Nigeria’s acting president, Mr. Goodluck Jonathan, has moved to sanction government officials who have been accused of causing acrimony and disunity in order to enrich their political standing during the power vacuum that was created by the ill-health of President Umaru Yar’Adua. Politicians allied to Mr. Yar’Adua tried to hinder the constitutional due process in the country.
According to reports, Mr. Jonathan is expected to restructure the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and remove ministers believed to be Yar’Adua’s strong loyalists. And while some ministers are reported to be willing to resign voluntarily, various interest groups have been piling pressure on the acting President to dissolve the entire cabinet.
Nonetheless, the first casualty of Mr. Goodlucks disciplinary action is former position of Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Michael Aondoakaa (SAN). He was demoted to Special Duties Minister. Other politicians like the Agricultural Minister, Alhaji Abba Ruma, and the Chief Economic Adviser to the President, Dr. Tanimu Yakubu are reported to be gripped by fear of what Mr. Jonathan may do with them.
Local reports claim that Mr. Jonathan was displeased with some of Mr. Aondoakaa’s proceedings and utterances during the absence of President Yar’Adua. As a result of the actions and statements of Mr. Yar’Adua’s allies, the tension in the political forefronts of the country, during the power vacuum, was raised to breaking point.
Analysts have suggested that Yar’Adua’s allies could very well understand that Mr. Jonathan might come after them anytime, and take some actions to discipline the group. Meanwhile, unconfirmed sources indicate that Mr. Yar’Adua’s allies have been meeting and strategizing on their next move.
While Mr. Jonathan seeks to discipline what he describes as selfish politicians, an analyst from the US-based Eurasia Group, Mr. Sebastian Spio-Garbrah has advised that crucial government decisions which had been stalled due to the long absence of Yar’Adua must be attended to by Jonathan. “With Jonathan now in charge, several pending state matters like the 2010 budget, the amnesty programme, the oil sector and electoral reforms will be given attention,” Debo Adeniran, leader of Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders,” Spio-Garbrah said.
The Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) should be passed in the coming weeks… to boost the ongoing Niger Delta peace process in the short-term and further consolidate the recent up-tick in Nigerian oil production and export. He must be ready to take decisions without considering whose ox is gored. Nigerians should be excited that after almost three months of political logjam the right thing has been done at last,” Spio-Garbrah added.
However, the health condition of Mr. Yar’Adua is still an issue of concern to public official in Nigeria. A PDP delegation led by its National Chairman, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, travelled to the Jeddah hospital in Saudi Arabia where the president is believed to be recuperating.
The PDP chairman left the country on Thursday February 11 with the Deputy National Chairman of the party, Dr. Bello Mohammed and the Deputy National Secretary, Dr. Musa Babayo to brief the President on political developments in the country.
However, a report on Vanguard newspaper claimed that four state governors – Ibrahim Shema (Katsina), Rabiu |Dakingari (Kebbi), Isa Yuguda (Bauchi) and Gabriel Suswan (Benue) who were also in Jeddah to see the president had not set eyes on him, as at Sunday afternoon.