There were conflicting reports last night over the state of health of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
Whereas foreign reports claimed the President’s health condition was worsening and that he may be moved to the United States or Germany, official sources close to Yar’Adua at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where he is receiving treatment, dismissed the report.
A report in the Daily Nation newspaper of Kenya said the Saudi doctors treating Yar’Adua at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital had begun contemplating transferring him to either the US or Germany.
About two years ago, the President was flown to Germany for medical treatment and was discharged a couple of days later after doctors declared him fit to return home and assume his duties.
Quoting Saudi local media, the Kenyan newspaper reported that the King Faisal Specialist Hospital said President Yar’Adua would have to stay in hospital for the next three months. The local media report monitored by the newspaper quoted the Saudi medical officials as saying that their comtemplation of transferring the ailing Presi-dent abroad stems from his “body’s inability to respond to treatment in the intensive care unit” of the hospital.
President Yar’Adua would have to stay longer in hospital “to enable doctors to closely monitor his response to treatment and possibly administer new ones,” the report said. But dismissing the report, top officials close to Yar’Adua said the President’s worst fears are over and that he is recuperating. “Our worst fears are over. The President’s health condition is now stable and he is recuperating fast in Saudi Arabia,” said one of the officials who pleaded not to be named.
The report in the Daily Nation is also in sharp contrast with the statement credited last Sunday to one of the medical doctors attending to the President at the hospital that Yar’Adua would return home by next week.
The doctor had told Deutsche Presse-Agentur, a German news agency under conditions of anonymity in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, that Yar’Adua was no longer in the intensive care wing of the hospital and was undergoing routine medical tests. That development also corroborated the claims of the Nigerian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Alhaji Abdullahi Garba Aminchi, that the President was fit enough to return to Nigeria anytime next week.
Aminchi told newsmen in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, that the call on the President to resign from office as a result of his ill-health was out of place. “President Umaru Yar’Adua has been attended to by his doctor. He was given a week to recuperate after which he will be examined again. From the one week, he has just spent two days (Thursday).
So, he still has five days to recuperate. “After one week rest, if he is certified fit and capable to return home and resume his work, God willing, he will be back in Nigeria by next week,” Aminchi said.
Few days after he left for Saudi Arabia for medical reasons, his Chief Physician, Dr. Salisu Banye, had said the President was responding positively to treatment. He said Yar’Adua was expected to recover soon and return to the country, but no specific day was given.
The President is also said to be very sad over his rumoured death. A statement from Banye, read to the State House correspondents at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa by Presidential Spokesman, Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi, said the President was diagnosed with and was being treated for acute pericarditis – an inflammatory condition of the covering of the heart.
The four-paragraph letter from Banye had read: “At about 3pm on Friday, November 20th, after he returned from the Abuja Central Mosque where he performed the Juma’at prayers, President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua complained of left sided severe chest pain. Preliminary medical examinations suggested acute pericarditis (an inflammatory condition of the coverings of the heart). “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 check-up 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. “He is now receiving treatment for the ailment and is responding remarkably well.” Since he left for Saudi Arabia on November 23, several leading opposition politicians and lawmakers in the country have been agitating for the President’s resignation to attend to his health problem.
They are also canvassing for Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan to act as President. But the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has kept the Vice-President in his position while pledging full allegiance to President Yar’Adua.