Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo arrived Abuja at about 5 a.m. Wednesday, after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in London, the British capital Tuesday evening.
Osinbajo had departed for London Tuesday afternoon to meet with the president, 65 days after the latter left the country to get treatment for an undisclosed ailment.
The acting president, whose trip was announced by his spokesman, Mr. Laolu Akande, in a tweet Tuesday night, was scheduled to return to the country immediately after the meeting.
“AgP Osinbajo meeting with President Buhari in London today, and returning to Abuja immediately afterwards,” Akande tweeted.
A Reuters report said that Osinbajo was seen entering Abuja House, the Nigerian High Commission, in the Campden Hill area of the Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in West London. He did not make any comment as he entered the building.
Immediately after his meeting with Buhari, the acting president, presidency sources further disclosed, departed Abuja House for Stansted Airport, London, where his plane was scheduled to depart London at 11.30 p.m. Tuesday.
The presidency sources informed THISDAY that other top-ranking officials who were in London at the time of Osinbajo’s flying visit included the Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Lawal Daura, who was attending a course in the British capital, and the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika.
It is unlikely any of them was present during the meeting between the president and his deputy.
Information about Osinbajo’s trip to London had circulated all day at the Presidential Villa Tuesday, but State House correspondents were hesitant to report it because there was no official confirmation of the trip.
Attempts to confirm it hit a brick wall, as his aides kept denying the trip, saying it was untrue.
However, pointers that the information was true were evident in the desolation evident in the acting president’s wing, which had been bustling with activities Tuesday morning.
Before his departure, the acting president had presided over the quarterly business forum, which had members of the cabinet and the organised private sector in attendance.
It is believed that Osinbajo’s trip was not by his own design and might have been at the instance of the president to discuss the myriad of challenges confronting the acting president in the course of discharging the functions of his office.
Most notable of the challenges that have confronted Osinbajo in Buhari’s absence were the threats by some Northern youths to evict residents of Igbo extraction from the North by October 1 and the continuing agitation by Biafra agitators for the breakup of Nigeria.
Also, the threat by the Senate to stop further confirmation of presidential nominees, following the failure by the executive to remove the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, who had been rejected twice by the Red Chamber, has widened the rift between both arms of government.
Since Buhari’s departure more than two months ago, nothing has been heard of the president.
Tuesday was the first time Osinbajo officially met with Buhari since he travelled to the UK for medical treatment for the second time this year.
His wife, Aisha, who is with him in London, on Monday had alluded to his recovery and possible return when she said in a Facebook post: “God has answered the prayers of the weaker animals. The hyenas and the jackals will soon be sent out of the kingdom.”
A presidency source also confirmed Tuesday that the president was recovering from his illness, but could not give a date on his return to the country.