John Abayomi, Deputy Online Editor, with agency reports

50 days, after leaving Nigeria for medical treatment in Saudi Arabia with rumoured death in a section of the media, President Umar Musa Yar’Adua has spoken at last!

In an interview with the BBC, the first since he was whisked to King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on November 23, President Umar Yar’Adua said he is recovering and will soon resume at his desk .

The telephone interview with the BBC today coincides with the mass protest lead by Nobel laureate,  Prof. Wole Soyinka, former Governor of old Kaduna State, Balarabe Musa, the Ikemba of Nnewi, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu and pastor of Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare in Abuja.

In the recorded interview, Yar’Adua said he was making a good recovery.

“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,” he said.

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

Earlier, the Presidency  reacting to the  widespread speculations of the death of the ailing President Umaru Yar’Adua, yesterday, urged Nigerians to discountenance the story which it described as not only false, but also a figment of the writers’ imagination.

According to Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi, Presidential spokesman, who spoke from Angola, where he is participating in the ongoing CAF Nations Cup, said the public should discountenance the story, insisting that the president was not only alive, but very much conscious and getting better.

He told the State House correspondents from Angola where he had gone for the opening ceremonies of the African Cup of Nations: “The speculations are false.

The president is alive and actually getting better. He is very much conscious, can talk and has been talking, including making phone calls to some people back home.”

Adeniyi said he travelled to Angola with President Yar’Adua’s permission as a member of the Presidential Committee, adding, “so, I am here officially but I am coming back home hopefully tomorrow because he has so directed.”

The country was, yesterday, again for the second time in about 50 days, awakened by the news of the president’s death following a report to that effect published on the online edition of one American Chronicle, with concerned Nigerians making enquiries as to its veracity.

A local newspaper had last Sunday reported that the president who left the country on November 23 to seek treatment in Saudi Arabia for an ailment medically called acute pericarditis was brain-damaged and could not recognize anyone, including his wife, Turai.

Note: Readers  should see  link to the recorded telephone interview courtesy the BBC:


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