By ITaiwo Adisa:

CONTRARY to the belief that Hajia Turai Yar’Ádua, wife of the ailing President, Umaru Yar’Adua, has been shielding people from her sick husband in order to keep his condition away from the public, it has been revealed that the First Lady’s action was dictated by the fear of infection from visitors.

A reliable source told the Saturday Tribune in Abuja that the family did not want Yar’Adua to have any contact with visitors because of the low level of his immune system.

According to the source, the illness had so much reduced the immune system of the president that visits from people would most likely result in fresh infections, which might further aggravate his situation.
The source recalled that the problem was first noticed in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia  where the president spent three months receiving medical attention for his sickness.

It also recalled that the First Lady and the medical team handling the president had to begin restricting access to the president in Saudi Arabia after Yar’Adua’s conditions worsened, following one of such visits.

“It was to prevent recurring infections that the First Lady stopped people from visiting him,”the source said. “If it is because of keeping his condition out of public view alone,” the source went on, “why are they preventing even very close friends and family members from seeing him?” the source asked.

“If it were for the sake of confidentiality of his (Yar’Adua) condition, they would not have prevented some rabid supporters of the president from seeing him,” he argued. However, Saturday Tribune spoke to a consultant cardiologist at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, yesterday on the current situation of the ailing president.

The cardiologist, who prefers to remain anonymous because he was not permited to make public comments, said the decision to keep visitors away from President Yar’Adua was as a result of his low immunity, therefore the environment where he is recuperating must be  as sterile as possible.

“Since one does not have the full details of the situation, it is probable that his people are insisting that the environment may be contaminated. “The actual picture can only be revealed by his physician. He is still under intensive care. The fear is, if just visiting him will compound his immunity system, I doubt if he will be able to perform any public function for now. The full details should be made available to Nigerians.”

Meanwhile, as of press time on Friday, the Acting President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, has not been allowed to see his boss. It was gathered that following the refusal of Hajia Turai to allow Jonathan to see Yar’Adua on Wednesday evening, the First Lady has not re-opened the matter. The acting president, it was gathered, has decided not to request again to see Yar’Adua until the first family invites him to do so.

…As Anti-Jonathan Propaganda Floods The North
By Taiwo Adisa, Group Political Editor

IT emerged during the week that First Lady, Hajia Turai Yar’Adua, flatly rejected calls that her husband’s office should inform the National Assembly of his return to the country in line with Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution, just as anti-Jonathan propaganda had begun to gain grounds in parts of the north.

At a meeting on Wednesday in Abuja between her and some close aides of the president, Hajia Turai was said to have shouted down suggestions that the president’s office should inform the National Assembly of Yar’Adua’s return to the country. It was a curious twist from the First Lady and a source said that the staff that suggested the move was thoroughly embarrassed.

But sources said that Turai, who is the only one that knows the true state of Yar’Adua’s health, was more aware that her husband was not in a situation to take charge of the country in his present state. Besides, the First Lady, who has fenced off all callers to the presidency, wishing to see her husband, is aware that the man is in coma and could not talk to anyone.

“It was a strange scene at the brief meeting. One of the aides had suggested that the office should write the National Assembly to intimate the lawmakers that Yar’Adua is back. But surprisingly, the First Lady shouted down the advice. She was touched and it showed in her countenance that things are not in order,” the source stated.

It was confirmed that as a result of the need to keep information flow out of the reach of the uninitiated, the First Lady has ordered a general reshuffle of the immediate security aides of the president, especially those who did not go with the team that went to Saudi Arabia. Even in Saudi Arabia, it was gathered that only a few people had limited access to the president’s hospital bed and that most of the security aides related to the Chief Security Officer (CSO) and on some rare occasions, the aide-de-camp (ADC).

If Yar’Adua had written the National Assembly to intimate it of his return, power would have effectively reverted to him and he would have been expected to take charge of the affairs of the country.

But sources continued to insist that the ailing president may have become a victim of circumstances as he is not in control of his situation. The source said that the president’s condition had not improved in any way and that he remained in coma, even before he was flown into the country in an air ambulance in the early hours of Wednesday, February 24.

Notwithstanding the growing concern that light is fast dimming on the Yar’Adua  presidency, sources told ST that some forces had flagged off an anti-Jonathan campaign in some states of the north.

It was gathered that there were jubilations in some states on hearing the news that the ailing president had returned to the country, but that some people were also colouring the celebration by insinuating that Jonathan had wiped out some major contracts meant to bring succour to the north within two weeks.

One of such projects being mentioned as points of blackmail for Jonathan, according to sources, is the N90 billion fund set aside to mitigate the effects of River Niger dredging on the communities along the waterway.

According to sources, the acting president had read the report of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) team on the dredging of River Niger and was fully aware of the use the money was to be put.

“The report of the EIA on River Niger dredging says that all the communities along the coast must be protected. To prevent flooding and subsequent creation of environmental problems, the acting president has seen all the reports and he is aware of the funds application, there is nothing like using the funds to provide water in any part of the country; insinuation to that effect is pure blackmail,” a source said on Friday.

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