By Emma Ujah
Abuja — The controversial letter from ailing President Umaru Yar’Adua meant to intimate the Senate of his medical vacation might have arrived after all, but now belatedly.
Although how the letter was secured from the President could not be ascertained, a dependable source said in Abuja, yesterday, that a letter was with his aides with the intention of transmitting it to the National Assembly.
It was learnt that the controversy generated by the claims and counter claims of the Presidential Adviser on National Assembly Matters, Sen. Mohammed Abba-Aji, and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed, which was considered unwholesome for the President’s cause, created confusion in the kitchen cabinet and prevented the letter from being
Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole (left) discussing with his counterpart Cross River State Governor Liye Imoke (right) at National Assembly after Solidarity visit to Lawmakers on empowering Vice President as Acting President . Photo by Gbemiga Olamikan
By yesterday’s resolution of the National Assembly that Dr. Goodluck Jonathan become acting President, the letter will no longer be necessary as according to Senate President, David Mark, the interview of President Yar’Adua with the British Broadcasting Corporation on January 12, stood for a written transmis-sion as required by section 145 of the 1999 Constitution.
“Viewed from an ordinary reading of Section 145, we came to the conclusion that the President, through his declaration transmitted on the BBC, has furnished this parliament with irrefutable proof that he is on medical vacation in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and has therefore, complied with the provisions of Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution,” the Senate President said.
A source said the letter could feature in today’s Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting, the first to be chaired by Acting President Goodluck Jonathan which is expected to be extremely explosive given the polarised Yar’Adua cabinet.
The FEC, which has defended ailing President Yar’Adua for more than 10 weeks, lost its cohesion a week ago with the submission of the memo by Prof. Dora Akunyili, the Minister of Information and Commu-nications, calling for a debate on the President’s health.
Akunyili’s new position did not only shock some of her colleagues in the cabinet but indeed infuriated them, going by the attacks on her.
Pressures are mounting on FEC to pass a resolution, declaring President Yar’Adua incapacitated.
If that happens, the Senate would then be notified, upon which it would set up a medical panel to investigate the President’s health condition and could lead to Jonathan completing the current tenure which terminates in May 2011, if the President is impeached.