Nigeria’s President, Umaru Yar’Adua has finally released a statement regarding his latest visit to a hospital in Saudi Arabia. It was probably inspired by swirling rumours of his death.  According to spokesman, Olusegun Adeniyi, the President has acute pericarditis, an affliction of the heart. That may not be all that is afflicting the heart of the President. Asked how the president felt about the rumours of his death, Adeniyi said:

He is a human being, naturally he will feel bad. This is not the first time, the President was aware of the rumour. He felt bad about it as any normal human being would

Well, Mr. Spokesman, feed the people with news and they won’t trawl for rumours. The health of the President is a matter of national interest.  Speaking of which, it is obvious that this recent diagnosis does not explain all the many foreign health visits, the lingering rumours, and the presidential health question marks.  Hopefully, this marks a departure from the counter-productive culture of secrecy. Openness is called for here; and courage to take hard-headed decisions in the interests of the nation – and the president’s  afflicted heart. – Two interests that are not necessarily irreconcilable.

Get well, Mr. President.

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