Buhari Returns From Vacation Monday —Presidency

President Buhari
President Buhari

THE Presidency has disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari would be in his office in Abuja on Monday.

The president had in a letter dated January 19 to the Senate disclosed that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo would be acting for him while he proceeded on leave from January 23 to February 6.

By the close of work on Friday, no new letter had been sent to the Senate to change that arrangement.

Presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, said on Friday that the president would resume duties in Abuja on Monday.

His assurance came against continuous concerns around the country that President Buhari had serious health challenges, a claim Adesina repeatedly debunked.

On the non transmission of the name of Justice Walter Onnoghen to the Senate for confirmation as the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Adesina reminded Nigerians that the president still had up till February 10 to act.

Earlier on Friday, Adesina was on a live interview programme with the Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State (BCOS) where he gave similar assurances on Buhari and the CJN issue.

He told the BCOS that the resumption date, which was communicated to Nigerians since the president began his vacation, was unchanged.

On why the president chose not to address Nigerians from the UK amidst the rumour of his death back home, Adesina said Buhari was clear about his mission and, therefore, did not need to yield to the antics of mischief makers.

“When he was leaving, he told you why he was leaving – a vacation, for medical checks, in that order. The problem is that some Nigerians reversed the order. They put medical before vacation.

“The president was going on vacation. During that vacation, he would do routine medical checks. That was it”, he said adding that the check-up was imperative, especially given the fact the president was over 40 years of age.

“Once you are over 40, at least once a year, you must do your medical checks”, Adesina emphasised.

He described those behind the rumour and the demand for the presidential address as “the tiny vocal minority” but said that there were millions of Nigerians, who were not in “a hysteria that he should come and talk to them”, who knew that it was well with the president.

Adesina, who described his principal as a man of a few words, said the President Buhari maintained enough engagement with Nigerians in terms of communication.

He insisted that Nigerians were being adequately briefed about the president and his activities by his media aides, including himself.

According to him, with him as the head of the media team, as well as the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu and the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, “who speaks for the government”, Nigerians lack no information about their president.

“A president should always engage with the citizens. He [Buhari] does, but it is a matter of style. There are presidents who would talk directly. There are presidents who would talk through their spokesmen, and you know, the president has many [spokespersons] – myself, Garba Shehu and Minister of Information and Culture who speaks for the government” Adesina said.

Asking Nigerians not to turn communication into a fetish, the veteran journalist said: “There is no lack of information. What Nigerians need to do is to understand that they can’t have a template which they would hand over to the president and say this is how we want to you to relate with us. They president has a right to have his own template”.

When it was put to him by the interviewers that the president’s lack of adequate engagement with the public might have resulted in his wife, Aisha, voicing her concerns about his administration to the international media, Adesina described the affairs of the first family as being out of his job description.

“There are certain things that should be off-limits to people so as to work with other people. I am one of the aides of the president. His family is off-limits. I don’t talk about his family. It would not be proper for me to do that”, the presidential aide said.