Thursday, 27 April 2017

Presidency: why Buhari is not seen in public


There is no cause for alarm over President Muhammadu Buhari’s health and recovery, the Presidency said yesterday.

The Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, gave the assurance in a reaction to speculations on the President’s health.

He said Buhari’s absence at the Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) was a last-minute decision; otherwise, the cabinet and the public might have been alerted in advance.

Shehu said in a statement: “As eager as he is to be up and about, the President’s doctors have advised on his taking things slowly, as he fully recovers from the long period of treatment in the United Kingdom some weeks ago.

“President Buhari himself, on his return to the country, made Nigerians aware of the state of his health while he was in London. Full recovery is sometimes a slow process, requiring periods of rest and relaxation, as the Minister for Information, Lai Mohammed, intimated in his press briefing after the FEC meeting on Wednesday.

“Despite his lack of visibility, Nigerians should be rest assured that President Buhari has not abdicated his role as Commander-in-Chief of the Nigeria Armed Forces.

“He receives daily briefings on the activities of government, and confers regularly with his Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

“His private residence, where he has been spending the majority of his time recently, has a fully equipped office.

“God is the giver of life and health. We are grateful that He has seen our President through the worst period of his convalescence in London. We are thankful that the President has passed a number of benchmarks already. We pray that God continues to see him through this period of recuperation.”

The chairman of the Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ahmed Makarfi, urged the President to hand over power to Vice President Yemi Osibanjo pending his full recovery from his undisclosed illness.

But, the Presidency said there was no cause for alarm.

Makarfi, who made the call in an interview with our correspondents in Abuja on Thursday, said “if President Buhari is not fit enough to remain in office, it’s better to tell the Nigerian people and allow the Vice President to continue as Acting President and return to work after full recovery”

Makarfi said: “My take is that if the President is not fully fit to stay in office, it is better that he tell Nigerians, so that the vice president will continue to be Acting President, exercising the powers of acting president.

“Then you run away from this kind of situation when we allow time for the President to fully recover and assume his mantle of leadership. Me, as PDP person, as a human being, I will never wish any human being ill-will even if I disagree with you politically.

“So, it does not matter that it is APC that is the person that is sick. My prayer is that he is fit to serve his term. As a politician, I equally want him to finish his term. So, when some people begin to insinuate things, of what interest would it be to PDP should the President be unable to finish his term.

“We don’t wish him ill luck, we want him to be well, we want him to be fit enough to be on seat when in 2019, we go for election and defeat the APC.

“For a number of reasons, the PDP wishes the President well, for stability of this country, political stability and the fact that we want to defeat a sitting President. We don’t want any confusion politically in this country. It is not good for anybody and as a human being, I never wish anybody ill-will irrespective of political differences”.

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