Written by Suleiman M. Bisalla:
President Umaru Musa Yar’adua’s health condition is nowhere as bad as people are saying, Chief Imam of the Abuja National Mosque Ustaz Musa Mohammed said last night after a brief meeting with Yar’adua.
Uztaz Mohamed, who arrived at the National Mosque to lead the Maghrib [sunset] prayers a few minutes late, rose as soon as the prayers were over and apologised for his lateness, saying it was because three other Muslim clerics and himself went to see Yar’adua.
According to the Chief Imam, when they arrived at the residence, they were promptly ushered in to see Yar’adua, and that they found him seated alongside his wife, Hajia Turai, with his Aide-de-Camp [ADC] standing to his left. Uztaz Mohamed said when they approached, President Yar’adua extended his hand and shook each one of them. He said they then sat down and raised their hands to offer prayers for his recovery, and that Yar’adua also raised his hands and prayed along with them. When the prayers ended, he said, they rose to leave and Yar’adua again extended his hand and shook each one of them. They left his presence at 6:13 pm and hurried to the National Mosque for the Mahgrib prayers, he said.
The other clerics who went with Ustaz Musa are Sheikh Isa Pantami, Sheik Yakubu Musa and the President of the Supreme Council of Sharia in Nigeria, Sheik Ibrahim Datti Ahmed.
Uztaz Mohamed told the same story again to the prayer congregation shortly after the Isha prayers at about 8.10pm last night, and he expressed surprise at the way the president’s state of health is being “exaggerated” by the news media. He also led the congregation to pray for Yar’adua’s full recovery and he enjoined Muslims across the country to do the same.
Soon after the Isha prayers ended, our reporters approached the Chief Imam, who appeared to be elated by the encounter. He again confirmed that he saw Yar’adua alongside three others and said the president’s health was much better than Nigerians have been made to believe.
“When we were ushered in, we met him and his wife [The first Lady Hajiya Turai] seated side by side while his Aide de Camp (ADC) standing to his left side. He stretched his hands and shook each one of us beginning with Ibrahim Datti Ahmed followed by myself and the others.
“We then proceeded to the prayer session where we all rose up our hands and prayed with the President. After we prayed together with him, he again shook hand hands and left at exactly 6:13 pm.
When he was asked him whether they had any discussion with the President, Ustaz Musa said that was not their mission to the Villa. He said he and the three others had sought to see the President only to pray for his full recovery so that he can resume office soonest. The short interview was conducted with several dozen worshippers surrounding the Imam, taking great interest in the story he was telling.
Daily Trust learnt that the three other clerics who accompanied Uztaz Mohamed to the Villa were Dr. Ibrahim Datti Ahmad, Sheikh Yakubu Musa and Sheikh Isa Pantami. When Daily Trust contacted Dr. Datti Ahmad on phone last night, he confirmed that the meeting took place and said they were very happy with the situation in which they found Yar’adua.
Leader of the Izala Muslim sect in Katsina Sheikh Yakubu Musa was also contacted by Daily Trust last night and he confirmed the story. He said the four of them met with Yar’adua, shook hands twice and prayed with him and also had “a brief exchange” with him. Sheikh Yakubu however said he would need permission from his movement’s national leaders before he would speak at length.
Daily Trust also learnt yesterday that in recent days, Yar’adua has been receiving many visitors. On Wednesday, he received several people including Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State, who is his son-in-law, business mogul Alhaji Dahiru Barau Mangal, who is a close political associate of Yar’adua’s, as well as Alhaji Shehu Inuwa Imam. In earlier days, Yar’adua met with several members of his extended family, including his mother and sisters. He also met with several personal aides, including his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Olusegun Adeniyi.
Daily Trust also learnt arrangements have been made for him to meet with Senate President David Mark and Speaker Dimeji Bankole, but that no meeting has as yet been scheduled with Acting President Goodluck Jonathan. An aide told Daily Trust that Yar’adua turned down a suggestion to meet with Jonathan.
Sources close to Yar’adua had told Daily Trust about ten days ago that the president was planning to resume work as early as this week, although another family source had said at the time that Yar’adua would not resume work until the end of April.
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