NIGERIANS remain in the dark about the health of the country's President Umaru Yar'Adua, who has not been seen in public since last year.
Yar'Adua recently spent three months in hospital in Saudi Arabia and there has been no update on his health status since November, when his doctor said he had a serious heart condition.
Even Acting President Goodluck Jonathan has apparently never seen Yar'Adua. But on Tuesday Yar'Adua's family allowed two delegations of Muslim and Christian leaders to visit the ailing president. The visits coincided with the swearing in of new cabinet members.
This prompted critics to charge that Yar'Adua family only allowed the visit in a bid to undermine Jonathan and to show Yar'Adua might be able to return to office.
The religious figures declined to comment on his health.
Yar'Adua stay in hospital in Saudi Arabia caused tension in the country until power was finally handed to Jonathan, who had been vice president.
Senior government official have also not seen Yar'Adua since his return to Nigeria in February, fuelling speculation that his family, especially his wife, Turai, is controlling access to him.
Outspoken Nobel literature laureate Wole Soyinka, has now vowed to send in a request to visit Yar'Adua as a traditional Yoruba Orisa spiritual worshipper, saying visiting the ailing leader should not be a privilege to a few. Some Nigerians now want Yar'Adua to step down. - Sapa-AFP