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Only doctors can confirm Yar’Adua’s return – FG

By Daniel Idonor
ABUJA—AS pressure continues to mount on ailing President Umaru Yar’Adua to resign immediately or unconditionally handover to the Vice-President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, the Federal Government yesterday reaffirmed that no matter the pressure he will not be advised to resign.

The reaffirmation, the second in two weeks, coincided with government’s denial of knowledge of the President’s return this week, stating that it is only his doctors who can confirm when he will return.

President Umaru Yar’Ad

Meantime, unconfirmed reports said  doctors had advised family members of the ailing President that he can no longer be exposed to the rigours of politics as he would require a close monitoring following his slow response to treatment.

Since Friday, November 23, (17 days ago), when the President was flown to the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, for the treatment of “Acute Pericarditis”, (an inflammatory condition of the coverings of the heart), as confirmed by his Personal Physician, Dr. Salisu Banye, there has been intensive pressure on him to resign.

‘He needs monitoring’

Doctors were said to have advised family members of the ailing President Yar’Adua that he can no longer be exposed to the rigours of politics as he would require a close monitoring following his slow response to treatment.

However, the doctors’ verdict, hinged on what a source described as a “serious decline in the President’s state of health,” came shortly after the President was released from the Intensive Care Unit of the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

President  in intensive care

The President was said to be in coma at a time  and was immediately rushed to the Intensive Care Unit, ICU.

A source disclosed that he was placed on life support after he was alleged to have severally gone into coma.

The source said to have been in Jeddah since the President was hospitalised was quoted as saying that  the President’s family had sought doctors’ opinion on whether he would be fit soon to return to work but were shocked when they declared that Yar’Adua would need close monitoring because of the stage his ailment has reached.
According to the source, though doctors may have ruled out the possibility of the President dying from his ailment, they advised that since he cannot breath properly as a result of the fluid that the sac (Pericardium) collect between the heart, he would need to stay monitored and out of any strenuous activities.

His ailments

Yar’Adua is suffering from “acute pericarditis,” a deadly ailment that results from Churg_Strauss syndrome. Pericarditis is inflammation of the pericardium, often with fluid accumulation. Pericarditis may be caused by many disorders such as infection, MI, trauma, tumors, and metabolic disorders.

First on the list was the historic move by the group of 54 prominent Nigerians across professions and spanning the six geopolitical zones (G54) on November 30, asking the President to resign his office immediately or unconditionally hand over to Jonathan.

Two days after the government took a swipe at the group, declaring that it was a joke taken too far as the President cannot resign under the present circumstance.

FEC rules out his resignation

Rising from a crucial session, which Vanguard learnt was dominated by the resignation saga, the Federal Executive Council (FEC), yesterday resolved that the President remains fit enough and would not, therefore, initiate the process of easing him out of office through the National Assembly; declaring that it would ignore the call since it has not found Yar’Adua incapable of performing his duties.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Alhaji Yayale Ahmed, who led other cabinet members, including ministers to brief State House Correspondents, at the end of the weekly FEC meeting, dismissed the unfortunate calls and urged Nigerians to disregard them because they are baseless.

FEC’s position was to ignite national controversy as the issue began to tilt along ethnic, tribal, regional and political considerations with divergence of views as to whether the President should proceed with the resignation appeal or not.

AC caucus insists he should resign

The latest of such pressure moves was the Tuesday call by the Action Congress (AC) caucus in the House of Representatives on the President to borrow a leaf from former Cuban leader, Fidel Castro and recently, Mr. Segun Ayobolu, a special adviser to the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, who threw in the towel on account of ill_health.

Chairman of the caucus, Mr.  Femi Gbajabiamila, at a briefing, quoted Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution that, “whenever the President transmits to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives a written declaration that he is proceeding on vacation or that he is otherwise unable to discharge the functions of his office, until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary such functions shall be discharged by the Vice_President as acting president.”

But rising from its meeting yesterday, FEC  lampooned those behind the mounting pressure, insisting that no matter the pressure on its chairman, President Yar’Adua, it will not invoke the deadly Section 145 of the Constitution, as demanded by the emerging groups.

The government said it won’t initiate any process of easing Yar’Adua out of office through the National Assembly.

Why FEC won’t ask him to resign

Responding to reporters’ questions on the update of the President’s health after the FEC meeting, presided over by Jonathan, Minister of Information and Communications, Professor Dora Akunyili, maintained that “there have been no changes in the positions of FEC”.

Asked when Yar’Adua is expected back home, she said: “I can confirm to you that Mr. President is still in a Saudi hospital. He is responding to treatment; and only his doctors can decide when he will come back.”


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