By Geoffrey Ekenna:
Although he is no longer on life support, the Nigerian Compass on Saturday learnt, the President is hardly audible.
“He has lost weight considerably but is no longer on life support and now recognises people,” a source said last night.
The source confirmed that the President, who has not been seen since November 23 last year when he was flown out of the country, has regained consciousness. The voice therapists are to help the President regain his voice.
“He is being fed five times daily and sleeps most afternoons and is awake at nights,” another Presidency source disclosed.
It was learnt on authority that Yar’Adua is still in the Aso Rock villa in Abuja, adding that the Acting President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan might have seen him.
On Wednesday this week, Dr. Jonathan consolidated his hold on power by sacking the cabinet, which had failed to invoke section 144 of the 1999 Constitution by determining the fitness of the President to continue in office, after being incommunicado for about four months.
The section states: 144. (1) The President or Vice-President shall cease to hold office, if –
(a) by a resolution passed by two-thirds majority of all the members of the executive council of the Federation it is declared that the President or Vice-President is incapable of discharging the functions of his office; and
(b) the declaration is verified, after such medical examination as may be necessary, by a medical panel established under subsection (4) of this section in its report to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
(2) Where the medical panel certifies in the report that in its opinion the President or Vice-President is suffering from such infirmity of body or mind as renders him permanently incapable of discharging the functions of his office, a notice thereof signed by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall be published in the Official Gazette of the Government of the Federation.
(3) The President or Vice-President shall cease to hold office as from the date of publication of the notice of the medical report pursuant to subsection (2) of this section.
(4) the medical panel to which this section relates shall be appointed by the President of the Senate, and shall comprise five medical practitioners in Nigeria:-
(a) one of whom shall be the personal physician of the holder of the office concerned; and
(b) four other medical practitioners who have, in the opinion of the President of the Senate, attained a high degree of eminence in the field of medicine relative to the nature of the examination to be conducted in accordance with the foregoing provisions.
(5) In this section, the reference to “executive council of the Federation” is a reference to the body of Ministers of the Government of the Federation, howsoever called, established by the President and charged with such responsibilities for the functions of government as the President may direct.
The National Assembly has also refrained from considering impeachment proceedings against the President, but passed a resolution empowering Jonathan to act as President.
The international community has, however, expressed support for the acting President, while the civil society groups in the country have held several street campaigns demanding to know the whereabouts of the President who was brought into the country from Saudi Arabia, in the dead of the night. The protesters also demanded that in the absence of a clear word on the president’s health, the acting President should be sworn in, in a substantive capacity.
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