PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has written to the National Assembly to intimate the lawmakers that he has decided to extend his current vacation.
Recall that the president left the country on Thursday, January 19, 2017 to the United Kingdom for what was initially announced to be a 10-day vacation and was due back in Abuja on Sunday to resume work on Monday February 6, 2017.
But according to a statement issued by presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, in Abuja Sunday, he has now asked the legislature to take note of his decision to extend the leave.
However, the statement was silent on when he would now be expected to return.
But it explained that the extension was necessitated by the need for the president to undergo some more medical tests and obtain the results.
It informed that President Buhari has written to the National Assembly on February 5, 2017 (Sunday), “informing of his desire to extend his leave in order to complete and receive the results of a series of tests recommended by his doctors.”
The statement terse added: “The President had planned to return to Abuja this evening, but was advised to complete the test cycle before returning.
“The notice has since been dispatched to the Senate President, and Speaker, House of Representatives.
“Mr President expresses his sincere gratitude to Nigerians for their concern, prayers and kind wishes.”
While announcing the president’s vacation before he left, the presidency had said that he was proceeding to the United Kingdom on as part of his annual leave, noting that during the vacation, the President would also undergo routine medical check-ups.
The statement issued by the Presidency at the time had said: “In line with Section 145 (1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the President of the Senate, and Speaker, House of Representatives, have been duly communicated.
“While away, the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, will perform the functions of the Office of the President.”
The Vice President is currently attending the ongoing World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland and would return to the country to act in Buhari’s absence.
Few days before Jos departure, the President had no public engagements while the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting was also cancelled.
It was the third time the president would be proceeding on this type of trip since his assumption of office having previously undertaken the trip on February, 5 to 10, 2015 and June 6, 2015.
Buhari himself had said that there was noting wrong with his medical leave as he had made a similar trip at this time last year.
In a terse response to media enquiry on his trip at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, just before he flew out of the country, he recalled that he had equally gone on vacation about the same time last year.
He queried: “What’s wrong with going on vacation? Didn’t I go last year at the same time?”
The Presidency had been keen to deny speculation that Buhari lying critically ill at a London hospital, as Adesina the cause to issue a statement over the persistent rumour.
Making the clarification in a live interview programme on CNBC Africa, which was monitored in Abuja, the presidential aide had said: ‘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 had said the President would decide if he wished to talk to Nigerians from the UK or not.
According to the presidential aide, “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.”
Buhari’s trip to the United Kingdom and his medical status led to speculation that state governor had planned to visit him, but this was shut down by Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, who said governors never scheduled a meeting over the president talk less of visiting him in London.
But a photograph emerged afterwards showing him apparently in his London room with Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State, Senator Daisy Danjuma and an unidentified man.
That was followed by more shots emanating from the office of the First Lady, Aisha Buhari, showing herself and her husband in a room at alocation presented as his holiday abode.
The release of the pictures was an apparent attempt to quell speculation surrounding the fate of President Buhari who had been rumoured to have died against stern denials by the Presidency.
Nigerians had taken to the social media with rumours of his death and demanding that the presidency proved otherwise by getting him to address the nation through video.
One of the latest photographs showed the president and his wife standing and the other showing the couple sitting on a couch.
The president is dressed in white turtle neck sweater and brown pair of trousers with a white cap to match.
Aisha is dressed in black pair of trousers, a black turtle neck top with a black and white spotted jacket and a red tiara.
Circulated by the media assistant to the first lady, Adebisi Ajayi, the photographs suggest that they emanated from the president’s vacation in the United Kingdom even though it did not state where and when they were taken.