Doubts trail Yar'Adua's health recovery report

2010-04-23
THE SUN Newspaper


Notable Nigerians on Thursday treated with skepticism the reported improvement in the health condition of ailing President Umaru Yar’Adua.

Daily Sun had reported in its Thursday edition that Yar’Adua’s health condition has improved and that he came down to his study room in the Presidential Villa and met his mum as well as other close relations.
However, notable Nigerian, including politicians and lawyers, in their reaction pointedly said they were not convinced that the president had recovered that much because that was not the first time they were being told that the President’s health condition was improving.

In his reaction, former Minister of Information, Prince Tony Momoh, described the whole saga as diversionary aimed at destroying the administration of Acting President Goodluck Jonathan.
Speaking to Daily Sun, the Yerima of Auchi Kingdom who condemned the unhealthy politics surrounding the recovery of the ailing President said he was not interested in such politics.
“You see, how many times did they tell us…? They have told us that the man was going to attend council meeting, he didn’t; they told us the man was going to the mosque and he didn’t; they told us the man was going round the garden of Aso Rock, he didn’t; they told us that priests and others went to meet them and then, nobody was allowed to say anything. Why have they not asked journalists and lawyers to come and see the man?

“And in any case, if Yar’Adua comes today and then he runs all over the place, he cannot resume work until he writes to the Senate that he is back and fit and proper to work. Everything that happened is in the constitution, not provision. He cannot just show up and say he wants to go to work. That is not the issue. There is a procedure for returning to work.

“And even the papers, you are the ones they have been using to divert attention. Why is it that it is the day they want to sign the budget, that you people are saying the man is coming? When they want to swear in people, you say the man is coming. When they want to dissolve the council, they say the man is coming. Then let the man come. He is the president, if he comes and he is fit to resume work, he will resume work. And Jonathan is not struggling for power. We have work to do and let us continue doing the work. When the man is fit to start work, he should come out and then show that he is fit and proper to start work and he starts work.

“This man is recuperating. Let him recuperate and if he is well enough, he can come and do his work. Not someone who is for one reason or the other, being tuned up to meet people. Let him broadcast to us! Let him broadcast to the nation. They are playing politics with the health of the Head of State. Nobody should do that.”
Also toeing the same line, former Governor of Kaduna State and Chairman of Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), Alhaji Balarabe Musa, said the group was not impressed by the report.
He explained that they could only believe President Yar’Adua had recovered only when he became visible or when he chaired the meeting of the Executive Council of the Federation (EXCOF).
“For now, I will regard the report as one of the runours we have been used to. When I see him at the EXCOF meeting, that is when I will believe he is there on duty and has capacity to function, all the reports about his recovery is false.
“We heard a lot of rumours in the past, whatever they say about him now is immaterial, all we want is for him to appear, we are waiting for him,” Alhaji Musa stated.

In his reaction, the Chairman of All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Chief Edwin Ume-Ezeoke said his party had been praying for the successful recovery of President Yar’Adua and “if he actually recovers, then we will all thank God for his mercies and join him to celebrate, but this is not how we will know that he has recovered.”
Chief Ume-Ezeoke maintained that President Yar’Adua would have to show himself on the television for all Nigerians to see him not just the report in the newspaper.

In his own reaction, the National Deputy Chairman of the ANPP, Alhaji Musa Yussuf said the report must be another April fool joke because all those who purportedly saw him of recent said his condition was very critical.
“I don’t want to comment on speculation, but then if the report is true the recovery must be a miracle. But we will wait to see him on duty before we jubilate. Thank you,” he said.
Senator Joseph Waku who spoke with Daily Sun in Abuja on the news about the ailing President’s alleged significant improvement in his health status said, “It is good news that the President has recovered significantly. It’s good news that we want it to be translated into reality so that Nigerians will rebuild confidence in the midst of rumours that have been spreading. Nobody has wished any leader of his country or a friend not to recover from illness he or she is going though.

So, if he is recovering from his illness it is good news. We are waiting until we hear him broadcast, thanking Nigerians for their prayers and support all this while.
“I don’t want to subscribe to the opinion that his aides and supporters are playing tricks around his health for any reason. The issue is that he is sick and if he has recovered it’s a good thing,” the former Senator said.
Also, Barrister Maxi Okwu, National Chairman and former presidential standard bearer of Accord Party in the 2007 general elections argued, “Nigerians are tired of hearing rumours about President Yar’Adua’s ailment and his recovery. We want to see him physically either at a press conference or on television. Let the President speak to us, we elected him and as well praying for his recovery.

It was mum yesterday at the National Assembly as both pro and anti-Goodluck Jonathan forces refused to comment on the news of the recovery of the ailing President.
Members of the National Interest Group (NIG) in the Senate contacted over the matter said they were not willing to talk formally on the matter they considered as mere rumour, except if they saw the ailing President Yar’Adua physically.
However, a member of the NIG who pleaded anonymity told Daily Sun that based on information available to them, the ailing President was not in a position to take a walk let alone go into his study.
According to the Senator; “How do you expect someone with common malaria fever to be able to go to his study for about three hours, talk less of someone that was on admission for about three months over very serious ailment. Does it make sense to you?

“Secondly, in the part of the country President Yar’Adua hails from, there is no way he can go to embrace his mother because that is not part of his very conservative and respected culture that is well respected and protected by the people. Have you ever seen him anywhere hugging his wife? Enough of the game because Nigeria is greater than anyone,” the NIG senator said.
He explained that it must be understood that the resolution passed by the two chambers of the National Assembly did not in any way state that President Yar’Adua had ceased to be President but that whenever he returned and was fit to resume duties, he should communicate the Federal legislature that he was ready to resume duties.

Telephone calls put across to some pro-Yar’Adua senators, particularly those from Katsina State did not yield any fruitful result as call put across to Senator Ibrahim Idah (PDP Katsina) was answered by his special assistant who told Daily Sun that his boss was not nearby to respond to the call directly, just as Senator Garba Yakubu Lado failed to pick his calls while telephone numbers of Senator Kanti Bello were switched off.
Also notable legal practitioners, while reacting to the report, expressed doubt while highlighting the legal impediments on his way if indeed the report was true.
Emeka Ngige (SAN) expressed doubt that the President was fit and proper to assume responsibility of governing the nation.

“It was all attempt at causing confusion and upheaval in the land which was informed by lack of patriotism among leaders. He must first of all inform the National Assembly in writing and they must be satisfied and convinced before they can revert power back to him. It is not an automatic thing.
“In any case, the man, if he is recovering, should just quietly go and look after his health very well,” he said.
According to notable lawyer, Fred Agbaje, “Yar’Adua should clear the constitutional hurdles on his path to return to power by informing the National Assembly, in writing, of his fitness.

“Ordinarily, having abandoned the country for several months, he ought to have been impeached on account of that serious impeachable constitutional breache he has committed. If it were in the civil service, he would have been deemed permanently ineligible to work again. So, he has no business in governance anymore. They should stop this gimmick aimed at rocking the boat of the nation. The man should be allowed to look after his health without undue politicisation,” he said.
Rights activist, Bamidele Aturu described the report as a hoax, saying that the ailing President must come out in a way that suggested he was indeed okay.

 

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