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Nigerian ruling party presidential candidate seeking medical care, party officials say

Nigerian ruling party presidential candidate seeking medical care, party officials say

The ruling party candidate for Nigeria's crucial presidential elections is undergoing medical consultations related to a kidney ailment, party officials said.
Katsina Governor Umar Yar'Adua, of the People's Democratic Party, is "with his doctors" because of a kidney complaint, said a party official, who spoke on condition of anonymity citing prohibitions on dealing with the media.
A statement issued Tuesday by the party, which gave no specifics on the state of Yar'Adua's health, said he had met with doctors, and indicated he had left the country.
"A decision was subsequently taken today that the process of medical investigation could benefit from facilities overseas," it said.
"Accordingly, Governor Yar'Adua is expected to be briefly away for the completion of a medical process which began today in Nigeria. There is no cause for alarm," it said.
Yar'Adua, age 56, had previously disclosed a kidney ailment, raising questions in the Nigerian media over his fitness _ an issue he sought to dispel by publicly challenging any doubters to a squash match.
As the nominee for president from the powerful ruling party, Yar'Adua is a presumptive front-runner in the April poll meant to give Nigeria its first-ever chance at a successful civilian-to-civilian transfer of power.
President Olusegun Obasanjo, who is barred from running again by constitutional term limits his supporters tried to overturn, won 1999 elections that ended years of military rule. He won re-election in a 2003 vote the opposition said was rigged.
With little democratic tradition, Yar'Adua's elimination from the race could cause potentially dangerous jockeying by members of Nigeria's political elite, many of whom are involved in the country's oil industry _ Africa's largest.
There have already been political-related killings in the campaign, and crime and militancy is on the rise in the southern oil regions before the vote.
Obasanjo's vice president and one-time ally before a falling out over the attempted term extension, Atiku Abubakar, is also competing to head up Africa's most-populous nation.
But he is embroiled in corruption allegations that could potentially derail his candidacy. He maintains his innocence, calling the accusations politically based.
Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, a former military leader, is also considered a top candidate in the April 21 vote.
With 140 million people, one in five sub-Saharan Africans are from Nigeria. It is the continent's biggest oil producer, but years of corrupt governance have left the country's people among the world's poorest. After a series of coups d'etat following Nigeria's independence from Britain in 1960, the April vote is meant to cement civilian rule in Nigeria.


Updated : 2021-10-21 14:15 GMT+08:00