Nigeria’s president, Umaru Yar’adua who has not been seen since going into hospital in Saudi Arabia for heart treatment in November, has told the BBC he is recovering.
Listen to Yar’aduas 51 second speech: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/8453409.stm
Elombah.com yesterday gave prominence to a report from an obscure link from the American chronicle that the president is dead in order to force the federal government to break their silence on the health status of Yar’adua who has been away to the King Faisal Hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for nearly two months.
We achieved our goal.
All our previous efforts to get Nigerian officials, especially the presidential spokesman Segun Adeniyi to update Nigerians on the health status of president Yar’adua had fallen on deaf ears.
Attorney-General of the Federation, Chief Michael Kaase Aondoakaa, SAN, said that the over 150 million Nigerians who voted President Umaru Yar’Adua into office are not entitled to know his health status notwithstanding his abandonment of his duty post in the last 50 days.
Untill yesterday, rumors that Umaru Yar’adua, Nigeria’s sick president, had died swept through Nigeria and among Nigerians abroad yesterday that the Nigerian “leader” had passed on December 10 2009 at the King Faisal Hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia finally forced them to break the silence.
In his first interview since then, Umaru Yar’Adua told the BBC he hoped to make “tremendous progress” and to return to Nigeria to resume his duties.
Earlier, Olusegun Adeniyi, spokesman for Mr Yar’Adua, was forced to issue a statement that Yar’adua is alive;
“Of course the president is alive, he’s not even in an emergency situation.“I am aware that the issue of his health has become a political weapon for some people, which is sad. But he is still at the King Fahd Hospital, and he is still being treated.”
But Mr Adeniyi declined to comment on calls for photographic or video evidence of the president’s condition.
We had joined concerned Nigerians to demand evidence about the true state of Mr Yar’Adua’s health without success.
A rally has been called for Tuesday, by Nigerian opposition parties to protest over his absence while there are three different court cases under way calling for power to be transferred to the Vice-President, Goodluck Jonathan.
Speaking by telephone to the BBC, Mr Yar’Adua said he was making a good recovery.
“At the moment I am undergoing treatment, and I’m getting better from the treatment. I hope that very soon there will be tremendous progress, which will allow me to get back home,” he said.
“I wish, at this stage, to thank all Nigerians for their prayers for my good health, and for their prayers for the nation.”
Rumours had been rife that he was critically ill and unable to return to the presidency.
Under the banner Enough Is Enough, an organisation called the Save Nigeria Group called people on to the streets of the capital, Abuja.
There is a perceived danger of a power vacuum in a country which only saw the back of military rule just over 10 years ago, the BBC’s Will Ross reports from the city.
The opposition plan is to march to the national assembly where senators are expected to be discussing the president’s health.
Prominent opposition politicians and lawyers, Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka and the Biafran secessionist leader, Chief Emeka Ojukwu, will be among the demonstrators.
It is not clear if the demonstration will be well attended, BBC correspondent says.
Nigerians may be worried about their absent president but whether they will take time off to demonstrate is another matter, he adds.