Yar’Adua not with us – Saudi Hospital

Where is Nigeria’s president, Umaru Yar’adua? Is he dead? – THE ailing President Umaru Yar’Adua, who left Nigeria 37 days ago for medical attention in Saudi Arabia, was never admitted to King Faisal Hospital at all as believed by Nigerians, the Nigerian Tribune can report authoritatively. Investigations conducted by the Nigerian Tribune on Tuesday revealed that the president was not in either of the two branches of King Faisal Hospital in Riyadh and Jeddah.

Few days after the president left the country, presidential spokesperson, Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi, addressed a press conference, where he told Nigerians that President Yar’Adua had been taken to Saudi Arabia for confirmatory checks, when speculations became rife as to his whereabouts.

According to Adeniyi, the Chief Physician to the President, Dr. Salisu Banye, had said Yar’Adua had been diagnosed of acute pericardits, an inflammation with the sac-like covering of the heart, on November 26.

“It was then decided that he should undertake confirmatory checks at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where he had his last medical checkup in August. The medical review and tests undertaken at the hospital have confirmed the initial diagnosis that the president is, indeed, suffering from Acute Pericarditis,” the statement had said.

But investigations conducted by the Nigerian Tribune revealed that President Yar’Adua was not in either of the two branches of King Faisal Special Hospital in Riyadh and Jeddah.

In fact, a worker in the central unit of the hospital, Hubaid Al-Atabi, disclosed in a telephone conversation conducted in Arabic, that the president was never admitted to the hospital, adding that his record was not in their possession.

He, therefore, advised the Nigerian Tribune to make an enquiry at the Jeddah branch of the hospital, which further revealed that the president was also not admitted therein by a member of staff who refused to disclose his name.

The numbers contacted were +96614427502, +96614647272 (Riyadh), +96626677777 (Jeddah).

Meanwhile, a source said the president is still in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, though out of hospital.

The source said further that the president, for now, could not embark on long haul trip, thus making it difficult for him to be taken to either the United States or Germany.

The possibility is that his wife, Hajia Turai, might have decided to explore the spiritual angle by moving him to a place where the already employed marabouts can pray for him unhindered, a source said.

Another source said the family had objected to taking the president on air ambulance to either the US or Germany and even Nigeria, because of the unusual noise that it could cause.

Given the latest development, nobody, not even the aides of the president, could say authoritatively where President Yar’Adua is. Meanwhile, if the controversial Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Michael Aondoakaa, was presumed to be speaking the mind of ailing PresidentYar’Adua’s kitchen cabinet, then Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan and those pushing for his constitutional ascension as acting president should perish such an idea. 

The minister, who had said Yar’Adua could rule from sickbed, told a federal high court sitting in Abuja, on Tuesday, that the operational 1999 Constitution did not make it mandatory for Yar’Adua to communicate the National Assembly, even when he could no longer discharge his constitutional duties. 

His position was contained in government’s preliminary objection to a suit by Mr. Femi Falana, seeking an order of the court compelling Yar’Adua to constitutionally hand over the reins of governance to Jonathan in acting capacity while still ailing and another by a former lawmaker, Honourable Farouk Aliyu, seeking to declare the president unfit to continue in office.