ABUJA, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Nigerian President Umaru Yar’Adua will remain in Nigeria and not travel abroad during two weeks of leave, his spokesman said on Monday, in an apparent move to douse concern about his health.
The government said on Friday the 57-year-old leader, who is known to have a chronic kidney problem, would be away for two weeks. A presidential aide said he would undergo medical check-ups abroad during that time.
“Mr President will be spending his leave in Nigeria,” presidential spokesman Olusegun Adeniyi said on Monday.
“He will spend a few days in the presidential resort at Obudu cattle ranch, a few days at the Dodan Barracks (presidential retreat in Lagos), and a couple of days in Katsina,” Adeniyi told reporters in the capital Abuja.
Yar’Adua has regularly sought medical treatment in Germany in the past and travelled to Saudi Arabia for more than two weeks last August, where he also received treatment, raising concern about his ability to lead Africa’s most populous nation.
“The vacation has nothing to do with his health. Mr President just needs a time to relax, and have some time to reflect on some issues,” Adeniyi said, when asked if Yar’Adua’s German doctors would be coming to Nigeria.
Under the Nigerian presidential system, ministers must obtain approval for certain expenditures and projects, meaning a prolonged presidential absence could stall government business.
Vice President Goodluck Jonathan will handle state affairs in Yar'Adua's absence, the government said on Friday. (For full Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the top issues, visit: af.reuters.com/ ) (Reporting by Felix Onuah; Writing by Nick Tattersall)