Written by Suleiman Bissalla:
The on-going scramble for positions in a soon to be reconstituted Federal cabinet could shortly hit a brick wall because President Umaru Yar’adua intends to resume duties in his office next week, a top source close to the ailing president told Daily Trust yesterday. However, another family source separately told Daily Trust that Yar’adua will be fit to resume work by the end of next month.
According to the top sources, Yar’adua intends to make a national radio and television broadcast to signal his resumption of work as early as Monday or Wednesday next week. They said Yar’adua may not write a letter to the National Assembly intimating it of his return because he did not transmit a letter before he proceeded on medical vacation, even though his spokesman later said Yar’adua recognised Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as the Acting President.
Both sources said Yar’adua has made much progress physically since his return to the country late last month, and that his remaining medical problem now is speech-related. The sources said the ailing president now walks around the house and also around the garden, where there are many birds and animals.
They said Yar’adua brought a speech therapist with him from the Saudi Arabian hospital and the doctor has been working since then to improve his speech. Both sources said he has made progress in his speech. One of the sources told Daily Trust that Yar’adua’s return to the country last month was “premature,” and that he was brought back before he finished his therapy “for political reasons.”
In the last two weeks, Daily Trust learnt that Yar’adua received several visiting family members, close friends, some political associates, some state governors and also some personal staff, even though he has not yet met with Acting President Goodluck Jonathan. Jonathan and his wife, Dame Patience, however visited the residence and they met with Hajia Turai Yar’adua.
The sources said Yar’adua’s seclusion since his return to the country was ordered by the Saudi doctors because he suffered a severe infection while at the Saudi hospital when he received some visitors. The people who have been able to meet with him after his return, the sources said, were made to go through some disinfecting chambers before they were ushered into his presence. Those procedures have ended now, the sources said.
According to our sources, Yar’adua is not happy with the Acting President for sacking his aides, instituting a probe of his regime’s contract awards and dissolving his council of ministers. It is therefore likely that his resumption of work would severely upstage the on-going selection of new ministers by the Acting President.
Yar’adua first left the country for medical treatment in Saudi Arabia on November 21, last year and returned to the country after 93 days. While he was away, the National Assembly adopted a unanimous resolution in early February to recognise the Vice President as Acting President, despite Yar’adua’s failure to transmit a letter of medical vacation in line with Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution.
Since Yar’adua’s return to the country, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has continued to run the country and has carried out many far-reaching political measures, including dissolving the Federal cabinet last Wednesday.
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