By Tom Chiahemen:

Chairman of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has blamed the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its leadership for failing to resolve the crisis posed by President Umaru Musa Ya’adua’s health even though it foresaw the problem from the beginning.

General I.B.M. Haruna, who spoke to Peoples Daily in Abuja yesterday, stated that the party should have taken the challenge of leadership by coming up with contingency plans in respect of how the matter of the President’s health would be resolved.

He also castigated the Chairman of the PDP’s Board of Trustees (BoT), Chief Olugesun Obasanjo for asking Yar’adua to take the path of honour and resign, considering that as the predecessor, he had convinced all other contestants to that office to drop their aspirations for an ailing candidate.

General Haruna, who lamented the inability of the ruling party and its leadership to determine the course of political events, said it would be unfortunate for Nigeria that was expected to lead African opinion and black civilisation to be unable to put its acts together.

He insisted that rather than ask President Yar’adua to resign, the responsibility for resolving the current crisis should be borne squarely by the PDP leaders, “because it is a matter of rule of law and political leadership.

“Regrettably, the leader of our governing party, the PDP, the former President and the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the party, has not lived up to the expectations of this leadership in so far as he openly announced that the President (Yar’adua) should take the path of honour to resign,” he said.

He regretted that much of what had so far been heard from the party does not determine how the matter should be resolved, and therefore, the whole environment and the nation has been left to  people taking a queue in an emotional and sentimental outbursts.

According to the ACF leader, the PDP had allowed the President’s health to create room for rumours, exchange of insults and heated emotions and sentiments in a matter that was purely of law.  “It’s not a matter of regional politics; it’s not a geo-political issue,” he stated.

Rather, he said it was a matter for a political party whose candidate, “under its terms and conditions won an election and the duo of President and Vice President are sole custodians of the Executive bar of the state under the overview functioning of the legislature, again the National Assembly which is still within the control of the PDP.”

He said the nation had found itself in a situation where in spite of the provisions of Sections 144, 145, 146 and even 143 of the Constitution that cater adequately for uncovering whether or not there exists a vacancy in the Presidency – whether it is the President of the Vice President, the PDP and its leadership had failed to show leadership in ordering the obedience and adherence to the rule of law.

According to General Haruna, the failure of leadership manifested in the way the National Assembly failed to act about the absence of the President from duty for months until there was a public uproar.

He commended the Acting President for exhibiting a high sense of loyalty to President Yar’adua, pointing out that another politician would have acted differently and fuelled the unnecessary dichotomies that are used to separate Nigerians.

Commenting on the concerns expressed by the United States and Britain about the current situation in Nigeria, General Haruna noted that the concerns of the two countries were different from those of Nigerians.

“Their own concerns, from my point of view, is one of self-fulfilling prophesy. They believe the black man cannot run a civilised country, nor a black, strong, dynamic nation.  They believe we should always remain subordinate and they believe that Nigeria is a failed state.

“So, knowing where they are coming from, in terms of projecting us as incompetent failures, they would everything, which they think is helpful in attaining their own objective.  They really don’t think they will be comfortable with a black, influential African nation, neither are they comfortable with dealing with an economy of a strong, populous nation, large market that can stand on its feet and make considerable contributions to the world economy.

“So I don’t really believe that they are saying there is confusion or indecision in order to promote our desire to solve the issue. Why aren’t they saying that there is a law and it should be obeyed? Why aren’t they beckoning on the leaders to abide by the morals and ethics?  Rather, they are fuelling the spanner in the works, aggravating our tension and making us perhaps more suspicious of each other,” he said.

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