President Muhammadu Buhari is not ill and admitted in any hospital in London as being speculated. But he cannot be forced to speak to Nigerians, the president’s handlers declared yesterday.
The clarification came amid rumours that Buhari is critically down with an undisclosed sickness that may lead to his death. But according to the presidency, Buhari is in London on vacation.
This clarification may not stop the rumour mill being stoked by those who expect the president to speak out or appear in the public to dispel the speculation about his health .
Buhari transmitted a letter to the National Assembly to the effect that he would begin a 10-day vacation from January 23, 2017, but he actually began the vacation two days earlier, January 21. If the date to reckon with is January 23, he will be due to resume work on February 3. But if January 21 is the date to take, Buhari will be expected back at work on February 1.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, made the clarification yesterday in a live interview programme on CNBC Africa, which was monitored in Abuja. He said that the rumoured hospitalisation of the president was a figment of people’s imagination.
“The president is in London on vacation. He is not in any hospital and he is not ill. When he was travelling last week, the statement we put out was that he was going on vacation, and during the vacation he would do routine medical check-up and nothing has changed from what we pushed out last week. If anybody has fed something else into the rumour mill, that is just what it is – rumour,” Adesina said.
He said the president would decide if he wished to talk to Nigerians from the UK or not. “Despite the fact that he is a president, he still has his rights. Compelling him to come out and talk will be infringing on his rights. The president will talk if he wishes to, if he doesn’t wish to, nobody will compel him to talk. The truth is that the president is on vacation and he has given a date on which he will return to work.”
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed also refuted a media report alleging that governors were planning to send a delegation to confirm the health status of Buhari in London. He says there is no need for such an emissary since the president is in good health.
Receiving members of the Presidential Committee on the Northeast Initiative’s Sub-Committee on Economic Development yesterday, the minister stated that governors were not meeting in Abuja because there was no need for it and there was no plan to send any emissary to London to see the president.