Controversy has continued to trail the health status of Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari who has been away for long in the UK for medical treatment.
Recently, a presidential source has disclosed that despite series of tests and treatments from renowned medical practitioners both within and outside the UK, nobody has been able to pinpoint what ails the president except that he has completely lost his appetite for food.
The failure of the presidency to tell Nigerians the actual state of health of the president has fueled speculations in the country with many alleging that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is guilty of what it accused the then ruling party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) when the late President Umaru Yar’Adua held sway.
Independent Newspaper had quoted the source saying:
Those accusing the presidency of being economical with the truth on the actual state of health of the president are missing the point because you can only disclose what you know.
As at today, nobody knows the kind of ailment battling Mr. President. Even his doctors in the UK don’t know what is wrong with him. Lots of tests have been done; in fact they have done everything humanly possible but they still can’t detect what is wrong with him. That is why the doctors have decided to place him under long observation to see if they can diagnose what is wrong with him on the long run.
“For those of us who are close to President Buhari, he can’t stay for a long time without food. He doesn’t have the endurance for long fasting and that is why those referring to him as a religious fanatic are wrong. Here is a man who doesn’t joke with his food but suddenly once he takes a spoon, he throws up. And you know if you don’t eat for a long time, you become weak and emaciated.
“When the condition became critical, they have to devise other means of feeding him, but we’re happy at the level of significant progress he has made in the last couple of weeks
Although President Muhammadu Buhari’s first active year in office which was from May 29, 2015 to 2016 was frost with some minor challenges, especially delays associated with appointing his cabinet members, the frustrations and criticism that greeted it left much to be desired.
No sooner had he sorted out some of these issues to settle down to the business of governance came his health challenges.
The first time he took a vacation to undergo medical check-up in London, the United Kingdom was in February 2016.
He left the shores of Nigeria for the United Kingdom for a six-day vacation from February 5 to February 10, 2016. After a formal letter was written to the National Assembly leadership he transferred powers to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, had explained that the letter to the National Assembly was in compliance with Section 145 (1) of the Nigerian Constitution.
The spokesperson had assured Nigerians of the well-being of the president and the need not to panic over the state of his health.
He had hinged the vacation on the need for the president to take a break from work as he had worked non-stop for eight months and could break down like every other person.
On January 19, 2017, shortly after resolving the leadership crisis in The Gambia, where Yahaya Jammeh was recalcitrant to hand over power to his successor, President Buhari fell ill again and had to leave the country on another vacation.
As usual, he wrote Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, before bidding Nigeria goodbye to examine his health on January 23, 2017 to be precise.
Nigerians were sympathetic and in fact showed understanding that the president needs to take care of his health issues so that he could function maximally as the nation’s leader.
However, when the 10-day medical leave began to extend to several weeks, rumours began to fly over the actual date of his return, deepening suspicions that his health was far worse than officials were publicly admitting.
Finally, on March, 2017, the president returned to wild jubilations in some parts of the country and to the relief of Nigerians.
Despite attempts by his spokesmen to conceal his health challenges, Buhari revealed to Nigerians when he came back that he had never felt “so sick” in his entire life.
Upon returning, his absence in public functions, including skipping the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meetings gave room for more speculations, prompting concerned Nigerians to suggest he take another leave to rest more and recover fully.
Upon return, he said, “I deliberately came back towards the weekend, so that the Vice President (Yemi Osinbajo) will continue and I will continue to rest. All I will need is to do further follow ups within some weeks.”
Having weighed options available to him and sensed that Acting President Yemi Osinbajo was doing well in the governance of the country, Buhari jetted out again, shortly after he took inventory of 82 school girls abducted by the dreaded Boko Haram sect in Chibok, Borno State in April 2014.
He left on Sunday, May 7, 2017, and has spent about 94 days undergoing medical care also in the UK.
Despite the fact that the acting president, some caucus members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), including the National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun and selected governors who have gone to pay him solidarity visit and came back with assurances that he would soon return, the date for his eventual return is still unknown.