Buhari: I Think I’m Fit to Return Home, But My Doctors Will Give the Go-ahead

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President Buhari (fourth right) flanked by R-L: Senior Special Assistant on Diaspora Matters, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa; Senior Special Assistant Media & Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu; Special Adviser Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina; Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; and Personal Assistant

Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

In an emotional meeting yesterday in London with his media team, led by Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed, President Muhammadu Buhari said he feels he could return to Nigeria, but added that he was waiting for his doctors to give the final go-ahead. He explained that he had recuperated tremendously and was longing to come back home.

The meeting came amid growing media hysteria about the president’s medical vacation since May 7, which marked the second time he would be transmitting power to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to travel abroad for medical treatment. Buhari had left Nigeria on January 19 for London on medical vacation and was initially scheduled to return to work on February 6, but he eventually returned on March 10.

Following his latest medical trip, some groups and individuals have been calling for his return or resignation if he is unfit to govern. They have persistently called on the Federal Executive Council to declare the president incapacitated. However, ministers, governors and other officials of the government have paid him visits in London, in apparent moves to try to calm the fears about his health.

But during the meeting at Abuja House, in London, saturday, Buhari said he was in London because he had to abide by his doctors’ instruction.

A statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity Femi Adesina quoted Buhari as saying, “I’ve learnt to obey my doctor’s orders, rather than be the one issuing the orders. Here, the doctor is absolutely in charge.”

According to Adesina, Buhari made the statement in response to an expression of excitement at his improved health by the visitors. The president added, “I feel I could go home, but the doctors are in charge. I’ve now learnt to obey orders, rather than being obeyed,” lightening up the mood at the meeting.

Adesina said Buhari told the team how he had followed events at home very closely and praised the Nigerian television stations and the media, in general, for keeping him informed about happenings in the country. He also said Buhari thanked those praying for him, recalling how his role in the ouster of former Gambian President, Yahaya Jameh, in January brought him a huge goodwill.

“What we did in The Gambia early this year fetched us a lot of goodwill on the African continent. It gave us a lot of latitude. I thank all those who are praying. May God reward them,” he was quoted as saying.

The president’s chief spokesman added that Buhari sent his appreciation to all Nigerians and was optimistic that he would join them soon.

In the team that visited Buhari were, besides Adesina and Mohammed, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity Garba Shehu, Personal Assistant to the President on Digital/Online Media Lauretta Onochie, and Senior Special Assistant to the President on Diaspora Matters Abike Dabiri-Erewa.

Like the previous meetings the President had with some leaders of his party and seven governors, photographs of the meeting were released to the press. In the photographs released yesterday, the president was seen smiling as he looked at a get-well-soon card presented to him by his media aides. In another photograph, they were all smiles as the president took a stroll on the forecourt lawn.

Throughout the week, a group of protesters led by rights activist, Dele Adeyanju, and maverick entertainer, Charles Oputa, caused a stir in Abuja with demonstrations calling for Buhari’s return or resignation on moral grounds. The protesters anchored their agitation on the theme expressed in Pidgin English, “Our Mumu Don Do,” which being translated means “we have been foolish enough.”

However, on Thursday, another group of protesters commenced a pro-Buhari protest in the country’s capital, dismissing the protest for his resignation as unnecessary. The pro-Buhari group insisted he had complied with the constitutional provisions by transferring power to his deputy and had not fouled any law, the same position held by the Senate.

But whereas anti-Buhari protesters were brutalised by the police with some of them hospitalised, the pro-Buhari protesters enjoyed police protection. The law enforcement agents gladly led them through with horses to the Presidential Villa into the waiting hands of officials.

  • Asuk

    A patient is my fit until certified fit by his doctor. Buhari is not fit.

  • Milito

    Hmmm…on a personal note I honestly wish the president a quick recovery. My wish is based on cultural/moral imperatives as well as political exigencies. It is unafrican to wish a sick man death especially for a father figure no matter your hatred and differences . Secondly who does the death or resignation of Buhari politically benefits? The south that is not united ? For all you care , Buhari is and must be healthy till 2019 is concluded and the north guaranteed of the presidency before his true state of health can be disclosed – something I really don’t know why I support!

    Now back to the news headline. Why was the president presented with the “get well soon ” card under a camera and outside the house instead of inside ? Who does that ? What’s the intention? I found that quite curious and mischievous. Haba! #our mumu no reach like that #our politicians no get brain sef…

    Again, if the president is that sound to banter as publicly portrayed and yet can’t be sure of his return date , why can’t he make a live broadcast to Nigerians to give us some assurances and silence the long and pervasive speculations? Is he not obliged morally and constitutionally to do so given his position and influence on our national life? #enough of this mumu.

    Finally I advise mr president and his immediate family to place premium on his life than on the politics of his office. It is unfortunate the situation we have eventually found ourself as a nation. Time for the youths to braze up !

  • Samuel Okezie

    Crude oil is now circa $50 a barrel. Things should be getting better, with all the leakages and large scale stealing halted. What is going on? Why is there no upsurge in economic activity? Can’t Buhari sign documents or nod his approvals to get things going. It is ironic that the last time things were this bad for me was during Buhari/Idiagbon’s regime. I take God beg Nigerians and APC not to bring him back in 2019. The punishment done do.

  • remm ieet

    If what Buhari said is true, because you cannot trust these people anymore, then the UK doctors are insulting Nigerians. To what extent is Nigeria a sovereign state as guaranteed by the military constitution? Can American doctors tell Theresa May to remain in a New York hospital against her will?
    He is probably afraid to come back to dispense of his energy. So he presides Nigeria from a comfy London base

    • LagLon

      ..its like he has been voluntarily kidnapped!!

    • Asuk

      Truth is he is not yet fit.

  • AUSTIN

    Mr. Buhari, you have your faith in your own hand. You once said that Biafra’s referendum can only happen over your dead body. Now you have a second chance to repent and change your mind positively. Let Biafra go and recover or stay stubborn and remain in London banishment on health issues, perpetually. Biafra is the call of nature and will come with or without you…period!

  • vic

    BUHARI IS SURROUNDED BY A CABAL RING OF DECEPTION AND LIES WASTING NATION’S SCARCE FOREX RESOURCES.

    THESE THIEVES HAVE TURNED LONDON INTO THEIR NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOUR.

  • Seton During

    Dear President Buhari “still” here with us in London,
    Plan your slow restful recuperation as a matter of your personal and primary need!
    If and when you return, do not plunge zealously into working at everything expected from/of any normal President; re-appraise your value judgements and priorities with the assistances of apolitical Nigerians.
    THEN,
    1. – delegate publicly to as much and many as you feel comfortable with “trusting”;
    2. – re-assign Mr. Magu from EFCC to elsewhere; then allow EFCC to operate unfettered;
    3. – stop the adverse influences and effects of all the members of the illicit “CABAL” you know
    who are sabotaging the progress of Nigeria.
    4. – stop the illicit outflows looted by hook and crook you know out of/from Nigerian Federal and
    State Treasuries; and, out of Ministry of Defence Budget; pay particular attention to
    misappropriations and ghost workers.
    ENOUGH FOR NOW!

  • Felicia Akinwale

    Buhari is a shameless, dishonourable despot. So after almost a hundred days of uninterrupted treatment on top of a previous 50days treatment all within a calendar year, he is still struggling to walk and fake news peddlers like Lie Mumumed says he has “greatly recovered”???? Please if this is great recovery, why not return back? If your father has been treated for this long and still is being Photoshoped, is it not a call for concern? Buharis illness has consumed more than our entire budget on health this year also factoring in the cost of parking our jet in UK and the cost of all these emotional jamboree to the UK. If Buhari has honour, he should return our jet and resign. When he is well, we would come and pick him up (D or A)!

    • Ade Whenu

      Buharis illness has consumed more than our entire budget on health this year? Logically does your statement make sense?

  • Daniel Obior

    Good Buhari is fit to return home. He should come home to resign and devote his time to his health.