- Nigerian elites have called for the resignation of President Umaru Yar'Adua on medical grounds. President Yar'Adua is undergoing treatment for a heart condition in a Saudi hospital since a week ago.
The group expressed concerns over the president’s physical condition, saying it had had a negative impact on his ability to discharge presidential functions properly.
The elites statements comes just a day after Nigerian ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) said Mr Yar'Adua would soon come back from Saudi Arabia.
Mr Yar’Adua went to Saudi Arabia last week Monday for what was officially said to be for medical check-up after complaining of severe chest pains. He was later diagnosed as having pericarditis, or inflammation of the lining around the heart, that can stop the heart from beating normally.
The group further said although they sympathized with the president over his health, the need to provide effective governance for this nation of over 140 million people should not be compromised.
"Within the last few months, he has been unable to attend to crucial affairs of the state at home and abroad and whenever he has found time to do so, his judgment appears impaired by his ill-health," the group’s statement said.
The statement also said his health condition had necessitated several medical trips abroad but he had not transmitted to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives a written declaration that he was proceeding on vacation or that he was, otherwise, unable to discharge his presidential functions as required by Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution.
President Yar’Adua has travelled 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.
Mr Yar'Adua was dogged by ill-health even during the election campaign that brought him to power in 2007.
He won the presidency following the April 2007 elections which were condemned by local and foreign observers, who alleged widespread vote-rigging.
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