The Yar’Adua we saw, by cleric who visited Villa

Thursday, April 8, 2010

By Vincent Ikuomola and Sunday Oguntola.
The four Christian leaders, who visited the President on Easter Monday, returned to Aso Villa, yesterday to see Acting President Goodluck Jonathan.

It could not be ascertained why they visited Dr Jonathan about 48hours after their visit to ailing President Umaru Yar’Adua. Besides, details of their meeting remained secret last night.

The clerics – Catholic Archbishop of Abuja and Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) President John Onaiyekan, founder of the Living Faith Church (aka Winners’ Chapel) Bishop David Oyedepo, former Aso Villa chaplain Prof. Yesufu Obaje and Throne Room Trust Ministry Pastor Emmanuel Kure – met Dr Jonathan, shortly after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.

Despite pressure, the clerics declined comments.

One of them, who pleaded for anonymity, later relived their meeting with Yar’Adua.

"It will be the miracle of the century if the President returns to office," he said.

The cleric, who spoke outside the Villa, said Yar’Adua was really in a bad shape when the team met with him.

He said: "The truth of the matter is that if we are to start saying what we saw, we would be seen as rocking the boat and abusing our privilege to the State House. But the gospel truth is, the man is in a terrible state.

"He was motionless, just lying on a chair without talking or shaking. Though his eyes were wide open, one could not say for sure if he was really seeing anything or anybody. So, the information that he shook hands and looked well remains a far cry from what we saw."

The cleric explained that judging by the President’s state, it would take "a big heart of faith to believe he can survive. In fact, I left feeling like it would be the miracle of the century for him to recover and return to office".

On why the clerics did not speak on their visit, he said: "You must realise we are not under any obligation to disclose what we saw. I think it is the duty of the Presidency to inform the public of the President’s condition. Moreso, we were only invited to pray, not for fact-finding. So, people should understand it would be difficult for us to say this and this is what the President looks like."

The team, he said would pay more of such visits to the Presidential Villa. "The meeting is a continuum. We hope God heals the man because he appears to have a good heart," said the cleric.

Earlier at the Villa, the clerics were seen by our reporter leaving Jonathan’s office in company of Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission, John Okpara.

They discussed briefly at the corridor of the Villa before moving to the car park.

They kept mum as reporters bombarded them with questions. "Why are you here sirs?

"Has it anything to do with your visit to the President on Monday? What did you discuss with him?"

Kure and Obaje had told reporters that they came to pray for the President’s quick recovery.

Their visit was preceded by that of some Islamic clerics.


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