The era of a Yar’Adua-led government is set to suffer another blow as Acting President Goodluck Jonathan makes moves to take charge of the Presidency.
Mr. Jonathan is expected to meet with key members of President Umaru Yar’Adua’s staff tomorrow, Sunday, to determine who will remain in his employment.
Inside sources told NEXT that Mr. Jonathan will be meeting with senior security and political aides, including ministers and special advisers, to the ailing president in the State House.
“The meeting is supposed to work out the final agreement and terms of settlement for disengagement,” a source disclosed while also adding that this would spell an â€˜end of game’ for Mr. Yar’Adua’s supporters. “I believe this will be the point of surrender for the remaining of the Yar’Adua supporters,” he said.
Mr. Yar’Adua’s supporters have, since his trip to Saudi Arabia last November, resisted a formal hand over to the president’s deputy while making claims of the president’s positive response to medical attention and imminent return to duty.
The ailing president, who returned to Nigeria on Wednesday after a three month-long medical vacation in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, has made no public appearance since his return. It is believed that Mr. Yar’Adua remains critically ill in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in a mobile ambulance that conveyed him from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, to the State House.
Support for Mr. Jonathan
Mr. Jonathan’s plans are coming in the wake of the seeming endorsement of the current transformations in the presidency by the international community and local interest groups.
Yesterday, the British government and their American counterpart made strong statements in support of Mr. Jonathan. It is also believed that the European Union and the Canada will also be making similar calls. Sources close to the two missions suggest that plans are afoot to make similar statements of support.
Sources in the presidency also speak of a sudden surge of visits to the State House from perceived political opponents of Mr. Jonathan. A number of the visitors are said to be from the South-South geo-political zone, including former governors from the region who may now be seeking to insert themselves into the emerging Jonathan-led government.
In search of the president
Meanwhile, the whereabouts of the president continue to be a source of concern. Mr. Yar’Adua has not been seen in public since November. As reported by NEXT yesterday, neither the Acting president nor the members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) have been allowed access to the president since his return home.
Also causing concern is the noticeable absence of the president’s personal physician, Salisu Banye. Mr. Banye is believed to be a member of the team that accompanied Mr. Yar’Adua on his medical trip to Jeddah. However, although the president’s aides and his family have since returned to the country, Mr. Banye has not been sighted.
“Even his family, who live in Andy Uba’s house here in Abuja say that they have not seen him since the president came back,” a source close to the doctor’s family said to NEXT.
At the moment, the clamour for the position of the vice-president continues. It is not clear whether any member of the first family or aides of the president, who have allegedly been lobbying for the position, will receive a nod.