Buhari: I won’t return to Nigeria now


    …says I need a longer period of rest

    President Muhammadu Buhari has, again, revealed that he may not be coming back to Nigeria any time soon. The President, who left the country on January 19 for an annual vacation to London after transmitting letters to the National Assembly, had, on February 6, sent another letter expressing his desire to stay longer.

    Speaking to State House Correspondents yesterday at the presidential villa, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said with results of tests earlier carried out by doctors in London, the President would stay back to have some rest.

    Adesina did not stipulate the period of time the resting will last. “It makes sense to say that maybe from the results of the tests, further rest had been recommended,” he said. Adesina said President Buhari needs rest and will communicate to Nigerians when he is strong and prepared to return to the country.

    The presidential aide spoke at the Old Banquet Hall, Abuja, after a meeting on Promoting Effective Policy Monitoring and Evaluating and Performance of Ministers, Departments and Agencies in the implementation of the 2016 Budget of Change organised by the Ministry of Budget and National Planning. The media adviser explained that he was ready to tell Nigerians every information provided to him by his principal since he does not speak for himself but the President.

    According to Adesina, “I speak for somebody, I do not speak for myself. So, it is what he tells me to say that I say and the statement transmitted to me is that the President needs to rest for some further time.

    “The President wants Nigerians to know that he appreciates their prayers, he appreciates their concerns and their goodwill. “He has added that there is really no cause to worry. He is the one who owns the body and there is nobody who will know his body more than him and he says no cause to worry.”

    The President’s aide noted that “the statement did not say how long the rest will last.” Asked of any possibility that the president will speak to Nigerians, Adesina noted that “what he has just done is to speak to Nigerians.” The presidential aide stated that he was not in the position to talk about the nature of the President’s illness. His words: “Don’t you know that the Hippocratic oath even forbids a doctor from speaking about the condition of his patient except the patient authorises it?

    “It is only the patient himself who can speak about what he is going through. This is the person going through these series of tests and rest and he says no cause to worry, let us believe that.” Adesina also spoke about the allegations that journalists trying to interview the President in the UK were being harassed. He said: “I do not consider that a harassment. Presidents are not hijacked and interviewed. Those things are scheduled. So, I do not consider that as harassment.”

    On reports that he may remain there for months, he said: “What we have just said is what I will want us to believe. The President said he needs to rest further. The same President that communicated that to us, when it is time for him to come, he will also communicate to us.”

    Adesina, however, denied speculations that President Buhari has lost his voice. “Those people need to prove it. He spoke with President Donald Trump. Did Trump say he did not speak with Nigerian President? Anybody can allege anything.

    “My message to Nigerians is that let us learn to believe our leaders. This is a man we elected into office and he says no cause to worry, let us believe him,” the presidential spokesman added. Adesina had earlier yesterday morning issued a statement in which President Buhari thanked millions of Nigerians who have been sending good wishes and praying for his health and well being in mosques and churches throughout the country. The statement released by Adesina said: “President is immensely grateful for the prayers, show of love and concern.

    “President Buhari wishes to reassure Nigerians that there is no cause for worry. “During his normal annual checkup, tests showed he needed a longer period of rest, necessitating the President staying longer than originally planned,” it added.