1. President of Nigeria has been away in Saudi Arabia for medical treatment since 11/23/09.
A new twist has been added to President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s absence-from-the-country saga, as an opposition member of the House of Representatives – Farouk Adamu Aliyu - and one Sani Garun Gabass have approached an Abuja Federal High Court seeking an order directing Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan to start performing the function of the president. Also yesterday, Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Michael Aondoakaa (SAN) denied that he wrote to the vice-president, asking him to take over from President Yar’Adua who has been admitted in a Saudi Arabian hospital since November 23, 2009. Aondoakaa said he was not in a position to direct the vice-president to take over.
2. Nigeria faces government collapse as a result
President Yar'''Adua was flown out of Nigeria on 23 November, 2009 to King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Saudi Arabia where he has since been receiving medical attention for acute pericarditis'' (inflammation of the heart'''s lining). He jetted out of the country without informing both the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives about his inability to discharge the functions of his office and has spent more than one month outside the country. During his absence, a number of state duties having to do with release of monies for the running of government machineries which the 1999 constitution directly empowers him to do are suffering while in less than one week from today, the nation'''s Chief Justice, Justice Kutigi would bow out of the bench with no one to swear in his successor, Justice Katsina Iyorger Alu.
3. Corrupt aides running the show while the president remains in Saudi Arabia
It does not include those who are sufficiently worried about the president’s achievement or lack of it in almost three years in office. Those who do not wish Yar’Adua well, like the insects that destroy the kola nut, live within. They are some of his aides and advisers and ministers and political associates who have little or no clue about his present condition and yet lie to the nation on how well he’s recovering.
...What the nation is told after every cabinet meeting is that the president is responding to treatment or the president will soon return home or only his doctors can determine when he would return or such other sweeping generalization that says nothing and means nothing. There have been no specifics, no facts, nothing to hold on to as to his state and condition on a daily basis. This has created room for all kinds of media speculations and widespread rumours that are neither dignifying to the person and office of the president nor healthy for the nation. Indeed the handling of Yar’Adua’s illness has made Nigeria a laughing stock around the world.
4. Important decisions languish while the president remains in Saudi Arabia
Some of the International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in the country, particularly Shell and Chevron, which mining and exploration licenses have expired are said to be in a quandary as their mining leases cannot be renewed because of the absence of the President.
Again, the National Assembly is in the process of passing the Petroleum Industry Bill, a critical legislation that would open up the oil sector and ensure the equity participation of the oil producing communities in Nigeria. It is a single bill that contains all the legal requirements that will apply to the entire petroleum industry in Nigeria.
If this bill is passed tomorrow, it cannot become law because the assent of the President is required. And the Vice President cannot give such assent in the present circumstance.
Even militants in the oil-rich Niger Delta, whom Mr. Yar'Adua brought into peace talks only weeks ago, now worry they have no "good faith partner" to negotiate an end to attacks that have cut into Nigeria's oil-dependent economy.
An oil industry source disclosed that Yar'Adua's absence had become an important issue for oil and gas investors, especially as the multinational petroleum operators have not renewed their OMLs, which are due for renewal very soon. The situation, it was gathered, was particularly delicate for the foreign oil firms, which have been locked in negotiations over their expiring licenses and the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), now before the National Assembly. An official of one of the companies, who craved anonymity, stated that they may follow the example of ExxonMobil Corporation, which successfully signed a 20-year extension on three oil licenses in November, this year.