By Emmanuel Aziken, Henry Umoru, Emman Ovuakporie, Luka Binniyat, Omezia Ajayi & Caleb Ayansina
ABUJA—AMIDST increasing concerns over the health status of President Muhammadu Buhari, indications emerged, yesterday, of his imminent return to the country, having reportedly finished with the extended medical tests his United Kingdom-based physicians ran on him.
The latest public declaration that the President is in fine fettle was given by Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, and Speaker Yakubu Dogara who, in separate tweets, acknowledged that the President is in fine shape.
PRESIDENT BUHARI IN LONDON: PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI RECEIVES APC CHIEFTAINS, SENATOR BOLA AHMED TINUBU AND CHIEF BISI AKANDE, AT ABUJA HOUSE IN LONDON ON THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2017
Also yesterday, a very close associate of the president, who had been in close touch with people around him, confirmed the positive news of his health, saying the President was expected to return any time from today.
Meanwhile, President Buhari, yesterday, received two prominent leaders of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Chief Bisi Akande, in London.
The assertions came as the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, and the Jama’atu Nasril Islam, JNI, in separate calls, also urged Nigerians to pray for the well-being of the President, asserting that as a human being, he is also prone to ill-health.
A prominent official of government who also maintains a close personal and family relationship with the President, equally confirmed the well being of the President, yesterday.
“I found out from the family and I was told that the tests had been carried out and it is being envisaged that he could come back anytime from tomorrow (today),” the public official, who spoke on the strict condition of anonymity, said.
Another senior Presidency source spoke in the same vein, saying there is nothing holding the President back, though he could not give a clear date for his return.
The well being of the President was further accentuated by pictures of the President with APC leaders, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Chief Bisi Akande, which Vanguard confirmed to have been taken yesterday afternoon.
In one of the pictures, the President was sitted between the two party leaders in a sitting room and, in another, Buhari was sandwiched between the two men with all of them smiling.
Asserting that the President is hale and hearty, Saraki in a tweet at 11:35 p.m. on Wednesday, confirmed that he spoke with Buhari, adding that the President even cracked jokes with him during their discussion.
Noting that he is happy to have interacted with the President, Saraki in his tweet, said: “Happy to have spoken with @NGRPresident @MBuhari tonight. He was in good spirit and joked about my working late into the night, as usual. – @Bukolasaraki on Twitter Wednesday 8th of February 2017, 11:35 pm.”
Saraki’s assertion came three days after Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, also disclosed that the President is hale and hearty.
Speaker Yakubu Dogara also went on Twitter, yesterday, to confirm speaking with Buhari, who he claimed professed his pains at the sufferings Nigerians endured last year and had as such, resolved to ensure a better life for the people.
Dogara in his tweet said: “MBuhari called me yesterday evening. He talked about what the Executive/Legislature must do to ensure food security for all Nigerians.
“He said he was pained by the suffering endured by most Nigerians last year and he is resolved not to let events of 2016 repeat themselves. He also asked me to extend his best wishes to all Honourable members.”
Ahead of the President’s return, the expectation was also being raised among APC members.
At the national secretariat of the party in Abuja, a big banner was placed inside the parking lot with the inscription, “Welcome Mr. President, Baba, Oyoyo” the banner produced by the National Youth Council of Nigeria, had pictures of Buhari and Youths and Sports Minister, Mr. Solomon Dalung.
Pray for his quick recovery, CAN urges Nigerians
Meanwhile, the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, yesterday called on all Nigerians to pray for the quick recovery of the President and his safe return.
In a statement by the Director of Legal and Public Affairs, Barr. Kwamkur Samuel, CAN also called on the Presidency not to hide information from the people.
The statement read: “We wish to call on all Nigerians to join hands in prayers for the quick and full recovery of Mr. President and his safe return to Nigeria instead of dwelling on the needless rumour on the President’s health.
“President Muhammadu Buhari is human, hence subject to health challenges sometimes. CAN appreciates the anxiety of Nigerians to hear Mr. President speak, but sues for understanding as we await that. It is very clear that our leader is passing through health challenges.
“We advise the Presidency to update Nigerians on how he is faring and the full progress of his recovery.
“We call on all Christians and indeed, all God-fearing Nigerians to dedicate time of prayers for our President and the nation. We owe our leaders prayers and support at all times while shunning divisive opinions that only generate strife.
“CAN also calls on Nigerians to give the Vice-President who is also the Acting President full support and prayers to lead well.
“We acknowledge that government is a continuum. Hence, we call on Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo to be bold in handling critical state matters and not to be distracted by those who do not wish Nigeria well.”
JNI condemns death-wish peddlers
The Jama’atu Nasril Islam, JNI, on its part, condemned those it said were wishing the President dead instead of praying for his full recovery.
The JNI also termed those it said were calling for the resignation of Acting President Osibanjo as “callous and mischievous.”
In a press statement by its Secretary General, Dr. Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, the group said: “JNI is, indeed, perturbed over the series of rumours making the rounds on the state of President Muhammadu Buhari’s health.
“It should be, however, noted that as with every mortal, illness is inevitable, likewise life and death. Thus, JNI is very concerned about the pandemonium generated as a result of the rumoured illness of the President and the dimension it is unfortunately taking.
‘’ Does that mean he can no longer get ill? Agreed that reports from the Presidency stated that President Muhammadu Buhari is currently undergoing a cycle of tests as recommended by his doctors, hence the extension of his leave.
“We must as patriots, be cautioned on spreading inaccurate information. More so, Muslims should be cautioned not to join the bandwagon of rumour-mongers. This is so because already some unpatriotic elements are wishing that the President is dead. Interestingly, those who wish him death will certainly not live till eternity. Aren’t we supposed to wish each other good well-being? Let alone, the President of the country?
“Therefore, following the unnecessary excitement in the President’s delayed return to Nigeria, we implore all and sundry, particularly Muslims to persistently supplicate on daily basis for President Muhammadu Buhari’s safe return, restoration of good health and the ability to continue with the task of piloting Nigeria to greater heights with his team.
“In the same vein, we are all implored to fervently pray for the nation, the Vice President, governors and all those in positions of authority, for Allah’s guidance in the discharge of their respective duties.
“We nonetheless, condemn in the strongest terms those calling for the resignation of Professor Yemi Osinbajo, as the Vice-President, Federal Republic of Nigeria. Whatever, the intent may be, we see such calls as callous, mischievous and unpatriotic.
“ Moreover, why must that vacuum be created now, if not for sinister motives? We, therefore, call on all Jumu’ah Imams to include the matter in their respective Friday sermons tomorrow and beyond.”