Yar’Adua’s lonely end

Yar’Adua’s lonely endIn the last two weeks before his death, the late president, cocooned in the presidential villa, was closer to death than his wife, Turai Yar’Adua, and his close aides, cared to admit to the public.

He had lost consciousness and emitted terrible odours as his internal organs decomposed.

“In the end only the CSO was changing his diapers, which he had to wear because he could no longer control his bodily functions,” a source said to NEXT.

But Mrs. Yar’Adua would not let go of the trappings of the presidency and would not concede to take the critically ill president home to Katsina, spurning the counsel of the late president’s close friends and relatives.

“Turai began to allow close relatives, his brothers, cousins, close friends, including Dahiru Manga, to see him. Almost uniformly they asked Turai to take him back home, and she refused. By this time she was beyond reason,” sources told NEXT.

Concealing the truth

In death, the truth about President Umaru Yar’Adua’s health was not any more public knowledge than it was when he was alive. In truth, on the day of his death, the dregs of the now popular cabal made a last spirited effort to do what they know how to do best; conceal the truth about Mr. Yar’Adua’s health.

No sooner had the president died than the unpopular group aroused another round of propaganda about the president.

Two days before his death, Mr. Yar’Adua had been moving up and down the stairs, speaking with and embracing his mother, and surprising everyone with his improvement, the cabal said.

Domestic staff in the presidential villa were quickly conscripted to propagate this falsehood. It seemed an almost morbid desire to present the late president as though he was in charge right until his death.

It is not clear why this was such an important task for the cabal to carry out. This was after all, a man who had not been sighted in over half a year and who many believe had not spoken a word since he was rushed out of Nigeria last November. Why was the cabal then hell bent on presenting him in a different light?

The cabal, at this point, was no longer made up of a horde of Yar’Adua loyalists but now a modest group of four; his wife, his Chief Security Officer(CSO) Yusuf Tilde, his Aide-de-Camp (ADC) Mustapha Onoedieva, and Mohammed Dodo – the administrative officer at the presidency.

Long gone were the likes of Tanimu Yakubu, Mr. Yar’Adua’s economic adviser; Abba Ruma, the former minister of Agriculture and Water Resources; Abdullah Aminchi, Nigeria’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia; Adamu Aliero, former minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT); and Michael Aondoakaa, former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, who hitherto had held sway in the corridors of power during the first few months of Mr. Yar’Adua’s absence. This group had long jumped ship when power moved, not in their favour. Mr. Yakubu was, two days before Mr. Yar’Adua’s death, in the home of Nasir el-Rufai, the former minister of the FCT, and an ‘enemy’ of the Yar’Adua camp.

“Yar’Adua was not their [the cabal‘s] interest. Their interest was to be at the gate to fleece Nigeria. Yar’Adua was the best person to work with because the challenge of his health left them to do as they pleased since he could hardly read,” a former legislator said to NEXT over the weekend in Abuja.

A lonely death

So on Mr.. Yar’Adua’s last night, the late president had to take the route all by himself; having suffered through 6 months, alternating between Intensive Care Units and ambulances. Because he had been effectively isolated, even from his deputy Goodluck Jonathan, only a handful of Nigerians could offer true friendship and comfort to the critically ill man.

In reality, Mr. Yar’Adua had been all by himself for more than half of a year. The grand effort by some figures to show solidarity to the critically ill president even to the point of denying the true state of his health could never amount to much. It was after all Mr. Yar’Adua who suffered through the hands of multiple specialists in faraway Saudi Arabia.

What began as a show of loyalty by a group of Yar’Adua loyalists, now popularly called the cabal, slowly dwindled to an expression of profound self-love when the friends abandoned a vegetative, slowly dying president in Aso Rock after a four month charade.

The moment of truth

72 hours before Mr. Yar’Adua died, his doctors notified his CSO and ADC of the impending end. The truth could no longer be hidden and Mr. Yar’Adua’s deputy, Goodluck Jonathan, who had hitherto been kept in the dark, was quickly informed.

By 3.30pm, on Wednesday, the day the president died, the National Security Adviser, Aliyu Gusau, summoned the service chiefs to brief them; the president was on his last gasps.

The end came quietly, Yar’Adua gasped his last and by 9 pm, was pronounced dead.

By 10pm or thereabout, after the president had died, all the rankling about Mr. Yar’Adua’s presidency came to an abrupt halt and the relevant authorities were already discussing the plans to swear in the new president, Goodluck Jonathan.