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Monday, January 11, 2010

Yar'Adua - Dead or Alive, It's Over!

92 days... These are exactly the number of days Nigerian President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua left his oil-rich nation, people and expansive resources to seek for medical attention in the Arab state of Saudi Arabia after complaining of some "chest pains". For 92 days, the over 151 million Nigerian population - of whom Yar'Adua is accountable to - knew nothing about the populous country's 2nd President of the Fourth Republic, who had been diagnosed with even more life-threatening conditions including kidney failure, stroke and massive brain damage, the latter which led to reports claiming Yar'Adua is brain-dead.

So what is the real condition of the Nigerian President at King Faisal hospital in the Saudi Kingdom? Is he dead or alive? Is his health condition getting better or deteriorating? Are there any signs of his recovery? Does he even have a chance of recovery? Will he even recover - if he is not dead yet? And if he does, will he be in a position to, in the least, supervise a swearing in ceremony of the country's Chief Justice or the 15 yet-to-be-sworn-in Permanent Secretaries?

Aren't Nigerians entitled to know the answers to such questions and more besides?

Unfortunately, no one has come out clear to set the record straight on the state of health of the President (or is it former President). A constitutional crisis is looming, a power vacuum is all there for  everyone to see - including a power-hungry military, the people are seating on tenterhooks of instability, the President is... where is the president?

Isn't that not the question that most people, including US President Barack Obama (interested in Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab's case) is asking?

“Your Royal Highness, Umaru Yar’Adua is not a private patient but our President and an employee accountable to millions of people. Information about his physical and mental well-being cannot be subject to the usual medical confidentiality of any ordinary citizen," said an open letter written to King of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saoud by Nigerians in Diaspora under the aegis of Nigeria Liberty Forum.

As you would expect, no response has been gotten as yet.

So, what happens next?

If the case of when the government of Nigeria under the leadership of Major Generals Muhammadu Buhari and Tunde Idiagbon was overthrown in 1985 as a direct consequence of Tunde IdiagbonĂ­s prolonged stay in Saudi Arabia is not a case in point, then let the president be out for just some more time. Experience is the only teacher, but not for everyone.

It is so obvious that Yar'Adua's situation (I insist, if he's still alive... read along) has highly exposed Nigeria to chances of a military coup. And whether Yar'Adua is alive or dead, the latter becoming increasingly plausible, the country's Vice President, Goodluck Jonathan, should not delay in grabbing the stroke of good luck and assume office immediately. If he doesn't, then Goodluck's luck may as well run out and see his nation fight through a period of military rule, again.

Bottomline: Nigeria will suffer if the president dies while in office. May be it won't. Some sources report that Nigerian President, Umaru Yar'Adua is dead. "He died on the 10th of December at 3.30pm at an Intensive Care Unit at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center in Jeddah Saudi-Arabia. Sources at the Hospital say that the First lady wants to keep the news secret for the next few days for personal reasons." 

But is he? Dead or alive, it's over for Yar'Adua!

And that's the Steifmastertake!