By Taiwo Adisa and Okey Muogbo:
THERE was a lull in the activities of government on Thursday, as loyalists of President Umaru Yar’Adua continued to plot their way to relevance in the wake of the alleged return of the ailing leader, who has not been seen by anyone.
There were indications on Thursday that the ailing president has remained in the ambulance that brought him from the airport.
Sources said there had not been any sign of the ailing president in the Villa, adding that the close aides of the president and his wife, Hajia Turai, had barred Acting President Jonathan from seeing him in his current state.
It was gathered that the ailing president was wrapped in some plain white apparel, apparently in line with the dictates of his doctors and kept in the gadget kept in the Ford ambulance.
The ambulance, according to sources, was being kept in an unusual part of the Villa.
A generating set is also said to have been connected to the gadget inside the ambulance.
It was gathered that the acting president had made three attempts to see the ailing president, all to no avail.
Sources said the acting president made another attempt to see the president before 9.00 a.m on Thursday.
Sources said Turai and members of the kitchen cabinet were unhappy that the plan to turn Jonathan into a surrogate president had failed and that the acting president equally escaped the plot by some elements to cause confusion at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting of Wednesday.
Sources also said the acting president did not meet with Hajia Turai on Wednesday night as announced by the Minister of Information and Communications, Professor Dora Akunyili.
It was gathered that Akunyili had misfired when she addressed the media on Wednesday that Jonathan was going to see Turai.
Akunyili was said to have drawn the ire of the acting president for allowing the media to misinterpret the situation, when the media came up with reports indicating that he was going to take orders from her.
It was also gathered that Akunyili narrowly missed being completely locked out of the meeting between the ministers and the acting president on Wednesday.
A source said the minister came to the meeting two minutes late and the doors were already locked but she pleaded with the Chief Security Officer (CSO) to the acting president who later opened the door for her.
While members of the kitchen cabinet continued to suspect the intentions of the acting president, it was gathered that Western powers had continued to give support to the acting president.
Besides the statement issued by the United States (US) government on Wednesday, it had also sent words to the acting president, insisting that he must preserve Nigeria’s democracy.
The support of the US was also backed by that of the United Kingdom (UK), the European Union (EU) and former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The US, UK and EU were said to have insisted on democracy in Nigeria. They were said to have made repeated calls to the acting president, insisting that the Western powers were out to ensure the sustenance of Nigerian democracy.
Sources also said in Abuja, on Thursday, that there was concern over reports of troops deployment in Kaduna. The report is coming on the heels of uncertainty over the deployment of 300 soldiers who welcomed ailing President Yar’Adua early on Wednesday.
Sources said some military sources believed that some soldiers could be heading to Abuja, but there was no official confirmation on Thursday.
But sources also said loyalists of the ailing president had tinkered with the option of moving for the impeachment of the acting president for allegedly refusing to be used as surrogate president.
It was gathered that a meeting of the kitchen cabinet, on Wednesday, discussed the idea of impeachment but they got stuck when they realised that the president was actually unfit for now.
A source said those who talked about the impeachment had planned that a sum of N500 million could be made available for that purpose but the option became unattractive when it was realised that there had to be a person that would act as president if Jonathan was impeached since Yar’Adua was unfit to act for now.
Amid the confusion that was being orchestrated by members of the kitchen cabinet, it was gathered that the leadership of the Senate had decided to tinker with options for the way out.
Sources in the National Assembly said the leadership of the Senate had contemplated three options that could lead to the way out.
The options, according to sources, include the transmission of a letter from President Yar’Adua that he had returned to work, in compliance with Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution and the motion passed by the lawmakers; the invocation of Section 144 by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and the third being an impeachment process by the National Assembly.
Turai shuns meeting with Jonathan
The widely published meeting between Acting President Jonathan and Hajia Turai Yar’Adua did not hold, as Turai was said to have shunned the meeting.
However, the office of the acting president, on Thursday, said the meeting was not official, adding that what Jonathan said was that he would go and greet the Yar’Adua family.
The statement from the acting president, signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media/Publicity, Mr Ima Niboro, said “this is to clarify the comments made by the acting president, Dr Jonathan, when he met with members of the FEC on Wednesday over the return of Yar’Adua.
“The acting president intended to meet with Hajia Turai to say hello to the family.”
However, it was gathered that the meeting was called off when Turai allegedly declined to come downstairs for the meeting.
A source in the presidency said when aides of the acting president went to Yar’Adua’s house to arrange for the visit of Jonathan, around 7.00 p.m., they were told that Turai had gone upstairs and would not come down again.
According to the source, it was on that basis the meeting was called off.
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