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Monday, January 24, 2011

Cable: Nigerian president had kidney transplant

Lagos — LATE President Umaru Yar'Adua had a kidney transplant in 2002 while still a state governor in Katsina State, but avoided having another one while he was President over fears it would cause unrest, according to diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks.

Late President Umar Yar'Adua...had kidney transplant in 2002. The cables suggest the country's top power brokers in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, knew about Yar'Adua's condition, but still propped him up to become the winning presidential candidate in 2007. Aides to the President stuffed his clothes to hide his weight loss and used makeup to hide his pallor, the cables claim, but his illness ultimately led to a long absence from the country that fuelled public discontent.

Yar'Adua died in May 2010, propelling Vice President Goodluck Jonathan into the presidency. Jonathan recently became the ruling party's presidential candidate for the coming April election, upsetting a balance of power in the country. Wikileaks quoted a diplomatic cable from February 2009 as stating: "What is clear is that the president's health is a matter of growing concern, particularly on the minds of the northern Nigerian elite. We have noted a considerable uptick in what appears to be behind-the-scenes machinations and back-room dealing.