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Yar'Adua Returns Wednesday

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Yar'Adua Returns Wednesday

Post  Admin on Sun Aug 31, 2008 8:46 pm

*President Is Well - FG *Stop Misleading Nigerians, Afenifere, AC Tell Aso Rock

President Umaru Yar'Adua is expected to return to the country on Wednesday, contrary to speculation that his ill health had taken a dive for the worse in Saudi Arabia over the weekend.

A family source informed Daily Independent on Sunday night that the President, who was scheduled to return today, will now leave Saudi Arabia on Tuesday night and arrive Nigeria on Wednesday. No reason was given for the rescheduling. Speculation on his health had gone haywire on Sunday, with fears that it had gone worse, even as the government insisted the man is alive, and well, and would soon return. Anxious Nigerians, at home and abroad, made frantic telephone calls throughout the day to ascertain his health condition, which has become a subject of rumour since news broke last week that he suddenly took ill in Saudi Arabia.

The official position of Aso Rock is that Yar'Adua travelled to Saudi Arabia for the lesser Hajj, the Umrah. Reports are rife, however, that he is in hospital in that country, and may have even undergone surgery. Investigation by Daily Independent revealed that though the President was admitted in a hospital last Thursday he was discharged on Saturday. It was also gathered that in a bid to quell the rumour Yar'Adua spoke with the Vice President, Goodluck Jonathan, and some Ministers on Sunday. A serving Governor from the North was also with him on Sunday in his hotel room after his discharge from the hospital.

It was after his telephone conversation with Jonathan that the Vice President authorised the statement issued by the Information and Communications Minister, John Odey. Our source also insisted that the President did not undergo surgery. "If he had undergone any surgery it would take nothing less than three weeks for him to leave the hospital. The fact that he was discharged two days after admission is an indication that there was no surgery," the source explained. But he was mum on the nature of Yar'Adua's illness, insisting that only his doctors can speak on that. When Daily Indpednent called the German Hospital in Saudi Arabia on Sunday, a man also confirmed that Yar'Adua "is no longer here," meaning that he has been discharged. He did not provide details.

However, the statement issued by Odey did not admit that Yar'Adua has been hospitalised. Rather, he insisted that "(Yar'Adua) is in good health to steer the affairs of the state to bring about better livelihood for the generality of the people of Nigeria. He is expected back in Nigeria soon after his trip to Saudi Arabia where he has gone for the lesser Hajj."

Odey expressed the government's appreciation for "the concern that has been raised in the newspapers and some sections of the media over the past few days on the state of health of Mr. President (but) we urge all Nigerians to continue to support this administration to fully realise the development goals of the country." Afenifere and the Action Congress (AC) came down hard on the government for "deliberate misinformation."

Afenifere Spokesman, Yinka Odumakin, said it is disgusting to see Aso Rock "misinforming Nigerians about the true state of the President's health, giving rise to different interpretations. It is unfortunate that Presidency officials did not trust us enough to let us know the true state of his health. "There have been different versions about his whereabouts. The official position up till now is that he is in Saudi Arabia observing the Umrah. We're being misinformed. "It is in the interest of Nigeria for these officials to tell us the truth, otherwise people will be trading on rumour on this matter.

"If (Yar'Adua) is in a bad state of health we should be told, we deserve to know; it is our right to know, so that Nigerians can care and pray for him. But a situation where (Odey) keeps dishing out lies will not help us." Odumakin said the country has remained without a a head, which could run it aground. "If he is indisposed as it is human, there are Constitutional provisions for his Vice to act while he recovers. It is important for us to know the truth so that the country can function well."

AC National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, noted that "what should have earned (Yar'Adua) the sympathy and prayers of his country men and women has again become a matter for wild speculation, no thanks to an inept information machinery. The state of (his) health is an important issue. It should neither be politicised nor trivialised. "We recall that while in office, former military President, Ibrahim Babangida, told Nigerians when he was going abroad for radiculopathy treatment. Much more is expected from an elected President.

"As the President, Yar'Adua is the father of the nation. The health of the father cannot be kept as a secret from his children. It is as simple as that. That is why we are very worried that the (government) could stoop so low as to engage in cheap lies over (his) health. "Don't they know that the world has become a global 'glass' village where nothing is hidden? If the (government's) statement was made out of ignorance or lack of information on the President's health, it is bad enough! If it was made to deceive the public, it is even worse."

Mohammed prayed for the full recovery of Yar'Adua, and for God to grant him good health to enable him steer the ship of state in the right direction.


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