President Yar’Adua seems alive; Important Questions

I rose to back to life from a slumber when I heard a news headline on BBC World Service this dawn, mentioning “President Umaru Yar’Adua”. I have been keenly following the news about his health in the past weeks and mentally sifting out the plentiful chaff of rumours from credible information. The substance of the news was that he was alive and recovering well in a hospital. They played an audio clip with what sounded very much like his voice saying:

“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”.

“I wish, at this stage, to thank all Nigerians for their prayers for my good health, and for their prayers for the nation.”

“As soon as my doctors discharge me I will return to Nigeria to resume my duties”.

The BBC World Service is generally a credible news outlet and I won’t attempt to question the authenticity of the voice I heard on radio. However, a lot of questions arise from this single incidence and one is forced to examine a few of them:

President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua: alive and well? Image via Wikipedia
President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua: alive and well? Image via Wikipedia

1. If the President can be so eloquent to speak with the BBC, why has he not addressed the nation he leads? Nigerians would be more than happy to see him on TV even if he was in hospital robes, so long he could smile and say a few coherent words. This would have calmed the current tension, to a large extent.

2. His absence has created a lot of unease among the populace with attendant serious security threats. Some are concerned that some military bad-nuts might be tempted to seize power due to the seem vacuum created by his absence and silence. Nigeria has been on the verge of complete anarchy for the past 50 days that he has been away. One then wonders why he did not expressly hand-over power to his Vice before leaving.

3. 234Next, a leading newspaper publication in Nigeria, published a news item last Sunday, explicitly stating that “Yar’Adua is brain-damaged”. I quote the leading paragraph of their report:

President Umaru Yar’Adua is seriously brain damaged, is not able to recognise anyone, including his wife Turai, and can no longer perform the functions of the office of the president, according to multiple sources who have spoken to NEXT on Sunday.

Before now, I have read a lot about 234Next’s credibility. Two key question lines arise:

  1. Is 234Next still credible? Did they get it wrong? Were they pursuing an agenda with the series of publications that seemed to put the President and his cronies in bad light?
  2. If 234Next’s report is indeed true and the President truly is unable to facially recognise anyone, was he coached by his handlers to say what he said to the BBC?

4. Nigeria has become a laughing stock of the world because its President seemed to have gone AWOL (absent without official leave). Had the President (or his office) formally notified the Senate of Nigeria of his trip, that might have saved the nation from this embarrassment. He was away at a critical time when Nigeria was in the international news due to 25th December US bomb attempt being carried-out by a Nigerian citizen and the huge security consequences. Would the President get away with this? If it is proved that he was rushed-out of the country in a health emergency and he could therefore not hand-over formally to his Vice nor notify the legislature, would this huge constitutional mess still be understandable? Would there be consequences?

5. There are many many more questions to ask but I would wrap-up at this point with a key question: for how long would the leadership of Nigeria be ferried abroad over health issues whilst the public health institutions in Nigeria remain in poor condition? For how long would the average Nigerian who cannot afford going abroad for health redemption continue to loose their life due to the poor facilities available at the public hospitals in the country?

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Oluniyi D. Ajao
Oluniyi D. Ajao is an Internet Entrepreneur and Tech Enthusiast based in South Africa. Follow him on twitter @niyyie for more tech updates.


  1. So many questions! I do think it is clear from the fact that Yardy spoke first with the BBC that he has not become too brain-damaged to conduct affairs of state. However, this choice also makes it clear that he has no concept of electoral democracy and negotiation. He regards himself as a hereditary ruler who must maintain power through deference and diplomacy with the Western superpowers. He knows that he is unpopular and would not be considered legitimate were Nigeria to become a true democracy.

  2. It’s really laughable, the theatrical performance of a few slobbering power-crazed sociopaths who call themselves the ruling class in Nigeria.
    Why laughable?

    BBC World Service is the official radio service for Britain. Which is Nigeria’s? FRCN (Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria)and VON (Voice of Nigeria).
    Now the president (or his cronies) wants to offer a backhanded proof of life and all they can come up with is BBC.Why not FRCN or VON? They could even cook up a techno sideline by sending mass SMS purportedly from the president to all GSM users in Nigeria. This sure will generate a lot of interest and discuss and will cast the president as a man who respects his citizens and those who voted(?)him into office.

    The failed terrorist plot? No comment from him too.
    If you ask me, I’d say he is either dead or seriously incapacitated BBC or not. Period!

  3. I know something is happening somewhere but what i believe most is that with time, the truth shall prevails. Its high time for Nigerians to know that they’d been misled.

    • What do you mean by, Its high time for Nigerians to know that they’d been misled. by who? what do you know about Nigerian being misled? you are there in the United State and you are making noise. come back home before you make any comment about any Nigerian issue.

  4. Guys, stop deceiving yourselves and wallowing in ignorance. Yar’Adua is brain-dead, and one doesn’t have to be a genius to know what becomes of someone who is BRAIN DEAD…

    This guy has died and has been buried since last Christmas. Turai is a very good melodramatist.

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