Reports that Nigeria ailing president was on 24 Feb., smuggled into Nigeria at small hours without acting President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan being aware are disgusting. To add salt to injuries it’s said Jonathan did not even authorize the army to line up Abuja streets at the time his boss was secretly arrived. What’s more, the media in Nigeria was caught off guard thanks to the news of Yar’Adua arrival being broken by Al-Jazeera Television. It is said that even presidential press did not notify anybody about this event!

If this is true, there is a very big problem that needs urgent arrest of the same. What’s more, this is the typical replica of what is going on in many African countries whereby a kit and caboodle of power brokers surrounding big men can abuse the constitution by hijacking the president without being dealt with. If Jonathan was not aware off all happenings-cum-goings-on or being informed then who is screwing Nigeria? There are many more questions that beg answers. What is the root of this unconstitutionality in the first place? Who ordered the army to line up Abuja streets other than the Commander in Chief who in this case is Jonathan?

The first suspect in this power abuse and usurpation is none other than the first lady Turai, who barred Jonathan even from having audience with his boss, not to mention Yar’Adua relatives as per the media. Yar’Adua mother Hajj Dada was recently quoted praying that her son be allowed to go back to Katsina so that they can pray for his recovery. The pretext Turai offers is that doctors told her not to allow anyone to see the president! What rubbish! Ensconced amidst power brokers from Katsina the home of Yar’Adua, Turai is doing whatever she can to get away with it, shall the president die anytime. This has created much jumble in Nigeria.

For the people do not know what is going especially with regards to the condition of their president. Rumours are rife that Yar’Adua is in bad shape and therefore, anything can happen anytime. Turai and Co. are embarking on these abracadabras all aiming at creating conducive environment for power to change hand. Some refer to Turai as Nigeria’s Imelda Marcos after the influential wife of former Filipino strongman Ferdinand Marcos, who ruled for more than two decades before being driven from power by protests in 1986.

I once wrote on how the first lady and whiz kids surrounding African big men are tearing down our continent. They’ve become presidents and what not behind the curtain. In Kenya, the first lady was able to attack the media and beat journalists up without being punished for the abuse of the power of her husband! In other African countries first ladies are seen in public acting as if they have constitutional backing to act like rulers. In Uganda president’s clan-cum-family use the country just like their privy firm and nothing is done to arrest this anomaly! They are everywhere doing everything that can make money. All lucrative tenders and the like are under the control of their netherworld. Like the strongman himself they’re above the law.

That’s why Museveni’s Brother Caleb Akandwanao aka Saleh Salim has nary been charged for sabotage and corruption. The situation is even gross in Algeria, Congo, DRC, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Libya, Gambia, Rwanda, Togo, Tunisia and Zimbabwe to mention but a few of countries where a family-crony axis of evil lords it over people.

Though it is scandalous and ridiculous, news that Yar’Adua wife glutted the acting president from seeing his boss without the fear of the institution of presidency is a blow to Nigeria. There is a saying in US when a winning presidential candidate is declared president. They say: “This is not a normal human being but the president of the United States.” This means that the president-elect ceases to be a family matter but a national one. In principle the president is supposed to be above petty things like family, tribe, religion, region and what not. As we ponder on Yar’Adua’s scenario-cum-fiasco, his wife has grossly erred to hijack the president of the people that voted him their leader. This crime borders treason shall laws be applied to the same.

We all know that Yar’Adua is bedridden, therefore incapacitated despite all the barbarity and lies surrounding his plight. That is why he’s nary been seen in public since November last year. That’s why his homecoming was secretive and controversial. Yar’Adua needs help of being freed from dirty hands of greedy hyenas using his wife who cannot become president under whatever circumstance. Despite riding roughshod over Nigerians for a while, Jonathan is still in charge despite Yar’Adua presence in Nigeria and all machinations and flaws surrounding him. Were I Jonathan, under the power vested in me under Nigerian constitution, I’d order the release of the information about the president’s bill of health come what may. This would help to stop anxiety and confusion about the president. And it’d stop the machinations carried out by Mafioso surrounding the president.

Legally speaking, Nigerians have the right to see and hear their president. For, they’re the ones that voted him their president. Mrs Yar’Adua needs to understand. If she does not get it, she must be brought to book. What she is doing is dangerous for democracy. Shameful as it is, what’s going on in Nigeria is a big lesson for Africa that we need to lop powers from first ladies and cronies defecate on behind the curtains. Even Prince Philip despite being the consort of the Queen, can nary barricade Britons from seeing their monarch simply because they share one bed. Turai’s mischievous stance has offended Nigerians.

Information minister Dora Akunyili was recently quoted as thus: “I believe that it is people around him that were gaining from the confusion, people around him that are doing to him today what 100 million political enemies cannot do to him. The cabal wants to continue with their usual statement of ‘the president said,’ and you must comply. They want to continue dishing out instructions even when the president did not say so,” the minister said. She warned: “This cabal should, please, stop heating up the system and allow President Yar’Adua to recover.” This statement shows how desperate and frustrated Nigerians are. The whole minister does not know anything about the health of her boss simply because his wife and the cabal do not like!

Paroxysms emanating from Yar’Adua affair do not end up in Nigeria. The US has already warned saying that Jonathan must be left alone to rule till the president is declared fit to rule. Nigerians are wary and balked. Professor Itse Sagay one of Nigeria’s political pundits was recently quoted as thus: “In the absence of that, being brought back in an ambulance and then taken by an ambulance, somewhere without being seen, simple is a token that his condition is still very bad, rather than the other way round.” And, so, this cannot make any difference to the institution of an acting presidency.

The big lesson we get from Nigeria is we should start thinking about how to curb president’s wives, cronies and other hyena-like power brokers behind the president or first lady. Importantly, Yar’Adua needs to be freed from the first lady and her inner sanctum bêtes noix.

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian living in Canada. He writes regularly for “The African Executive” and also has a blog entitled “Free Thinking Unabii”. He is a regular contributor to AfroSpear.

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