• President is fit to seek reelection in 2019, says aide
Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja and Ibrahim Shuaibu in Kano
Twenty-four hours after he proceeded to London on account of his health, President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday expressed confidence that his absence would not affect the smooth running of government.
Buhari, who relayed this last night in a tweet on his Twitter handle @MBuhari, said his confidence in effective government apparatus while he’s away was absolute.
“As I noted earlier, I have absolute confidence that government will continue to run smoothly while I’m away. God bless the Federal Republic,” he said.
Buhari had handed the reins of power to his deputy, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, on Sunday before departing for London.
His media aide, Mr. Femi Adesina, said the duration of the president’s trip, which he described as a follow-up medical consultation with his doctors, would be as determined by the doctors.
Adesina said whereas the president had initially planned to embark on the trip Sunday afternoon, he had to delay his flight as a result of the 82 freed Chibok girls who arrived Abuja earlier in the day.
The presidential spokesman who said the president had transmitted the vacation letter to the National Assembly, in accordance with Section 145 of the Constitution, added that Buhari assured Nigerians that there was no cause for alarm and urged them to remember him in their prayers.
“The president wishes to assure all Nigerians that there is no cause for worry. He is very grateful for the prayers and good wishes of the people, and hopes they would continue to pray for the peace and unity of the nation.
“The length of the president’s stay in London will be determined by the doctors. Government will continue to function normally under the able leadership of the vice-president. President Buhari has transmitted letters about the trip to the Senate and the House of Representatives, in compliance with Section 145 (1) of the 1999 Constitution,” the statement added.
Buhari’s tweet came on the heels of the confidence expressed by one of his aides that the president was “fit to seek reelection in 2019 elections”.
The Senior Special Assistant, Legislative Matters (House of Representatives), Hon. Abdulrahman Kawu Sumaila, made the remark to reporters in Kano on Monday at the Government House.
According to him, “From what I have seen at close range, my boss is quite fit for the 2019 electoral battle.”
Sumaila also expressed confidence in Buhari’s readiness to floor any challenger within his party and across the political divide, adding that “the president has nothing to fear”.
“President Buhari’s fitness was played upon in 2015 general election. He survived the campaign rigour, won the election and is on the verge of taking Nigeria to the promised land.
“Buhari is quite alright, he is fit to pass through a familiar terrain, and its human to fall sick. I am highly confident he would get better,” Sumaila stressed.
“Those who have legitimate ambitions should step forward, but they should also have at the back of their minds the fatal consequences of such misadventure in 2015,” Sumaila said.
He also said that the president’s two years in office had been “eventful and fruitful”, adding: “His ability to degrade the insurgency was a landmark in the history of this country.”
The presidential aide appealed to Nigerians to continue to support the government to enable it to deliver the dividends of democracy to their doorsteps.