â€¢ Accepts invitation to lead AU anti-corruption fight
â€¢ To return as soon as doctors give green light
â€¢ Osinbajo to swear in new ministers Wednesday
Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has written a letter of appreciation to the President of Guinea, Alpha Conde, for the nationwide prayers held last week by Guineans for his recovery and good health.
This is just as the Nigerian Governorsâ€™ Forum (NGF) Tuesday night dispatched seven governors to London to meet with Buhari, 48 hours after four governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the leadership of the ruling party also met with the president.
Buhari, according to a statement by his chief spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, had earlier made a phone call to Conde, who is the current Chairman of the Assemblies of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU).
Buhari left Nigeria for the British capital 79 days ago to seek treatment for an undisclosed medical ailment.
His deputy, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has been acting as president in his stead.
This is the second medical trip made by Buhari this year.
The statement said Buhari in the letter dated July 24, 2017, thanked Conde for the kind gesture and assured him that he would return home as soon as his doctors advise accordingly.
â€œI thank you for your kind and thoughtful action in organising nationwide prayers for my good health. It is a gesture that I will forever cherish and treasure.
â€œYour Excellency will be pleased to hear that I am making good progress, and as soon as doctors advise, I shall return to my duties and continue serving the Nigerian people who elected me and are daily praying for my recovery,â€ he was quoted as saying.
The statement also said Buhari had in an earlier letter to Conde, accepted his nomination as the leader of the 2018 AU Theme on the Fight Against Corruption.
It added that the nomination was made by African leaders at the 29th Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the AU in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on July 4.
In the letter, Buhari was quoted as saying he appreciated the nomination and expressed his willingness to serve in that capacity.
He was also said to have expressed his preparedness to contribute his own quota towards the collective efforts to strengthen good governance and development on the African continent.
â€œWhile thanking you for the kind words and for the nomination, I wish to express my readiness to accept this new important role and to reiterate my commitment to contribute towards our collective efforts to strengthen good governance and development on the continent.
â€œI, therefore, look forward to working closely with you in the realisation of this objective,â€ Buhari was further quoted as saying.
The statement on Buhariâ€™s letter to Conte came just as the NGF Tuesday night dispatched another delegation of seven governors to the United Kingdom to meet with him.
The presidentâ€™s media advisers led by Adesina made the disclosure Tuesday while briefing journalists on the trip at the State House, Abuja.
Adesina, who was flanked by Malam Garba Shehu and Mr. Laolu Akande, expressed ignorance of the sponsorship of the trip but emphasised that the selection of the delegates was done by members of the NGF.
Giving the names of the governors on the trip, Shehu said the delegation comprised two Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and five APC governors as follows: Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara), Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo), Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom, PDP), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Dave Umahi (Ebonyi, PDP) and Kashim Shetima (Borno).
Adesina, who also said the date of the presidentâ€™s return remained unknown, reiterated that it would only be dictated by his doctorsâ€™ advice.
According to him, Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State who told the BBC on Monday that Buhari would return within two weeks might have information that is not available to him and his colleagues.
When told that the visit was arousing curiosity, following claims that the president had recovered, Adesina said it was part of the Nigerian culture to visit a recovering person, maintaining that his return would be as determined by his doctors.
â€œIt should be the other way round. Instead of being curious, it should be the right time for the visit like Malam Garba said earlier.
â€œWhen somebody has recovered or something or the other happens, it is in our culture for us to visit such a person.
â€œSo this is the right time because the news is that he is recovering and recovering well. Iâ€™m sure you are aware of the letter he just wrote to the African Union chairman when he told him that he is making very good progress.
â€œSo this is the proper time for him to receive delegations rather than when he was indisposed.
â€œIf anybody is giving a timeline on his return, that person might have information that we donâ€™t have yet. But the information at our disposal is that the president will return as soon as his doctors give him the go ahead,â€ he said.
When questioned on why none of them as his media managers was in the delegation visiting Buhari, Shehu said the presidentâ€™s photographer was travelling with the governors, adding that their exclusion might be a strategy to save money.
He added that whereas the former trip comprised only the APC delegation, this visit was a broader platform.
â€œWell, how about you thinking about it this way, probably we will be saving money. Let me tell you, you know I have respect for photographers, we all do and the cameraman, Bayo Omoboriwo, is on the flight which is more important than me being there.
â€œThey say a picture conveys more than a thousand words, so Bayo will be there and I think it will be more beneficial to Nigerians than if the special adviser was on that trip without a cameraman.
â€œYou will notice that those that went at the weekend are members of All Progressive Congress (APC), so those who are going now are on a broader platform which is the Nigerian Governorsâ€™ Forum. As to who is sponsoring, I donâ€™t have any information on that,â€ Shehu said.
Ministers to be Sworn in
Meanwhile, three months after the Senate confirmed the nominations of two ministerial nominees sent to it by President Muhammadu Buhari, the acting president will Wednesday swear in the ministers-designate at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.
The ministers-designate are Prof. Stephen Lawani (Kogi) who will replace the late Minister of State for Labour, Mr. James Ocholi, and Suleiman Hassan (Gombe) who will replace Ms. Amina Mohammed who was appointed as Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN).
Confirming the swearing-in in a tweet Tuesday night, Osinbajoâ€™s spokesman, Mr. Laolu Akande, said: â€œAgP Osinbajo would be swearing in the two new ministers already confirmed by the Senate tomorrow morning (wednesday) @ start of the Federal Exco meeting.â€