Yar’Adua’s Ill Health: A National Disquiet


Each time, he travels out of the country for medical check-up, rumour mongers and power mongers, who wish the president dead, take advantage of his absence and condition to informally announce his obituary even while the man remains alive.

Since his assumption of office in 2007, the fragile health condition of Nigerian President, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua has remained one controversial issue.

During the presidential campaign, two years ago, many poetical observers expressed doubt over Yar’Adua’s ability to stand the stress of nation-wide campaigns due to his health condition.

Surprisingly however, Yar’Adua was not only able to successfully conclude the tedious campaigns but had till then carried on successfully his official duties in spite of his not-too-good health condition.

Each time, he travels out of the country for medical check-up, rumour mongers and power mongers, who wish the president dead, take advantage of his absence and condition to informally announce his obituary even while the man remains alive. And the rumour which spreads like wild fire raises a lot of anxiety across the breadth and length of the country. Whatever makes some people to wish the president dead is what baffles many concerned Nigerians.

It was therefore not surprising when two weeks ago, the president travelled to Saudi Arabia to attend to his health condition which official source says has become more critical, the rumour again rented the air.

While rumour mongers concluded and announced that Yar’Adua was already dead and his corps would be flown back into the country any moment, the power mongers initiated some moves to cause confusion based on their ill-feelings.

The leader of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) in South-South, Alhaji Musa Saidu who spoke to The Tide on Sunday on the issue linked the rumour to some enemies of the administration of President Yar’Adua.

“Those behind the false rumour are few disgruntled elements in the country who are not comfortable wit the good administration of Yar’Adua”, he said.

According to the ACF leader, the wicked and mischievous persons feel that their opportunities of carrying out all manner of fraud against the country has been blocked by the zero tolerance of the administration to corruption hence, they want the man out of the seat by all means so that they would resume their fraudulent activities.

Alhaji Saidu further pointed accusing fingers on some persons in Yar’Adua’s government who are desperate to occupy the seat or have their stooges to take over so that it would be business as usual for them.

After all we are all sick as human beings including you and me. For somebody to go for a medical check-up either within or outside the country is a common thing. So I wonder why any reasonable Nigerian who wishes the country well would wish the number one citizen death at all cost to the extent of announcing his obituary when he is still alive.

The Arewa leader urged Nigerians as good Christians and Muslims to rather pray for the president to recover and return back to his office to continue his good administration.

In spite of the evil feelings by some Nigerians against the president, majority of Nigerians have initiated prayer and fasting programmes for the president.

Leader of Niger Delta Youth Coalition, Prince Emmanuel Ogba announced that his organisation embarked on such prayer programme. The fasting and prayer which was a three-day event according to him was extended to one week and he enjoined Nigerian youths both in the country and in dispora to pray fervently for President Yar’Adua.

He condemned the few Nigerians who wish to take advantage of the president’s ill health for politics as evil and wicked minded persons stressing that the youths of the nation have taken note of them, adding that such evil men would be watched to ensure that do not get any responsible position in the country because they have exposed their wickedness.

Prince Ogba equally called on Nigerians to disregard such rumours since the issue of life and death is in the hands of God and death awaits all living beings and to join in praying for the president.

Apart from the youth body, National Working Committee of the ruling PDP and other Christian and Muslim groups across the nation are observing prayers for the speedy recovery of President Yar’Adua.

The former Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chief Tony Anenih reacting to the development, called on Nigerians for their unflinching support through prayers for the recovery of the president from his illness.

In a statement titled “prayer is a better option for President Yar’Adua the PDP big wig said, “I have observed with mixed feelings the various comments, some positive and others negative, concerning the health challenges facing President Umaru Yar’Adua.

In an official reaction from the presidency concerning Mr. Presidents ill health and the false rumours of his death, the Presidency on 20th of November announced that Yar’Adua is suffering from acute inflammation of the Pericardium and that he has to travel to Saudi Arabia for check-up.

The Presidency called for a flow of empathy which would provoke series of prayers for him.

Painfully, what emanated from some quarters, individuals and groups have been undue politicisation of Mr. President’s health condition, rumour-mongering, insensitivity, derision and ungodly wishes.

The All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) expressed concern over the health of President Yar’Adua and advised Nigerians not to politicise the illness in the interest of the nation.

Emma Eneukwu, National Publicity Secretary of the party urged Nigerians to be cautious as the President’s health is crucial to the proper functioning of the government.

Continuing, Mr. Eneukwu said, making the illness a subject of political debate would not be in the interest of the nation.

However, on its own reaction, Action Congress Party (AC) blamed the presidency for what it described as mismanagement of information on the health of the president.

The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Alhaji Layiwola Mohammed told reporters that Nigerians deserved to know the update on the health of the president daily, to dispel the rumour.

Calls from some quarters and individuals for the resignation of President Yar’Adua based on the fact that he cannot carry on as the president because of his ill health was rebuffed by the Federal Executive Council.

They claim that the president is too ill to continue in office and want FEC to invoke Section 144 of the 1999 Constitution for the Senate to investigate Yar’Adua’s health and declare his seat vacant.

But members of the Federal Executive Council declared that there is no basis for the invocation of provisions of Section 114 as the president has not been found incapable of discharging his functions.

“Council, having reviewed all the facts on ground unanimously resolved that there is no basis for invocation of provisions of section 144 of the constitution for the reasons that the president has not been found incapable of discharging his functions”, said FEC.

The council assured Nigerians that all organs of government are functioning and that government will continue to deliver.

Secretary to the Federal Government, Ahmed Yayale stated that ‘this government is indeed working and in good shape.  He explained that since the departure of the president to Saudi Arabia for medical check-up, the council has met twice and the Vice President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, according to the constitution remains the Chairman of the Council in the absence of Mr. President.

Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) was among the groups that called for resignation of Mr. President arguing that his health condition no longer allows him to perform his duties.

NBA therefore declared their stand stressing that for the country and the present administration to go on smoothly, there was urgent need for Yar’Adua to resign and attend to his personal health problems instead of compounding things with activities of his busy office.

Hardly had the brouhaha died down that some mischievous other elements started mounting pressure on Vice President, Goodluck Jonathan to resign from office.

The calculation, according to a top politician in Rivers State was that in the absence of president Yar’Adua, the reigns of power would be on the vice and that the northerners strongly feel that the President’s position was for them and would not allow Jonathan occupy it since he is not a northerner.

This call for the resignation of the VP by some northern elements who are desperate for power provoked strong reactions from the Southern part of Nigeria and majority of well-meaning northerners.

Several bodies particularly from the Southern Nigeria said the call on Jonathan to resign would spell doom for one Nigeria as it contradicts a section of the constitution.

Niger Delta Youth Forum (NDYF) condemned the call for V.P’s resignation. A statement from the body and signed by General Secretary Tunder Oladipo-George, Assistant Mobilisation Officer, Dangolo Asuevi and Assistant PRO, Amos Ofiesefate Benneth said “There have been reports that Vice President was under pressure to resign in the aftermath of uncertainties regarding President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s health.

“Some Northern hawks were alleged to be behind the move, aimed at paving way for the emergence of another Northern president to complete the region’s slot for an eight-year tenure under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) zoning arrangement”, the statement said.

The group expressed its confidence in Jonathan’s capability to effectively rule Nigeria and achieve the lofty goals of making it one of the leading nations in the world.


Chris Oluoh