- Nigeria’s President, Umaru Yar'Adua has been admitted at a hospital in Saudi Arabia, reportedly for a heart problem.
Mr Yar’Adua who is reportedly responding well to the treatment, went to Saudi Arabia on Monday for what was officially said to be for medical check-up after complaining of severe chest pains.
A presidential spokesman, Olusegun Adeniyi, said Mr Yar’Adua was diagnosed as having pericarditis, or inflammation of the lining around the heart, that can stop the heart from beating normally.
President Yar’Adua has traveled to Saudi Arabia in the past for treatment for a chronic kidney problem, raising questions about whether he will be fit enough to run for a second term in 2011.
Earlier this week, local media published rumours that President Yar'Adua was feared dead, the reports that were outrightly discarded by the government insisting that he is in good health.
"We have received with great shock and dismay the rumours making the rounds about the state of health of the president and wish to state that the president has gone to Saudi Arabia for routine medical check," the statement from the Presidency said.
President Yar'Adua has twice been flown to Germany for emergency treatment and it is the second time he has visited hospitals in Saudi Arabia.
Reports said the President’s ill-health poses a challenge for Nigeria's constitution, stating that if he were to step down or die, he would be replaced by Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan, who is from the country's southern Niger Delta region.
However, according to the ruling People's Democratic Party's own formula for sharing power among the country's regions, the president must be a northerner.
Umaru Yar'Adua of the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) won the presidency following the April 2007 elections which were condemned by local and foreign observers, who alleged widespread vote-rigging.
He had served as governor of the remote northern Katsina state since May 1999.
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