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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 March 2007, 12:58 GMT
Nigerian press on death rumour
Umaru Yar'Adua
Umaru Yar'Adua says he is well enough to stand in April's elections
The ill health of Nigeria's ruling party presidential candidate, Umaru Musa Yar'Adua is on the cover of most local dailies, an indication of how important the country's April elections are.

The papers appear to be in a competition to decide who could write bigger banner headlines across all columns on the subject.

Here is a sample of what some of them are saying:

The Guardian

I AM ALIVE AND WELL, SAYS YAR'ADUA - the Lagos-based independent daily newspaper proclaims on its cover.

"From his Mainz Hospital bed in Frankfurt, Germany, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Umar Musa Yar'Adua, yesterday debunked rumours that he was dead or even seriously ill. 'I am alive; I'm responding to treatment,' he told President Olusegun Obasanjo in a televised telephone conversation at Abeokuta, Ogun State."

This Day

The Yar'Adua story is also the main story on the front page of this Lagos-based independent daily. YAR'ADUA: I'VE DISAPPOINTED THOSE WHO WISH ME DEAD, the daily says in a front page headline.

"Reacting to speculation about his health, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Alhaji Umaru Yar'Adua, told THISDAY that he is disappointed in those who wished him dead. Yar'Adua, who is also the governor of Katsina State, was on Tuesday evening flown to Germany for medical treatment, amid speculation he had been taken ill or even died.

"But speaking with THISDAY on the phone last night, Yar'Adua said rather humorously: 'For those who say I am dead, I am very sorry to have disappointed them. I am alive, strong and unstoppable.'"

The Punch

I'M ALIVE - YAR'ADUA is the lead story on the cover of Lagos-based independent daily.

Umaru Yar'Adua [File photo from The Punch]
'I'm alive - Yar'Adua' is The Punch's lead story

The newspaper also has a picture of Mr Yar'Adua in a victory salute and beaming with a smile.

"The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Umar Musa Yar'Adua, on Wednesday said he was alive and responding to treatment in a German hospital. Yar'Adua spoke on the telephone with President Olusegun Obasanjo, who was at the PDP rally in Abeokuta, Ogun State. Obasanjo had, in order to douse the rumour that the PDP presidential candidate had passed on, decided to put a call to Yar'Adua.

Excerpts of the telephone discussion:

Obasanjo: 'Umaru [Yar'Adua] are you dead?'
Yar'Adua: 'I am alive'
Obasanjo: 'What are you doing?'
Yar'Adua: 'I am laughing.'
The President, looking directly at the crowd: 'He is laughing ha! ha!! ha!!!'"

Daily Trust

STORM OVER YAR'ADUA'S HEALTH the Abuja-based daily announced in a big front page banner headline.

Umaru Yar'Adua [File photo from Daily Trust]
The rumour died down after Yar'Adua spoke from his hospital bed
Daily Trust

"After urgent telephone calls to Germany by family members, President Olusegun Obasanjo and several broadcast stations yesterday managed to quench wild rumours that swept the entire country alleging that PDP's presidential candidate, Governor Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, had died.

"The rumour died down after Yar'Adua spoke from his hospital bed to several local and international radio and television stations. He also spoke on the mobile phone to Obasanjo, who held the line open at a party rally in Abeokuta, Ogun state."

Leadership

HOAX 2007: I AM ALIVE - YAR'ADUA, says the Abuja-based independent daily's bold front page headline.

"The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential hopeful, Alhaji Umar Musa Yar'Adua, who was rumoured to have died yesterday spoke from a German hospital. 'I am feeling better. It was a precautionary decision. The doctors have found out that I am fine. I would have returned tomorrow but for a little cold that I have.'"

New Nigerian

The Kaduna-based daily, owned by the Nigerian government's 19 northern states, has two different stories and news analysis dominating its cover on Mr Yar'Adua's ill health.

In heavy, bold black fonts, the daily announces YAR'ADUA HALE, HEARTY - WIFE, PRESIDENCY, PDP CONFIRM CAMPAIGNS CONTINUE.

"THE Presidency, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and wife of the Katsina State Governor Hajiya Turai Umar Yar'Adua yesterday dispelled the wild rumours making the rounds that the PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar'Adua died in a German hospital, saying the governor was hale and hearty.

"Dispelling the rumours at a press conference in Abuja, National Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chief Ojo Maduekwe confirmed that the party's flag bearer was alive and kicking. Nigerians woke up on Tuesday to be confronted with the rumours of purported death of the PDP presidential candidate, which incident was said to have occurred in far away Germany.

"The news, which could not be immediately confirmed until late afternoon yesterday, created anxiety and fear among PDP faithful and the general populace."




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