By Henry Umoru
CONTRARY to speculations that ailing President Umaru Yarâ€™adua was going to pray at the Abuja National Mosque yesterday, Nigerians were once again thrown into a world of guessing and insinuations as he failed to show up for the Friday prayers.
News filtered round the nationâ€™s capital city Abuja that he was billed to come to the National Mosque for the Friday prayers. The eagerness to see him was against the backdrop that Nigerians have not seen their President since he was said to have returned to the country in the early hours of 23, February, 2010 having spent solid ninety three days in far away Saudi Arabia on medical attention.
It would be recalled that President Yarâ€™Adua sneaked out of the country November 23, 2009.
To buttress the fact that there was no sign that he was coming to the place on Friday when the correspondent visited the place was that the normal Friday market in and around the Mosque was not in any way affected as people who came with their wares went about with their businesses, no one stopped vehicles from moving and security was not beefed up at the place as against how it used to be when the President was coming to the place.
Even a Toyota car that caught fire and was put off with the intervention of the people was left at the centre of the road even till after the prayer session. From Sheraton Hotel road to Shehu Yarâ€™Adua Centre down the Energy Commission of Nigeria road never witnessed police presence. Same applied to the road linking John Holt plc, Tofa House all located in the Central Area, Garki, Abuja and the entrance of the mosque where the President and top personalities take, did not witness heavy police presence except for three horses climbed by three policemen and a handful of policemen.
There were few policemen taking instructions from DSP I.A. Mohammed except for other uniformed men who came to pray. There was also the absence of anti-bomb vehicles, State security, Military men, all were indications that President Yarâ€™Adua was not coming.
It was also gathered that if the President was coming, the sitting arrangement would have been adjusted to accommodate him. Other Nigerians who were ready to see the President were at the National Mosque including the high and mighty all in a bid to see him. The Almajiris, Kolanut sellers, those involved in pedicure (local nail cutters), a colony of Lepers, and other beggars were not left out on Friday and they left disappointed as the President never came.
This correspondent who was right inside the premises of the mosque, infact the gate of the entrance to the main hall of the Mosque before the prayer time and after, never saw a resemblance of the President come out of the Mosque nor the President himself after the prayer session.
Those who walked out at the close of the Friday prayer were the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mallam Yayale Ahmed, Speaker House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole who came out at 2.36pm, former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), Amadu Ali, former Minister of Solid Minerals, Sarafa Ishola, Deputy National Chairman, PDP, Bello Haliru Mohammed and the Chief Imam of Abuja National Mosque, Alhaji Musa Mohammed who came out at exactly 2.45pm.
Answering questions from some Journalists who were at the place, the Chief Imam, Musa Mohammed who disclosed that the sermon he had centered round the issue of leadership and that leaders must have the fear of God, said our leaders must use their money to build houses as well as enjoy with their wives and not the governmentâ€™s money.
It would be recalled that since Nigerians were shocked on reading in the pages of newspapers of President Yarâ€™duaâ€™s return to the country after 93 days in Saudi Arabia, there have been series of rumours surrounding him, infact it has become the myth of Yarâ€™adua akin to â€˜the Myth of Sisyphusâ€™. Nigerians wake up everyday with one insinuation after the other just like people were made to almost believe that nothing was going to stop him from having his Friday prayers at the National Mosque.
Before yesterday, there were reports about him that looked real, first, he was said to be playing Squash, seen riding a horse as well as jogging in his house. Three weeks ago, President Yarâ€™adua was also billed to host members of the Executive Council to a dinner which never happened.
Last week Monday, it was reported that he was going to have a nationwide broadcast to signal his resumption of work as early as Monday on Wednesday next week, Nigerians waited for the broadcast like the characters in Samuel Beckettâ€™s â€˜Waiting for Godottâ€™ and the days came to pass without the broadcast the same way the rumour of his coming to Mosque on Friday also did not hold waters.
Also last week, it was reported in one of the newspapers(not Vanguard) that President Yarâ€™Adua would resume office next week, adding that he will be fit to resume work by the end of next month.