Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
In what appears to be a thumbs up for acting President Yemi Osinbajo and a dismissal of accusation of nepotism and favouritism levelled against him last week by some Northern leaders, President Muhammadu Buhariâ€™s wife, Aisha, returned to Nigeria from London Tuesday with a message from her husband, commending Osinbajo for his loyalty.
Mrs. Buhari had left Nigeria for London last week, three weeks after her husband left the country for medical treatment in the United Kingdom.
Upon her departure, she said she would spend some time with her husband.
While announcing her arrival via her Twitter handle, @aishabuhari at 8.50 a.m. Tuesday, Mrs. Buhari said her husband thanked Nigerians for their prayers for his health and by extension towards the fulfilment of his governmentâ€™s mandate.
â€œI thank Allah for my safe trip to UK, where I visited President @MBuhari. He thanks Nigerians for their constant prayers for his health towards achieving the mandate of this administration as contained in our APC manifesto so that we can build a very strong institution for a better future of our country Nigeria.
â€œThank you and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria,â€ Mrs. Buhari tweeted.
Also, a statement issued two hours later by her spokesman, Suleiman Haruna, said Buhari thanked Osinbajo for his loyalty and called on Nigerians to continue to support him in his commitment to achieving the mandate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
â€œMr. President thanked the acting president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, for his loyalty and called on Nigerians to continue to support the acting president in his effort to actualise the mandate of APC,â€ Haruna said.
Buhariâ€™s vote of confidence on Osinbajo was at variance with the allegations last week by one Ismaila Farouk, accusing the acting president of filling his team with his kinsmen from the South-west and also exploiting the illness of the president to strategise for 2019.
The allegations were echoed by some Northern leaders, including Balarabe Musa, Abubakar Tsav and Junaid Mohammed.
But the office of the acting president dismissed the allegations as baseless and a smear campaign by some forces in the Presidential Villa who were aggrieved over the exercise of full presidential powers by Osinbajo.
The allegations compelled one of his aides, Dr. Bilkisu Saidu, to come up with the names of several Muslims in Osinbajoâ€™s office including herself, saying she was lecturing in a Northern university when she suddenly got her appointment as Senior Special Assistant, Legal Matters to Osinbajo.
She accused those making the allegations as merely using religion to sow the seeds of disaffection against the acting president, insisting that the accusations were unfair and untrue.
Buhari returned to London on May 7, almost two months after an earlier trip for medical reasons.
Meanwhile, Reuters in a report Tuesday quoted an unnamed source in the presidency as stating that Buhari was expected to return to Nigeria at the weekend.
However, when contacted, the presidentâ€™s media aide, Femi Adesina, said he was not aware of the presidentâ€™s return date.
He said: â€œWe donâ€™t know who Reuters is quoting, but if the president was returning, a statement would be duly issued by the presidency.
â€œRight now we have no information on the date of his return.â€