By NBF News
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Yar'Adua's surreptitious return and the way forward

Wednesday, March 3 , 2010


President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua returned to the country last Wednesday after 93 days of medical treatment for acute pericarditis in a Saudi Arabian hospital. We welcome him back to his motherland, but the stealthy manner of the return, in an air ambulance in the dead of night, and with airport lights switched off, have raised serious doubts about the true state of his health.

The uncelebrated return, which, ordinarily, should have been a major media event, also caught most Nigerians unawares. Acting President, Goodluck Jonathan, was reported to have learnt of the return journey just before Yar'Adua took off from Saudi Arabia.

Information and Communication Minister, Prof. Dora Akunyili, who should normally inform the nation about such matters, only heard of the return of the president on foreign television channel, Cable News Network (CNN). Troops were reportedly deployed to man the route of the president's journey from the airport to Aso Rock, without the knowledge and authority of the Acting President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.

We are, indeed, embarrassed by the shadowy circumstances of Yar'Adua's return to the country. Nigerians are both perturbed and scandalized. Since the president arrived, he has not been seen in public. Uncontroverted media reports suggest that he is on a life support machine. There has been nothing to indicate that he is conscious of circumstances around him, or that he is in position to give directive on any matter.