Yar'Adua Steps Aside For Two Weeks; Jonathan Takes Over – May Travel Abroad For Medical Attention

No Comments » January 24th, 2009 posted by // Categories: Nigeriawatch


Yar’adua begins 2-week leave Monday


Written by Mohammed S. Shehu   
Saturday, 24 January 2009

After weeks of speculations about another trip by President Umaru Musa Yar’adua to seek medical treatment abroad, the Presidency yesterday confirmed that the President will be proceeding on a two-week leave. 

A statement from the Presidency signed by Mahmud Yayale Ahmed, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, said the leave will commence Monday, January 26.

“President Umaru Musa Yar’adua, GCFR, will be proceeding on a two-week leave with effect from Monday, 26th January, 2009,” Yayale Ahmed said.

While the President is away, the statement said all matters requiring his attention will be attended to by Vice President Goodluck Jonathan.

The President is expected to resume on Monday, February 9.

However, the statement was not clear whether Yar’adua will be going on a medical trip but a national newspaper had reported last week Friday, January 16, that Yar’adua was preparing to travel to an undisclosed country for an eight-week medical check from January 26.

The report quoted a Special Assistant in the presidency as saying that aides and ministers were trying to get approvals for government business ahead of Yar’adua’s departure in 10 days’ time.

“I’m not going to react to that story, whether it is true or false papers can go ahead speculating on the health of Mr. President. I won’t talk about it,” presidential spokesman Olusegun Adeniyi was quoted as saying in a Reuters report.

Yar’adua who is believed to have chronic kidney problems, travelled to Saudi Arabia for more than two weeks in August last year.


Yar’Adua Steps Aside For Two Weeks; Jonathan Takes Over – May Travel Abroad For Medical Attention

By Idowu Samuel and Clement Idoko – 24.01.2009

President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua has temporarily stepped aside from intense official schedules as he opts for a two-week leave. The decision by the President to proceed on a two-week leave has however fuelled speculations about his urgent need of medical attention as attested to by those who have been working closely with him.

From close observation, the President has of late not been radiating signs of being in perfect condition of health, especially as his gaits and gestures have been suggesting.

Top sources at the Presidency had hinted Saturday Tribune that President Yar’Adua has been at the mercy of marabouts and spiritual healers brought from a section of the country and the neighbouring African countries to attempt a spiritual healing on his behalf.

The Presidency had only recently debunked a new story that the President was due for an urgent medical check-up abroad, as one of the top aides to the President complained bitterly against the report, expressing dismay that the content depicted the President as ill again.

The Presidency had however, indicated that while President Yar’Adua would be away on leave, his Deputy, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan would be attending to state matters that require his attention.

This appears to have been a departure from the past experience in which case the president would be traveling out of Nigeria and refraining from handing over power to the Vice President.

A terse press statement issued and signed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed on the President’s leave, reads, “His Excellency, President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua (GCFR) will be proceeding on a two-week leave with effect from Monday 26, January 2009.

“While he is away on leave, matters requiring his attention will be attended to by His Excellency, the Vice President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan (GCON).

Feelers from the Presidency however, indicated that Yar’Adua may use the opportunity of his two-week leave to travel out of the country for medical attention as he would have been covered for the time he would be out of the country by the leave.

The president has been taking exception to the manner his health condition has been a subject of public discourse and indeed a subject of media speculations as he had demonstrated his aversion to that issue by instituting a legal action against a regional daily based in Abuja which speculated that he was seriously ill.

Mid 2008, President Yar’Adua left the shores of Nigeria in a controversial circumstance when none of his aides could give account of his whereabouts, while the media, both local and international, had field days speculating on his health condition which they all concluded was in bad shape.

It was widely speculated that the President underwent a surgery at a named Hospital in Saudi Arabia, while rumour began to swell back home that he was dead. Till date, there has been no official statement indicating that the President did not undergo a surgery.



Yar’Adua Begins Annual Leave Monday

By Innocent Oweh, Correspondent, Abuja


President Umaru Yar’Adua is to proceed on annual vacation beginning from Monday, it emerged on Friday amid speculations he may jet out of the country for another medical attention.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Yayale Ahmed, said in a terse statement in Abuja that Vice President, Goodluck Jonathan, would stand in while his boss is away.

There was no specific word on why the President is proceeding on leave.

There were insinuations last year that Yar’Adua did not formally hand over to Jonathan when he was on lesser Hajj – a situation which nearly sparked off constitutional crisis when the President did not return on time.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo never proceeded on any official leave during his eight-year rule, although he was renown for globetrotting which always attracted public jeers.

Yayale said in the statement: “Excellency, President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, will be proceeding on a two-week leave with effect from Monday, 26th January, 2009. While Mr. President is away on leave, all matters requiring his attention will be attended to by His Excellency, the Vice President, Goodluck Jonathan.”

Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution specifies: “Whenever the President transmits to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives a written declaration that he is proceeding on vacation or that he is otherwise unable to discharge the functions of his office, until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary such functions shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.”

It was not clear yesterday if the President formally communicated his desire to go on vacation to the National Assembly.

A source in Aso Rock, however, told Saturday Independent that the President “very likely to travel out.”

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