tolerate the culture of impunity that is fast becoming an unwelcome part of our socio-political life.
Our commitment to ensuring the security of lives and property in all parts of the country will also be pursued with renewed zeal. The Nigeria Police and other security services would be given new impetus to perform their duties, even while respecting the human rights of Nigerians. They are fully expected to produce corresponding results. There shall be no excuses for failure. Nigerians deserve to be fully protected at all times nationwide.
One of the cardinal commitments of this administration is our commitment to good governance, accountability and transparency. We shall continue to pursue these policy objectives with all the seriousness they deserve. In particular, the war against corruption will be prosecuted more robustly. We will, therefore, strengthen the capacity of the anti-corruption agencies and give them a free hand to prosecute the anti corruption war.
Let me, once again, commend the people of Anambra State for the successful conduct of the recent gubernatorial election. This has shown that Nigerians can conduct free, fair and credible elections. The Anambra election has, however, exposed some weaknesses in our electoral system and government is determined to plug these loopholes as we approach the next general election in 2011. I want to reassure all Nigerians and our friends around the world that our determination to ensure that the sanctity of the electoral rights of our people shall not be compromised.
Let me, on behalf of the Nigerian people, appreciate the international community for their goodwill and understanding in our efforts at national development and consolidation of our democracy. Nigeria will continue to play a deserving role in regional and global affairs.
On a personal note, I am deeply humbled and honoured by this great call to duty. I am fully aware of the responsibilities reposed in me and I want to reassure all Nigerians that this is a sacred trust, which I shall discharge to my fullest abilities.
Thank you and may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”