Yaradua Rejected a second kidney transplant – Wikileaks

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

The cables suggested Nigeria’s top power brokers in its ruling People’s 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 claimed but his illness ultimately led to a long absence that fueled 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. WikiLeaks publicly released the cables late Saturday night. A spokesman at the U.S. Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, said officials would have no comment on anything released by the website.

A diplomatic cable from June 2008 claimed Yar’Adua first began experiencing renal failure in 1999, just after he became governor. The cable said German company, Julius Berger, one of the dominant road construction firms in Nigeria, set up a dialysis clinic in Yar’Adua’s home. The firm later would fly German experts in and out of Nigeria to privately treat Yar’Adua, they claimed. The cables claimed Yar’Adua received the transplant in 2002 from a donor. who later served as minister in his administration.

The discolorations long noticed on Yar’Adua’s face, fueling rumors about his ill health, came from the steroids doctors gave him to help his body accept the transplant, according to the cables. Doctors apparently told Yar’Adua he needed a second transplant and and a donor was sent to Germany to be checked as a possible donor, according to the cable. However, a planned trip got put on hold over political calculation.

The president’s health continued to worsen. Yar’Adua left Nigeria on Nov. 23, 2009, to seek medical treatment in Saudi Arabia. His physician later told journalists Yar’Adua suffered from acute pericarditis, an inflammation of the sac surrounding the heart. However, Yar’Adua’s stay in Saudi Arabia drifted from days to weeks to months, stalling government activity in a nation vital to U.S. oil supplies. Yar’Adua returned to Nigeria in late February 2010, but never appeared publicly. He died May 5.

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