PRESIDENT Mohammadu Buhari has said that he needed a longer period of time to rest in London, United Kingdom where he had gone on medical vacation.
The import of this is that the president should not be expected back to Nigeria any time soon.
The president said the need to further rest in London was necessitated by the series of medical tests he had run. He however expressed gratitude to Nigerians who have been praying for him, saying that there was no cause for alarm.
The president’s appreciation was contained in a brief statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina.
The statement read thus: “President Muhammadu Buhari thanks 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 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.”
Meanwhile, jolted by the statement, State House correspondent later sought more clarification from Adesina on the state of health of the President.
The interview which held at the Old Banquet Hall, Abuja, after a meeting on Promoting Effective Policy Monitoring and Evaluating and Performance of Ministers, Department and Agencies in the implementation of the 2016 Budget of Change organized by the Ministry of Budget and National Planning went thus:
Journalists: Tell us more on the Statement you issued?
Adesina: “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. It makes sense to say that maybe from the results of the tests, further rest had been recommended. The statement did not say how long the rest will last. “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.
Journalists: Any possibility that he will speak to Nigerians directly?
Adesina: What he has just done is to speak to Nigerians.
Journalists: What is actually wrong with the President?
Adesina: Don’t you know that the Hippocratic Oath even forbids a doctor from speaking about the condition of his patient except the patient authorizes 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.
Journalists: Why have they been harassing Journalists who have been trying to reach the President in UK?
Adesina: I do not consider that an harassment. Presidents are not hijacked and interviewed. Those things are scheduled. So, I do not consider that as harassment.
Journalists: Confirm the reports that he may remain there for months.
Adesina: 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.
Journalists: There are claims that the President has lost his voice.
Adesina: Those people need to prove it. He spoke with President Trump. Did Trump say he did not speak with Nigerian President. Anybody can allege anything.
Journalists: What would you tell Nigerians really?
Adesina: 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. Recall that the President left Nigeria for London on January 19, 2017. He was due to return after 10 official days but at the expiration of the period, he wrote to the National Assembly, extending his medical vacation indefinitely. The continued stay of the president has however brewed controversy, dividing Nigerians in many respects.