By Yusuf Alli
The President returned from Saudi Arabia this morning – 93 days after he left for medical reasons.
An air ambulance landed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport at 1.46a.m., carrying President Umaru Yar’Adua. Then a presidential jet landed at 1.55a.m. It was carrying presidential aides and First Lady Turai Yar’Adua.
There was excitement on the faces of a small crowd of security personnel and reporters who kept vigil at the airport.
An ambulance moved towards the plane, swarmed by an army of security men. President Yar’Adua was set to board the ambulance for the journey to the Villa at about 2.04a.m.
Security was tight. The Guards Brigade was present. So was the Police Anti-Bomb Unit. People were barred from the tarmac.
The arrival and departure halls were cleared ahead of Yar’Adua’s arrival. Passengers were chased out.
Minister of Federal Capital Territory Adamu Aliero was seen at the airport.
The six-man Federal Government delegation to Saudi Arabia arrived in the kingdom to a friendly weather yesterday. But the mission of the elite team – seeing President Yar’Adua and the Saudi King – failed.
Reason: President Yar’Adua had been suddenly discharged from the King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Jeddah.
Yar’Adua had been in the hospital since November 23, last year for the treatment of acute pericarditis (inflammation of the heart’s covering).
His absence has led to a series of political activities, including the emergence of an Acting President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan – for the first time in the history of Nigeria.
The furore generated by the continued stay of the President in the hospital led to a debate in the Federal Executive Council on the invocation of Section 144.
But the debate suffered a setback last Wednesday as the FEC could only raise a six-man team for a get-well trip to Saudi Arabia.
Investigations by The Nation revealed that the FEC delegation could not see Yar’Adua, let alone meeting with him.
It was gathered that Yar’Adua was discharged at about the same time the FEC delegation arrived in Jeddah.
A member of the delegation, who spoke in confidence with our correspondent at about 6.30pm from Jeddah, said: “The fact is that the President has been discharged and we learnt that he is already heading for Nigeria.
“He is likely to arrive at home in the early hours of Wednesday. We have not met with him.
“As I am talking to you, we are also returning to Nigeria immediately.”
Findings revealed that the Presidency has also received intelligent report on Yar’Adua’s homecoming.
A source said: “There is anxiety in the Presidency because Yar’Adua’s return will change the political game. There is tension everywhere”.
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