The exact date of President Muhammadu Buhari’s return to the country is still a top secret of the presidency. This is just as the wife of the President, Aisha Buhari at the weekend travelled to London where her husband is said to be recuperating.
It was learnt that Mrs. Buhari left for the UK on Sunday and there exists a likelihood of her returning to Nigeria with her husband at a time yet to be officially confirmed.
The president’s wife returned from London last Thursday and proceeded to Owerri, where she attended the 2017 August meeting hosted by women in the state. However, there is nothing on ground to indicate that the president is being expected in Abuja.
Hitherto, the president’s return after being away was usually heralded with preparations with workers of construction giant, Julius Berger cleaning the forecourt in the villa as well as putting other aesthetic touches on the building housing the president’s office.
This time, President Buhari’s long absence has continued to fuel widespread speculations that he is critically ill and indeed on life support, a claim the presidency has consistently denied even as it has failed to provide a definitive time frame for the President’s treatment abroad, saying instead that the length of his stay would be determined by his London doctors.
President Buhari left the shores of Nigeria on Sunday, May 7, on a medical follow-up for an undisclosed ailment at the behest of his doctors in London.Since then, the media have been inundated with speculations over his likely return date, with his media handlers battling to debunk the many news items that daily flood the social media.
Recently, seven selected governors went to visit the president in London and advised him not to return in a hurry, but to take care of his health pending when his doctors give him the green light.
Meanwhile, there were protests yesterday in Abuja calling for the resignation of Buhari.But speaking with State House correspondents yesterday, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said President Buhari has not breached any law of the country and would not resign on account of his ill-health.
He pointed out that President Buhari has complied 100 per cent with the requirements of the constitution by handing over to the vice president who, he said, had been carrying out the affairs of governance without let or hindrance.
“On the issue of whether the president should resign or disclose or whatever, I think they are stepping outside the laws of this country.’’On the protest staged by some Nigerians over the issue in Abuja yesterday, the spokesman said they were exercising their rights as allowed in a democracy.
“They are exercising their rights in line with the constitution of this country. Of what use or value is a democracy in which citizens cannot embark on peaceful protests? So we respect their right to convene or undertake a peaceful protest,” he said.
However, Afenifere’s National Publicity Secretary, Yinka Odumakin, yesterday advised President Buhari to resign honourably.Odumakin who spoke with The Guardian noted that the president could not continue to hold the people to ransom considering the state of the nation.
He stated that the president had not committed any offence due to his absence based on the 1999 constitution.He said: “Based on the 1999 constitution that we are subjected to now, the president has not violated the constitution but based on national interest, he cannot continue to hold the nation to ransom this way, he has to take a decision either to resign honourably or resume.”
While the recovery and return of President Buhari are being awaited, his supporters under the aegis of Buhari Campaign Organisation (BCO) yesterday inaugurated the south-west office of the group and appointed coordinators for the six states in the region. The group is working to reposition the ailing President for contest in 2019.
The National Coordinator of the organisation Alhaji Danladi Pasalli, acknowledged the role of the south-west in BCO. “ We all know that the birthplace of this organisation is here, it is nursed and brought up here so what we are seeing today is part of your legacy that has been set for the nation in support of our president whose pious mind is to reshape Nigerians … so that future of our next generation is guaranteed.’’
He said part of the agenda of BCO is to assist peasant farmers to register so that they could get direct loans from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other farming input.
According to a patron of the organisation, Alhaji Ahmed Ajibade, even if Buhari is not able to campaign, the organisation would work to ensure his victory.He maintained that Buhari stands for honesty, simplicity and he is straightforward and capable of transforming the country.The southwest coordinator of BCO Mr. Tunji Adeniji said, “The state offices will be inaugurated at the appropriate time.”