Saturday 28 November 2009

Nigeria: Yar'adua's health, a truth but not the whole truth

The truth is somewhere out there

After all the speculation about the health of President Yar’adua of Nigeria, it might have come as a welcome relief that someone has dared to say what ails him.

My concern has been if there is so much about transparency, honesty and truth about his government why amidst the rumours we have all heard it has taken almost three years into his perm to admit to anything.

Before we go away in some sort of contentment at the receipt of knowledge, it is quite surprising that we have from all sorts of sources assumed and believed that the President had a kidney problem.

New news on health

The Economist (Once I find that link, I will publish it)revealed sometime last year that a specialist kidney department was built at the General Hospital in Katsina where the President was once governor, no doubt to cater for his health problem rather than to address a statistical propensity to kidney ailments of the people of Katsina State.

With the revelation of this new acute pericarditis ailment [2] which is an inflammation of the lining around the heart, should one suppose this has been the ailment all along, something has been contributory to this ailment like the open secret of the pre-existing kidney condition or the previous check-ups were just routine where the President simply avails himself of better medical facilities in other countries apart from his own.

There is a reason why courts require on oath to know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

A truth but not the whole truth

As far as this ailment is concerned, we have come upon a truth, I am not convinced it is the whole truth and for how the President has not squared up with us Nigerians about his health and the possibility that keeping his health might just preoccupy him to the extent that he might be inadvertently derelict of his constitutional duties, this is hardly news to base a headline on.

I see this more as a decoy, having fed the frenzy of news seekers with this acute pericarditis ailment that can be cleared in weeks, one might be conned into the satisfaction that his return would herald a complete return to health of the President to assume and execute his duties and functions with new vigour.

It was probably impossible to keep the news of his sudden airlift to Saudi Arabia under wraps even during the Hajj pilgrimage and having visited a hospital, the news was salami-sliced enough to follow the metaphor of the mini-skirt – short enough to keep the interest but also long enough to obfuscate essential detail.

A duty to perform

Now, it is everyone’s wish that the President of the great and good country of Nigeria be in perfect health, we can blandly pray for health since we are unsure except through revelation of the exact ailment – no one wishes him ill, but like one has opined in blogs before, to have faceless people run the country accountable to no one as the President allows rumours of his health to fly about leaving us thinking he is incapacitated rather than able, we are done the greatest disservice.

Opportunity still abounds for a show of honesty and truthfulness by our President and let us hope those opportunities would be taken.

Meanwhile, before we speculate any further on the truth, the lies and the half-truths, let us pray.


BBC News - Nigeria President Umaru Yar'Adua 'has heart problem'

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