Yar'Adua: Nigerians in Diaspora Write Saudi King
Nigerians in Diaspora under the aegis of Nigeria Liberty Forum, yesterday wrote the King of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saoud, on the continued absence of President Umaru Yar'Adua from the country, demanding for true information on the state of his health.
The Forum, which is based in London, said in the letter made available to THISDAY, that it had become compelling because Nigerian leaders have decided to hoard information on the exact state of the President's state, adding that the situation has inflicted harsh conditions on 150 million Nigerian people to whom the President is accountable.
The group alleged in the letter that the Saudi government has unfortunately been part of the conspiracy, which has continued to deny Nigerians of the truth about the health situation of their president - whether he's still alive or not, improving or worsening in his health condition.
The letter signed by Nigerians in the United Kingdom, including former Minister of the Federal Capital Terrotory, Nasir el-Rufai, implored the Saudi King to respond promptly to its letter to avert a repeat of the situation in 1983, when the military government of General Muhammadu Buhari was toppled while he was away in Saudi, a situation which it said the Saudi Kingdom found embarrassing.
The letter read: “We the under-listed concerned citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria address this open letter of appeal to your government to reveal to Nigerians the exact location and state of health of our president, Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, who we believe has been your guest and patient in one of your hospitals since November 23, 2009. This Open Letter of Appeal has become necessary because a nation of nearly 150 million has not seen or heard of its president for six weeks without any credible information.”
“Your Royal Highness, Umaru Yar'Adua is not a private patient but our President and an employee accountable to millions of people. Information about his physical and mental well-being cannot be subject to the usual medical confidentiality of any ordinary citizen. This information should not be kept secret from the people he leads. Sadly, we must admit, that our current government has failed to be truthful and transparent about the extent of infirmity of our president.
“In the eyes of many Nigerians, the Saudi government has by default, become part of the conspiracy of secrecy that threatens to destabilize our democracy. Because without information on whether the president is alive or dead, permanently or temporarily infirm, the appropriate provisions of our Constitution cannot take effect to deepen and broaden our democracy. The effect of this leadership vacuum on our nation's peace, progress and orderliness is self-evident, your Highness...,” the letter read.
As the Crown Prince of your Kingdom, you took charge of the affairs of state when your elder brother, King Fahd of blessed memory, became ill. Also, when Crown Prince Sultan departed for the United States for treatment on November 23rd, 2008, the Saudi public was made aware of the progress in his treatment leading to his return to the Kingdom on December 10, 2009. Leadership of nation-states is and must be continuous, and Nigerians need your intervention for our countryís young democracy to survive.
ìYou may recall that our shared mutual history has shown that there is a tendency for adventurists to take advantage of the vacuum caused by prolonged visits of top Nigerian government functionaries to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to stage a coup díetat as was the case when the government of Nigeria under the leadership of Major Generals Muhammadu Buhari and Tunde Idiagbon was overthrown in 1985 as a direct consequence of Tunde Idiagbonís prolonged stay in your country. This action severely embarrassed the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and set a precedent. In view of this, it is our desire to forestall any such act by military adventurists by requesting for accurate information from the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which will enable the Nigerian people take advantage of the clauses in our constitution which provide for orderly continuity in government in the event that the president is incapacitated by illness,î the letter stated.