November 23rd 2009, the president of Nigeria, Umaru Yar’Adua was flown to Saudi Arabia for what seemed to be his routine medical check – even though the thought of going to another country for medical check ups screams volumes as to where the healthcare in our country is, but that’s besides the issue. He left the country without granting acting presidential rights to the Vice President, Goodluck Jonathan, and at the time no one seemed to care. Afterall, we’re used to Yar’Adua going to Saudi for one thing or another. It’s not really such a big deal to us Nigerians anymore, even though it should.
We’re at day 43 now since he left, and besides random rumors and maybe an official goverment statement or two, no one seems to know the real status of the president. So basically, Nigeria has been without a leader for 43 days (6 weeks). If anyone had told me a year ago that the president of a country as large and powerful as Nigeria would have their president absent for 43 days, I’d probably start laughing. The story has gotten so bizzare that it’s just plain funny now. It shouldn’t be, but it is.
Even after our country has been thrown into the “axis of evil” by the terror acts of Farouk Abdul Mutallab, our President still hasn’t been seen or even issued an official statement. Thank God for Aunty Dora, if not, I don’t know if Nigeria as a country would’ve made an official statement. It’s 2010 and from what I gather, the budget has been signed and approved. By who? and when? The story gets more and more bizzare as time goes by, and I keep hearing more and more rumors that I’m not even sure this guy is alive. I’ll go ahead and list some of the rumors I’ve heard in the past month. Keep in mind that these are just rumors and should not be taken as the truth… Abeg I don’t want SS to come and hold me at the airport.
Rumor 1: Yar Adua is gravely ill and incapable of ruling, but his wife doesn’t want him to step down because she has personal ambitions. Now this one, I read online somewhere. Apparently Turai, Yar Adua’s wife does not want to step down from being first lady because she has her personal ambitions and still has some “runs” to take care of in Aso Rock. In line with this, I’ve also heard that she and some senators have some grand plan to have her take over as president of the country once Yar’Adua dies. Sounds outlandish but, you never know with Nigeria.
Rumor 2: Yar’Adua is dead. This one seems to be all over the place. Almost everyone I’ve talked to has heard this rumor. As much as this sounds believable based on what has happened in the past 43 days, I find this hard to believe. I personally don’t see the use in holding out information like that to the public, unless ofcourse part of Rumor 1 is true then maybe some people don’t want to leave Aso Rock yet. But for the most part, I really doubt that is the case.
Rumor3: Yar’Adua is in a coma/dying, and “some leaders” including Yar’Adua don’t want to hand over power to Goodluck Jonathan a southerner, but want to assign another leader from the north to continue the “northern ruling period.” Based on Nigeria’s history, this sounds like something from somewhere in the history books for Nigeria. Word on the street is that some leaders from the north, including, ex-presidents have met on several occasions to decide what will happen to the country when the plug is pulled on the president. The option of handing over power to the south is not plausible, so a decision is being made as to the next course of action. Now for the sake of peace in the country, this better not be the case, because I’d hate to see the reaction from the south south people if Goodluck Jonathan is pushed aside and replaced with a ruler from the north. All this is of course if Yar’Adua is really in a coma.
Rumor 4: Yar’ Adua is gravely ill, but will return soonest. This one sounds more like an official statement than a rumor, but i have heard this also in random chatters around. Now, if infact this is the case, an official statement from the president himself will go a long way. We might even join in prayers sef, if he needs us to. However, no official statement means we can assume anything about his condition and return.
Whatever the case is or the if the rumors are true or not, one fact in undeniable. There is something not right with this whole scenario and sooner or later, the truth will eventually surface, and when it does I hope that it doesn’t throw the country in mass confusion and instability. All this probably could’ve been avoided by being open to the public about the situation and not holding back information that is vital to the people. In all honesty, as a citizen of nigeria, I’d just like to know, where the president is, and his status. That can’t be difficult to give, no matter the situation. And if he’s not returning immediately that we have an acting president, which by the constitution (as I know) , would be Vice President Goodluck Jonathan. That sounds like what the government should do now that we have a “democracy.” I’ve heard enough rumors already. It’s time for an official answer.
To voice your concerns, find out what people are saying, or just to go read comments and laugh, visit http://www.whereisyaradua.com. Yes, there is such a website.
PS: Feel free to drop comments or add stories you’ve heard. Until we get an official statement from Yar’Adua himself, we’re free to speculate, and gossip…lol.