Last week, four Muslim clerics led by Sheik Ibrahim Datti Ahmad, the president, Supreme Council of Sharia rekindled the debate over the health of President Umaru Musa Yar’adua by visiting the ailing President.
According to Datti, they were at the seat of power- the Aso Rock Villa, following a request to be allowed access to the ailing president; a request which he claimed was approved by first lady, Turai Yar’adua.
Narrating the very brief encounter they had, Datti claimed that they met the president seated with his wife when they were ushered in, had a hand shake each with him and subsequently prayed for him to have good health. Datti was of the opinion that Yar’adua was fast recuperating, despite having admitted that the president could barely speak. He was even quoted to have warned those exercising power on behalf of Yar’adua to be cautious. This was seen as a subtle warning to acting President Goodluck Jonathan not to rock the boat as President Yar’adua may likely resume soon.
Political observers were quick to accuse those Muslim religious leaders of exceeding the limits of their religious calling by acting as ready tools in the hands of the cabal surrounding the president. Such critics were quick to point out that since the Muslim clerics were not medical practitioners, which begs the question how did they arrive at their conclusion? And again why was it that all the four clerics that visited were of Northern extraction and of the same religious persuasion with the president? Even Christian religious leaders were quick in drawing conclusions, accusing Yar’adua’s cabal of religious bigotry.
As if in response to this, the ailing president was said to have prayed with some Christian religious leaders in Abuja on Monday, April 5, 2010, four days after he met with the Datti group. This group, also of four was led by Archbishop John Onaiyekan, President of the Christian Association of Nigeria. The group claimed they were at the Villa on invitation, although they did not specify from whom, but they claimed it was to pray for President Yar’adua.
According to Rev Prof Yusuf Obaje, one time Chaplain of the State House who was one of the four, they had a prayer session with the president that lasted barely 10 minutes, but he declined any comment on the state of the president’s health. Both visits were not covered by the media.
Nigerians are worried that despite all evidences that the president is for now incapacitated, a cabal made up of a few greedy Nigerians continues to devise ways and means of deceiving Nigerians about the health status of their president for selfish reasons. In the process, more harm is being done to the president’s health by being held captive literally in the presidential villa in Abuja instead of seeking a comprehensive medical treatment for the ailing first gentleman in the United States or Europe.
Those trying to present President Yar’adua as though he is recovering when he certainly isn’t may not be able to do so for long because the Federal Executive Council has just been reconstituted and it will not take long for this all important body to decide on whither Nigeria? Whichever way that decision goes, Yar’adua and the dreaded cabal will lose.