Friday, November 27, 2009

Every few months, Nigeria stops at the rumors of the sickness/dying/death of its President, Umar Musa Yar'Adua. This time is no different, as the President was flown to Saudi Arabia on Monday, November 23rd, and again, citizens were told nothing until almost 3 days later, when they were informed by administration officials that Yar'Adua is not dead and "not seriously ill", yet, recovering in a Saudi hospital. But, as usual, the rumors and uncertainty persist and Nigerians wonder who is in charge of the national ship.

This time, the New York Times is reporting that Yar'Adua was treated for a "heart infection". The speculations are reaching a fevered pitch as this new diagnosis is quite different from what Nigerians assumed (because no one truly knows) was a kidney problem. It does not help that President Yar'Adua looked like this not too long before his recent medical trip to Saudi Arabia.

Yar adua_punch

From this -

And, now, Twitter and other online social media sites are awash with speculation that the President is unconscious or dead. A situation that could have been avoided if this President, and his handlers, had opted for the very transparency they preach about.

These pictures do nothing but cause serious alarm in the heart of any good meaning person who must wonder why, considering this President's alleged health ailments, he remains in power with little explanation as to what has caused him to look so emaciated in 2 years as President. Granted, being President of Nigeria is no easy task, but to look the way the President does only fuels certain opinions that he step down, not simply for his health, but for the health and stability of the nation. It will also embolden  political opportunists who swarm like vultures to take immediate advantage of an opportunity to grasp the reigns of power. Additionally, 'wazobia' (tribal) concerns are always at play in Nigerian politics. Hence, as the Economist speculated, there are apparently concerns amongst powerful Northerners over the possibility of losing the Presidency if Yar'Adua were unable to serve out his term or run for a second term.

Also, it is never too much to restate that the fact that a nation's President frequently travels abroad for health matters is a damning statement on the condition of that nation's healthcare system. For a President committed to rebranding Nigeria, it continues to send the wrong message when Yar'Adua takes his many frequent trips to Saudi Arabia, Germany or elsewhere for medical treatment. It is, quite frankly, an embarrassment to this administration and the Federal Republic. And who exactly is running the country while the President recovers? While one would assume it was Vice President Jonathan, the President's spokesperson made it clear to the New York Times that this was not the case.

This writer wishes President Yar'Adua the speediest of recoveries from whatever it is he is suffering from. However, this writer, like many Nigerians, demands to know exactly what ails the President and how that affects a nation working hard to develop and create a better future for present and future generations. Is he suffering from a kidney problem, a heart issue, both or more? One look at the most recent picture of Yar'Adua should give all cause for concern and hope for nothing but the best. But, just because Nigerians want the best for their President does not mean that same President should ignore the rights of citizens to know what is going on.

UPDATE: Yar'Adua's 'heart condition' is called pericarditis and according to the BBC, it is "triggered by cancer".

Further Reading:
- Yar'Adua And The Continuing Heath Issue
- The Consequences of Yar'Adua's Mysterious Health
- Nigeria, Be Careful What You Wish For
- Suppression In A Democratic Regime
- Wanted Dead Or Alive
- Rest In Peace
- "We Need Fresh Blood Haba!!!! Bones Are Weak!!!"

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Sugabelly said...

So according to somebody that commented on NEXT, his heart condition is one of the symptoms of end-stage renal failure. We've been hearing about the kidney issue for ages now so I wouldn't be surprised.

Now, while I hope the guy gets well and everything, I am sick and tired of him running or misrunning Nigeria. He's ill, and he shouldn't even have been President anyway. He was never honestly elected into office, he became President illegally, and just the fact that we didn't revolt and allowed him to stay so is insult enough. He needs to respect himself and step down.

And while we are at it, I am also sick of Northern Presidencies. The North does not contribute anything even remotely significant to Nigeria's GDP yet Northerners rotate the Presidency among themselves as though it were their own personal ball. By all rights, Southerners should be the ones running things since the North is a parasitic appendage that relies on the South for its upkeep. Every bit of infrastructure that exists in the North exists because of Southern generated money.

98% of Nigeria's GDP comes from hardworking Southerners, while the North keeps on sucking money out of the south to spend wastefully. Maybe this will start a tribal argument and maybe it won't but it's still the truth. Far more trouble has come out of the North than anything good for Nigeria. I almost choked with laughter when Boko Haram was threatening secession. If the North secedes we'll probably be much better off for it.

I'm not even saying this because I'm Igbo. I'm saying this because Nigeria needs a new deal. We've had the same old crap for way too long and Yar'Adua's situation just sticks in my craw because it's such a blatant example of Northern cronies trying to hold on to power by any means possible no matter how dire the situation or how bad it is for the country.

This is not to say that there are not bad eggs in the South, but at least the South is producing and contributing something to the upkeep of the nation. What is the North doing besides sucking us dry?

The man needs to have some shame and step down and take care of his health. This is disgusting is what it is.

Dojaa said...

Wish him the best, cant begin to imagine how ill he must be, however he really needs to do something about the ordinary Nigerian man who cannot afford to fly to Saudi Arabia to recieve treatment. I think he really needs to focus on spending more time with the family, being president is not more important than spending time with ones family.

NneomaMD said...

yep...also wanted to re-echo the statement that pericarditis is most likely the inevitable consequence of his kidney issues. The assumption of cancer on the part of BBC, sounds a bit sensationalist.
The part I find most interesting is why how the Constitution could be potentially subverted by PDP and their regional power-sharing agreements. Under normal circumstances, the Yardy should step-down, focus on his health, and allow Goodluck to serve as interim president. Peaceful transfer of power. Sheesh, Castro, of all people, knew when to quit...

And I thought I was the only one that noticed that Yar-adua is looking horribly emaciated these days. Was going through an old post of mine some months back and saw one of his initial post-election pictures and noticed that he simply looked much healthier back then...It's quite unfortunate.

N.I.M.M.O said...

He will not resign or step down.

If he were not Prez, he'd be dead. I don't think even his famed family wealth could've sustained anyone with his history of health issues.

Fellow Naijirians, let us all just wish our President 'soonest recover'.

Anya Posh said...

Kai...this guy suppose commot from that post abeg. With all these speculation, our country people no safe no more. Because this kind of confusion can leave a suspicious air of uncertainty over the nation. Then their talking that Goodluck should resign. From nowhere! the potential incumbent should step down so that who will rule in the event of Yar'adua's death?! quite sickening. abeg, my own be say make the military no seize the opportunity begin play hankey-pankey for barracks like say dem fit take aso rock again..

The Activist said...

I just hope they won't allow the military to coem to our rescue again by not doing the right thing when it needed to be done!

Oluniyi David Ajao said...

He should resign on health grounds.

NaijaBabe said...

I hope this does not get out of hand anytime soon. There is no harm stepping down and allow someone else to run the rest of the term. If he dies today, hasty decisions will need to be made and things will not be in place. I am tired of hearing this and its says nothing good of our already tarnished image. We need to think, and fast. at that

Alex said...

Nigerian official says President Umaru Yar'Adua, known to have a chronic kidney problem, traveled to Saudi Arabia for a Muslim pilgrimage and a medical checkup

Anonymous said...

Sometimes i feel not to be proud of we Nigerians,why we all in the world anyways i feel my God is exposing there evil out,i dont think he can handle that sit with that condition of his life,why not live the seat and have a complete medical treatment thats if he will survive it this year,President Not all Money can Do......Nigerians we need to fight for our right.....

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