President Umaru Yar'Adua (file)
President Umaru Yar'Adua (file)

Labor officials say it appears they are the last hope, according to VOA reporter Chinedu Offor, who is on travel in Imo State. “They say that efforts to get the courts to force the president’s hand have not worked.  They also say efforts by the opposition have not worked."

For that reason, says Offor, “they’re planning a strike that will paralyze the government to force President Yar’Adua to hand over power to Vice President Goodluck Jonathan.”

The daily activities of Nigerians are also being affected by the president’s long absence, says Offor.  “Contrary to what the government is saying -- that the president’s absence has not slowed down the operations of the government -- you can find that the cost of basic goods [is] going up.”

One example Offor discussed was his flight from Lagos to Warri, which is normally 10-12,000 naira.  On Tuesday, it cost between 16-17,000 naira, a 30% increase.

The cost of petrol has also gone up.  “It used to be about 50 naira to a liter.  Now it goes for 100 naira.  That is about a 50% increase.  The cost of oil and basic foods like rice have all gone up,” says Offor.