President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday failed to participate in the usual Friday Juma’at prayer session in the State House Mosque located in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The prayer session was attended by Governors Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Abdullaziz Yari (Zamfara) and Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun). In a related development, Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, yesterday asked the President to reveal his health status to Nigerians.
Soyinka, who said this while speaking to journalists in Lagos, also stated that the current speculations about the President’s health were “unnecessary.”
This is the second time Buhari would be conspicuously absent from Juma’at since his return from a medical vacation in London, United Kingdom. The first was on Friday, March 10, when he returned, owing ostensibly to fatigue and based on doctors’ recommendation for further rest.
The President had also not attended the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting usually held on Wednesdays for three consecutive weeks. Soyinka, while insisting on the disclosure of Buhari’s health status, wondered: “Why is the President hiding his state of health? He’s supposed to understand he’s public property. Me, I’m still private property, that’s why I’m not in Aso Rock.
“Once you are in Aso Rock or you occupy a similar position, you have a responsibility to come out frankly to your citizens. “Guarding your state of health, like Donald Trump is guarding his tax returns, is not what we expect from a Nigerian President.
“Let him address the nation and stop all these speculations, which create unnecessary political manipulations, among other things,” he said. Meanwhile, the Presidency on Thursday said there was no cause for Nigerians to panic over the health of the President, despite insinuations in the media regarding apprehension over his health.
His Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, in a statement said doctors have advised the President to slow down in order to fully recover from the long weeks of treatment.
“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 Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday,” he added.
Garba noted that despite his lack of visibility, Nigerians should be rest assured that Buhari has not abdicated his role as Commander-in-Chief of Nigeria’s Armed Forces.
He said the President receives daily briefings on the activities of government and confers regularly with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. “His private residence, in which he has been spending the majority of his time recently, also 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,” Garba added.