- Post 10 September 2008
- Last Updated on 11 September 2008
- By Hakeem Babalola
Rumour in the east… Rumour in the west. ..Rumour up north… Rumour down south… Rumour… Rumour of bad health…Rumour of death.
For some weeks the nation was gripped by hearsay information. Nigerians spread rumours that Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, their president, might have died in Saudi Arabia while undergoing an operation. The reason behind such rumour is probably because Nigerians see Yar’Adua as part of the dummy being sold to the nation. They see him as a plan incongruous with reason, a disingenuous package full of worms. Nigerians, even the rich are hungry and angry. And so they want their “president” dead.
This is the second time in one year that such rumour would spread across the nation. The first time was shortly before Yar'Adua became the anointed Nigerian president in a fashion reminiscent of the good old day when the military blue song hoodwinked every mind in the land. In order to quash the “malicious rumour” then, our main man in his typical jovial mode made a call to Yar'Adua who was recuperating in a German hospital. Obasanjo was reported to have switched on his mobile phone, connected it to the loud speaker and then asked "Umoru, is it true you are dead?" This was to the delight of the audience - mostly PDP members.
Of course, Yar'Adua did not die then. He was “hale and healthy” even now. His illness was nothing more than ordinary inflammation of the nose and throat with increased production of mucus known as catarrh. Even though Nigerians had suspected that Yar’Adua was suffering from what experts believe to be Churg Strauss syndrome which often affects the kidney, the president's spokespersons keep telling the nation that he is "hale and healthy". Such is the way Nigeria is being run. Issues of this nature shall continue to expose the ruling class. There’s too much lies in the land. Even the country itself was founded on dishonesty, ala amalgamation.
But is there any reason to hide Yar’Adua’s health condition? After all, any human being can fall sick at any time. Even Yar’Adua himself has called our attention to the fact that human beings have no power over their health. But the president caucus cabinets who know the fact about his health decided to keep it a top secret in such hanky-panky manner which eventually helped fuel the rumour. Ojo Madueke, Foreign Affairs Minister, was at his best by manipulating Queen Elisabeth’s English in order to convince Nigerians that his boss is “hale and healthy”. He used “cancellation” and “adjustment” a lot. Even Segun Adeniyi, Senior Special Adviser to Yar’Adua on Communication, told journalists that the trip to Saudi Arabia was for the performance of Umrah, a lesser hajj.
Now, if Yar'Adua was not a PDP presidential candidate then, he might not have flown to Germany to treat such common cold. But as someone who would soon become the commander-in-chief of the most populous nation in Africa, he must be treated abroad. Because such sojourn is what often defines a big man - in Nigeria. Anyway, the point is that Yar'Adua did not die and will never die. It was only the handwork of enemies and unpatriotic elements who wanted and still want the "servant leader" dead. Though the man keeps reminding one of Alhaji Shehu Shagari, a former president who was also installed by one and only Aremu, it’s not enough to wish him dead. It’s simply uncharitable thought. Did Nigeria also wish Sani Abacha dead?
These saboteurs who are fond of deliberately causing wrecks have intensified their clandestine subversive organisation since Yar'Adua was sworn in as Mr. President. Every time he went on official assignment, the fifth columnist would pass around his deteriorating health. These wreckers discuss about Yar'Adua's health as if the man would drop dead any moment. It is as if they are waiting anxiously for his demise. Perhaps it's not Yar'Adua's death that really concerns them, but the confusion his death would cause. Consider this statement from a source close to 'Vice President' Goodluck Jonathan. "Vice President Jonathan has not been getting the kind of frequent briefing about the president's status that he feels entitled to."
Thus many Nigerians have started speculating that the North would prevent Goodluck from taking over in case of emergency. I suspect they are extremely curious about the aftermath of Yar'Adua dying in office. The confusion of tongues solely relies on this notion. But is this anxiety necessary since article 146 of Nigerian Constitution extensively deals with such issue? So why the scepticism, especially when the federal government has reiterated that Yar'Adua is endowed with great bodily or mental health? For goodness sake, Yar’Adua could play a game of squash for hours! He is also in excellent mental condition to know who and who to sack immediately after returning from Umrah’s trip (They insist he went to perform the less hajj). The Secretary General of the Federation, Baba Gana kingibe, is the first casuality.
Has Nigerians stop trusting that Theology student with whom Yar'Adua found favour? Or what is the big deal about a Nigerian president spending close to a month abroad? It's all the same. Besides, Saudi Arabia is regarded as a holy land; they go there to atone for their sins, or even dream of dying there. They have this passionate believe that he who dies in Mecca goes to heaven. And who doesn't want to go to heaven? By the way, who started another rumour that The First Lady, Hajiya Turai Yar'Adua refused to allow a Saudi Arabian hospital make use of her kidney? Let me assure everyone that this loyal and protective wife is ready to donate even two kidneys in order to keep her husband in Aso Rock. First Lady's office na enjoyment o.
Yar'Adua should be allowed to enjoy himself while it lasts. He has declared himself a servant leader and we all know the meaning of being a servant in the corridor of power –in Nigeria. Moreover, globetrotting might be another way to show the nation that he is very well and healthy. Indeed people with bad health don't travel as much. Or do they? And Yar'Adua has visited several presidents and prime ministers since he ascended the throne of his ancestors. What's more! Many highly placed Nigerians have died either in " London" or wherever. It is their cherished pattern. It is a fad not likely to go out of fashion soon. Nigerian public officials enjoy overseas trips like Ajala. They simply love representing their country.
So I shall repeat myself: Yar'Adua won't die. He is healthy enough to rule Nigerians for another two terms. He will live long to enjoy the fruit of his labour. The man is already talking about 2020, the year he is sure Nigerians would start feeling like a human being. Is this the kind of president you wish dead? Even Chief Gani Fawehinmi, an ardent critic of bad governance, has urged Nigerians to "pray for quick recovery of the president." So let's pray, especially during this Ramadan period when Muslims abstain from everything worldly including sex and alcoholic drinks; when Allah always answers their prayer.
For now, just forget about any symptom that might make you doubt Yar'Adua's sounding health. Yes, forget about the fact that he collapsed in the presidential vehicle at the end of July 2008. This is only part of the stress associated with the office. Even if Yar'Adua is incapacitated by chronic illness or injury and Goodluck is swept aside, heaven will not fall. It may rain or pour but there won't be storm. For a while certain group of people may bark like dogs do, but they won't bark enough for effective change. It has happened many times before through the rape of the constitution; successive coup and counter-coup.
One example is when MKO Abiola, the acclaimed winner of June 12, 1993 "free and fair" election died in prison on the suspicious that he was poisoned. The grand plan of the owners of Nigeria still manifested in spite of wide protests - mostly from the west. Even Yar’Adua’s brother, Shehu also died in prison. What I am saying in essence is that many Nigerians will be disappointed if they expect Yar’Adua’s death to cause pandemonium. Chaos will occur only if a few who hold the Nigerian State key unlock the door of chaos, and this can only happen if doing so would further advance their innate interests. Now you know why Yar’Adua’s health rumour or even death rumour will always be a game plan.