By Luka Binniyat
SIX days after returning from Saudi-Arabia in a futile search for ailing President Umaru Yar’Adua, the five-man delegation of the House of Representatives failed to submit a report of their visit to the House last Thursday.
But sources from office of the leader of the delegation said though the Reps were not allowed to see the President, Nigerian Embassy Staff in Saudi Arabia and close relations of the Saudi Monarch painted a grim picture of the President
Leader of the delegation, Hon.Baba Shehu Agaie (PDP/Niger), representing North Central, is also the Deputy minority leader of the House. Hon. Ali Ndume (ANPP/Borno) who stood in for the North East in the delegation is Leader of the Minority in the House. Others are Hon. Patrick Ikhariale (South-South). Hon. Maruf Fatai (South West), Hon. Jubril Adamu (North West) and Hon. Nnenna Ukeje (South East). Ukeje did not make the trip. She said at a press conference that she was schemed out of the trip because she was resolute in her demand that the ailing president respect Section 145 of the 1999 constitution, a position that was at variance with the resolution of the House at that time.
After procrastinating for about a month, the 5-man delegation left for Saudi Arabia last Sunday.
The source said that the delegation was well received by the Nigerian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Abdullah Aminchi and embassy staff.
“The Honourable members were briefed by the embassy on what they knew about the condition of the president, and they warned the members that they may never be allowed to see the President”, said the source.
The Ambassador was said to have informed them that even he, as a Nigerian saw the president about two months back.
This was said to have surprised the Reps, who knew that Aminchi was his deputy for eight years when he was Governor of Katsina State.
But the members, all the same insisted that they had a mandate of the Nigerian parliament to see the President and would do nothing less than seeing their President.
Subsequently, the Embassy put together logistics for the movement of the Reps to Jeddah about an hour flight South-West of Riyadh.
On arriving Riyadh, the source said that the Reps checked into a Crown Plaza Hotel Jeddah.
After driving to the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre, in Jeddah, the Reps were told after about four hours waiting that they would not be able to see the President that day on the ground that it was not a visiting day at the hospital. It was gathered by our source that the Hospital was treating an ailing member of the Saudi monarchy, very important government officials and prominent people from other Islamic nations.
“The Hospital is a heaven of its own, and the members marvelled at how such a facility could ever be built on an Arab soil”, said Saturday Vanguard source.
The sources said that on Tuesday someone who claimed to be very connected to the Saudi King, promised to get a note from the King so that the doctors and security network would make special arrangement for them to see the President, even if they did not speak to him. But by nightfall, it was apparent that it was not going to be feasible.
By Thursday, the Reps members were briefed by a Medical Doctor said to be of Asian stock on why the President could not be seen, said our source.
“They were told that he was kept away from visitors because his condition was so delicate that any opportunistic infection, can reverse all the efforts made so far on him”, the source said.
“The doctor was said to be very apologetic but stuck to his ground that the Nigerian President cannot be allowed to see anyone outside the three people that have been ‘prepared’ to see him once or twice daily”, he said.
They are his wife, his Chief Security Officer and the Aide de Camp.
“That day, one of the Ministers of the Kingdom also addressed them. He told them that Ya’Adua’s treatment is on the Bill of the Government of Saudi”, said our source. “The official said that Nigeria should have nothing to worry about as all efforts are being made to revive the sick President”, our sources added.
The wife of the President, Hajia Turai Yar’Adua sent words to them through the Chief Security Officer to the President, that she would see them the following day, the source said.
“Before then, Turai had learnt about the decision of the National Assembly to make Vice President Jonathan Goodluck Acting President with executive powers”, said our source.
“True to her words, the President’s wife, who was said to have looked unkempt, distraught and haggard, met with the Reps”, he said.
The source said that the First Lady received the solidarity message of the House, and told them that she was grateful on behalf of the President and other family members. She said that the President was fast recovering and that she was grateful for all the prayers offered on his behalf by all Nigerians.
“From God comes power and only him can give or take it as he wishes,” she was said to have told them, said our source. After a brief prayer sessions, the Nigerian First Lady left. But our sources said that the Reps were told privately that the President is a shadow of himself. That he has no sense of space and time as he cannot on his own do anything.
But Hon. Hon. Patrick Ikhariale left for Spain to join the House Committee on Communication, while Hon. Jubril Adamu went to London to attend to personal matters.
By Saturday, the three Reps members arrived the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on board an Emirate Airline.
But since their arrival, mum has been their word. However, during last Thursday’s plenary session, Ali Ndume, raised a Point-of-Order, saying that they have prepared a report on their visit but that he was surprised that the report had not been submitted to the House four days after they signed it.
Leader of the delegation, Agaie explained that the report had not been tabled for consideration because the two members who had left for other countries while they were in Saudi Arabia had not yet endorsed the Report.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Dimeji Bankole, gave the members up to next Tuesday to submit the Report.
In an exclusive chat with Saturday Vanguard, the leader of Action Congress in the House, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila said that though the AC, in the House never objected to the visits, the outcome was worth the effort. “I am happy that they attempted to see that President. Though we are yet to get the report, I can tell you that it has been confirmed that the President is not capable of ruling this country again”, he said. “Wait and see what will happen on Tuesday”, he said.
President Yar’Adua was flown to Saudi on the 23rd of November last year a heart condition called pericarditis. Renal failure is an established cause of pericardial disease, including pericarditis and pericardial effusions, and a less frequent cause of chronic constrictive pericarditis.
Advances in management have decreased the incidence of pericarditis in patients with renal failure but the problem is still associated with significant morbidity and occasional mortality.
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