Nigerian president Umaru Musa Yar'Adua has spoken to the BBC, and highlights from the interview can be streamed online here. Speaking in both Hausa and English, Mr. Yar'Adua told Mansur Liman from the BBC Hausa service that he was getting better from treatment in Saudia Arabia for pericarditis and other ailments. "I hope that very soon there will be tremendous progress, which will allow me to get back home... As soon as my doctors discharge me, I will return to Nigeria to discharge my duties."
Although he has now spoken from his private clinic in Saudia Arabia, the Nigerian president is not threatening to take much action over the pressing issue which is on the minds of most Nigerians. Large street rallies and demonstrations are reported today from Abuja, the Nigerian capital. Wole Soyinka and other leading Nigerian dissidents are demanding action against the United States for its treatment of Nigerian passengers flying through American airports. These may force the hand of the legislative branch to take action in spite of the passive response of their executive.
Yar'Adua has refused to turn the reins of power over to his vice president, Goodluck Jonathan. In the midst of the crisis over Nigeria's homegrown underwear bomber, Attorney General Michael Aondoakaa did step up to issue an executive opinion on the issue. Addressing a world press conference in Abuja attended by Lanre Adewole of the Nigerian Tribune, Mr. Aondoakaa advocated a more diplomatic approach in contrast to the ultimatum of the Nigerian Senate. This diplomatic approach does not appear to have found favor, however, with the Nigerian public. Being that today is the last day of the Nigerian Senate's "ultimatum," perhaps we will see a more strident statement from the legislative branch than we have from the executive.
Dismay over Yar'Adua's passive response to this international affair has been voiced not only by his political enemies but also by many journalists, scholars, and bloggers read widely in Western countries. It has been over a week, for example, since Todd Moss penned a widely read post entitled "Where in the world is Nigeria's president??" Bolaji Aluko, the Nigerian Muse asked the very same question again, directing it to those who should be the most concerned. Related comments from other Nigerian bloggers include:
"Nigeria's president absent during crisis" by Solomonsydelle at Nigerian Curiosity.
Babajidesalu is also a must read for a humorous take on this all too serious turn of events at JideSaluDiary
(Tip of my cap on Friday's AG conference to the Caretaker).