YAR'ADUA AND THE CONTINUING HEALTH ISSUE

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Nigerian newspapers and international news agencies are reporting that President Yar'Adua is sick and currently in hospital in Saudi Arabia. Yar'Adua left to participate in the lesser Hajj in Saudi Arabia right after firing the Chief of Defense Staff, the head of the Army and Navy, last week. The President;s health situation has resulted in the indefinite postponement of a state visit to Brazil which was to occur on Thursday, August 28th.

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/44453000/jpg/_44453302_president_afp_body203.jpg

A HISTORY OF HEALTH ISSUES
Even before he became President, Yar'Adua's health was a mystery. Nigerians were informed that he had a 'kidney condition' but were, unfortunately, never given any specifics. At one point, I even got information from a reliable source that he had died in March 2007. As President, Yar'Adua was in Germany for medical care as recently as April this year. When asked about his health and fitness to be President this year, he famously told the Financial Times,
"...I am not a super-human being; I don’t know one yet, but certainly I’m not one. I am a normal human being who can fall sick, recover, who can die, ... and who is fit enough to be president."
THE ISSUES REMAIN
As a Nigerian, I am obviously concerned about the welfare of Yar'Adua and hope that whatever ails him can be cured and/or managed, so he can return to his Presidential duties and his family duties. That being said, the frequent visits to foreign hospitals for medical care only serve to heighten and fuel the concerns and rumors about Yar'Adua's health. It is only fair to wonder how Nigeria can develop when its leader is so often away from the helm? Last year, I asked,
"[a]ssuming that Yar'Adua becomes president and is in 'frail' or difficult health, how will he adequately address the cumbersome issues Nigeria faces?
Nigerians need the security of knowing that it has a leader that is capable of dealing with the complexities of the nation. For Yar'Adua's health to continue to be such a prominent concern even after a year in Aso Rock, does little to assure the people and the world whose eyes are on Nigeria for a variety of reasons. Are the people to assume that if, for any reason, the President was incapable of fulfilling his duties, the nation would be in 'good hands' under Vice President Goodluck Jonathan? The thought of that is far from comforting given the corruption scandal involving Jonathan's wife which have died down now that her husband is the Vice President. Specifically, in 2006, $13.5 million was seized from Patience Jonathan in a now stalled EFCC investigation.

Then, there is always the military factor. One cannot discuss power in Nigeria without factoring in the military due to the many military dictatorships in the country's not too distant past. With military disctators controlling the country, the military became powerful and enjoyed the nation's oil wealth, using that wealth to its advantage. Nigeria's military is therefore a significant part of the Nigerian power structure and the possibility of a coup can never be too far from the mind. Consequently, Yar'Adua's health might help explain the military reshuffling that just occured less than a week ago. Although every President has the right to replace military heads, one cannot help but question whether the reality of an oncoming trip for medical care forced Yar'Adua to do away with those powerful enough to seize the reigns of power in a coup. If that is the case, what does that say about the perception of Yar'Adua by not just the military but the population at large?

WHAT WILL HAPPEN NOW?
If there is one thing that I am sure of, it is that no matter what happens, Nigerians will keep on doing what they always do. They will adapt to constantly changing circumstances and overwhelmingly survive. Some, like the wonderful writers at the Nigerian Health Watch, will even use this recent trip to remind us all about the dire need for adequate health care and basic necessities in Nigeria. Personally, I just want all to end well for Yar'Adua, for Nigerians and for Nigeria.



Further Reading:
- Wanted Dead Or Alive
- Rest In Peace
- "We Need Fresh Blood Haba!!!! Bones Are Weak!!!"
- The Consequences of Ya'Adua's Mysterious Health

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14 Curiosities. Add Yours.:

Afrobabe said...

I guess if he dies the vice president takes over...by the way who is he?

Jinta said...

the man is unwell, that much is obvious.

jonathan? dont get me started about him or patience.

i doubt we will have another coup unless the rigging and insensitivity of politicians got really bad. the appetite for coups have diminished

SOLOMONSYDELLE said...

@ Afrobabe: I sincerely hope nothing of the sort happens to Yar'Adua. The current VP is Goodluck Jonathan. But, given the corruption scandal involving his family, I'm not too sure if having him as President would be the best thing.

And, now, the Federal Government is announcing that Yar'Adua is okay and that his delayed return from Saudi Arabia is not unusual. I wonder if they think it is smart to lie or if they truly believe that Nigerians are stupid enough to believe the propaganda, especially in light of the fact that Yardy was unable to make his official visit to Brazil today.

Thanks for stopping by Nigerian Curiosity. We don't ever see you over here, so do come back.

@ Jinta: "the appetite for coups have diminished"

I want o believe this, but with Nigeria, I have learned to expect everything and especially the impossible. That being said, the new Army head has informed the nation that the Army will not undermine the constitution. So, the Army might be doing what it can to convince the people that a coup will not happen. However, that would never have been necessary if the PDP had not fanned the flames with coup allegations, had Yardy not validated those claims with a military shakeup and had he not become "unwell" (as you said) in Saudi Arabia. Prevention is better than cure - telling us that the Army will not interfere with government can only cause some of us to pay even closer attention.

Hope all is well, my brotha.

nneoma said...

"Although every President has the right to replace military heads, one cannot help but question whether the reality of an oncoming trip for medical care forced Yar'Adua to do away with those powerful enough to seize the reigns of power in a coup. If that is the case, what does that say about the perception of Yar'Adua by not just the military but the population at large?"

If that is truly the reason for the military reshuffling that I for one have to say that Yar'adua is a very bright man - though I am not to pleased about his secretiveness regarding his health. The possibility that if anything happens to Yar'adua (God forbid), Jonathan could take over should also make us wary of who in fact we elect into office as VP and how important such a role is (not that there was much "electing" going on in the last election. I do have to agree with Nigerian Health Watch that his ability (and that of other big men) to fly abroad to for medical treatment should sting the conscious of Yar'adua regarding the plight of many of his constituents who in no way can afford such luxuries.
Ideally, I would like Yar'adua to come out of the closet, so to speak, with what exactly is ailing him and then use that opportunity to establish himself as a Nigerian president who champions the cause of reformed healthcare in Nigeria. i think then what would be seen as a weakness would then become his greatest strength.

SOLOMONSYDELLE said...

@ Nneoma: "I would like Yar'adua to come out of the closet, so to speak, with what exactly is ailing him and then use that opportunity to establish himself as a Nigerian president who champions the cause of reformed healthcare in Nigeria. i think then what would be seen as a weakness would then become his greatest strength."

Ah, and indeed the greatest testimony to his legacy as President, no? I can even imagine it. By confronting the health issues and committing himself, as you suggest, to healthcare reform, all Yardy would have to do is actually build a few hospitals and staff them. He could tie that success in with his commitment (which is now being reneged, unfortunately) to power generation which is necessary fro any modern hospital/clinic. In fact, the average Nigerian would be fine with access to a clinic that is clean and functions, not even a hospital.

Nneoma, my Igbotic sista, if you can figure this out, how come Nigeria's leaders have not figured it out? I could be wrong, but I truly believe that Nigerians would not bat an eye lash at the fact that their representatives continue to enrich themselves if they had the basic i.e. shelter, food, education and healthcare. Throw in electricity and infrastructure in a few areas and there will be hope that such progress would spread. But, oh well. Thanks for your comment. It has spurred a future topic.

Take care!

Standtall said...

I was talking abt this wiv someone recently and I made some observations you raised here.

My new question is, since kidney problem isnt alwaz an easy one, why would PDP nominate Yar'adua in the 1st place? Is he not suppose to avoid putting strains on himself cos of this kidney condition? Cldnt we have got someone better than Yar'adua to be our president?

But if he dies, hmmmm Goodluck (the man wiv a smiling face) takes over. God help us

Femi B said...

when i read the news about him going to Germany to get treatment, i could not but wonder how a President would go for treatment on foreign soil. I mean that should be a great issue to him that in a great country like Nigeria.... no hospital is trusted enuf to treat him well? I wonder if he even thinks about that or just brushes his shoulder to the fact that he has to get treated outside the country. Anyway i am just pissed becos once people have a serious medical condition, they leave the country to get it fixed but the only thing is that they have the money to do that. What about the middle class and poor people that can't afford to pay visa fees talk less of paying the airfare.?...
I do hope he gets better..my heart goes out to him either way

naijalines said...

I've always wondered why this man went for presidency in the first place...if his health is as bad as it seems to be. I wish him well but Nigeria deserves better than a part-time leader.

Parakeet said...

You know I read about this and am like do we really have a leader in Nigeria. Nigeria's problems alone is enough to make a fit person sick let alone someone who'd been suffering from various ailments before attaining power. I think future electoral aspirants in Nigeria should be made to undergo medical check up to rule out any dangerous diseases before they're allowed to context. We need someone who faculties are working to the max not someone who's too sick to make important decisions. I really do hope he gets well soon and I hope even more that this illness goes away completely

Anonymous said...

WELL,WE ARE WATCHING.LET NIGERIA AND ITS DEMOCRACY BE SUSTAINED.THAT IS MY CONCERN.LETS NOT PERSONLISE THE PRESIDENTIAL OFFICE ,AFTER ALL PRESIDENT SAID HE HATES PERSONALISATION OF PUBIC OFFCIE,I FEEL FOR HM=IM JUST AS A HUMAN BEEN LIKE ME BUT AS PRESIDENT,NOBODY SHOULD WORRY,ITS AN INSTITUTION THAT WILL CONTINUE TO FUNCTION.OLUEBUBE

TheAfroBeat said...

I've been hearing rumours all day that he's dead. I'm really hoping it's nothing more that just rumours. CNN would have carried it right? (Shame that my faith doesn't lie in the local Nigerian media). "Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got till it's gone". I sincerely wish him a speedy recovery.

How teengs? Long time o! Happy Labor Day!

Anonymous said...

FOR HOW LONH WILL THIS CRAZE CONTINUE, IF THE MAN IS NOT WELL ENOUGH LETS ALLOW HIM SOME TIME TO GO GET THE ADEQUATE TREAMENT, WHILE HIS VP TAKES CHARGE.

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Anonymous said...

is mr president death?

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