Why Turai Is Hiding Yar’Adua?

The worrisome but salient question on the lips of many Nigerians this morning was: “Is it because of the deplorable condition of our president that Nigeria’s first lady, Hajia Turai, has been hiding her husband, Umaru Yar’Adua, from various powerful delegations that have travelled to Saudi Arabia to see him?”

Many believe that the computer generated photograph of the ailing president on internet social network sites like facebook and others reveals exactly how Yar’Adua now looks, going by reports that he had drastically lost weight. 

•85 days After: Computer generated image of the ailing Nigerian leader as being circulated on the internet. 

Reports have it that his weight has dropped from the 45 kg before he left Nigeria on 23 November, 2009 to 38 kg. Reports also have it that it is due to the president’s terrible condition that former president Olusegun Obasanjo advised his successor to throw in the towel and tread the path of honour following his prolonged absence from the country. Prominent Nigerians have been barred by Hajia Turai from seeing her husband at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Jeddah.

National Chairman of the ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Vincent Ogbulafor with his team of party leaders went to Saudi Arabia but were not allowed to see the president. Earlier, the chairman Governors Forum and Kwara State Governor, Bukola Saraki, and the other governors who followed him to Saudi Arabia were not allowed to see Yar’Adua. Ministers and other aides of Yar’Adua went to Saudi and returned to Nigeria without catching a glimpse of the ailing president. 

Last week, five members of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Baba Shehu Agie, Alhaji Mohammed Ndume, Patrick Ikhariale, Jubril Adamu and Fatai Moruf went to Saudi Arabia on a similar mission. But the team saw only Hajia Turai. They were unable to see the president. Because of the president’s dire condition, only his wife, Turai, his favourite daughter and wife of Kebbi State governor, Hajia Zainab and his Chief Security Officer (CSO), Yusuf Tilde, are those who have unfettered access to Yar’Adua. 

About a week ago, Turai invited her daughters to Saudi where a marabout was invited for a round-the-clock daily prayer. The marabout predicted Yar’Adua will make a sudden recovery and return to Nigeria. Reacting to the refusal of Turai Yar’Adua to allow access to her husband, some prominent Nigerians said this morning that the action is a reflection that the President’s condition is beyond redemption. They all agreed that the President might be totally incapacitated and cannot even show signs of recovery. 

The Deputy National Chairman of the United Nigeria People’s Party, Chief Winston Odumu-Ojobi, who spoke with P.M.NEWS this morning, said there was a mystery surrounding the inability of the various delegations from the country to see Yar’Adua. 

Chief Odumu-Ojobi maintained that the Presidency as a position was more than any single individual and that President Yar’Adua had become an institution for being given the authority to handle the position. As a result of this, he said, “if the President is sick, it is the right of the people to know. If we Nigerians and the delegation from the House of Representatives was not allowed to see him, then there is a mystery.” 

He advised the National Assembly to invite Turai to tell Nigerians what has been happening to her husband and why she has taken the decision not to allow Nigerians access to him. He further asked that the Saudi government be invited to inform Nigerians about the state of the President since he is not just an individual but one on whose shoulders rest the government of a nation. 

He said: “We have the right to ask the Saudi authorities about the state of the President. Journalists should also begin to ask questions. When Ronald Regan of America was shot, though I was still a student, we watched him being operated upon and how he recovered.” He suggested that in the event that the first lady refuses to honour such invitation, a warrant of arrest should be ordered for her, the Nigerian ambassador to Saudi Arabia, the president’s Personal Assistant and his personal physician, “because to me the President is still missing”. 

Former governor and Chairman of Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), Alhaji Balarabe Musa, told P.M.NEWS that his group is working on the assumption that there is more to the shielding of the President than what Nigerians are made to believe. 

According to him, the President was either in a coma or completely incapable “and that is the reason for this extreme secrecy on the part of the family. “If not, the delegation would not be disallowed access to their President. The least we expect is for the Federal Executive Council to declare him unfit since as it is now, what the acting President can do is limited.” 

He explained that foreign countries might not be willing to do business with the country since they would feel concerned that they are not dealing with the authentic President. 

The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olurotimi Akeredolu, said he would not react until the delegation came out to inform Nigerians that they were denied access to the ailing President. Tony Uranta, of the Commission of Nobel Laureates To The Niger Delta, and member of the committee on the amnesty for militants, said he was not surprised at the turn of events. 

“The inability of the delegation to see him shows that the President is severely or totally incapacitated. This further brings about the question: who signed the budget that was appropriated for?” he said. 

While commending the National Assembly for taking some actions in relation to the political crisis, he said that the members failed woefully  for not treating the issue as a section 144 issue in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. 

He added that as acting President, Jonathan would not be able to effectively solve the problem of the Niger Delta. He advised that Yar’Adua be impeached on ground of incapacitation as this would partly solve the political problems in the country. 

Sociology expert, Prof. Lai Olurode, while speaking with P.M.NEWS, also maintained that for there to be normalcy in the polity, Nigerians must brace up for change. He said that Nigerians must learn to outwit the PDP in future elections. 

He stated that the refusal of access to the President could be because “it won’t be possible to package him for public parade or be intelligible enough to utter reasonable words.

There appears to have been an underestimation of his illness.” He maintained that the acting President would not be able to meet the yearning of the people.