- Presidency: It is a show of goodwill
By Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
The list of prominent personalities visiting President Muhammadu Buhari in the United Kingdom swelled yesterday when the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adeboye, also visited him at Abuja House, London.
Few hours after the visit, Buhari expressed gratitude to Adeboye for both the visit and his prayers.
The President who expressed his gratitude on his twitter handle @MBuhari, also prayed God to continue to bless Adeboye and his work.
“I thank Pastor Adeboye for visiting today and for his prayers and good wishes. May God continue to bless him and his work,” he tweeted.
Adeboye’s visit came 24 hours after Buhari received the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, in the UK.
Speaking with THISDAY last night in a telephone conversation on Adeboye’s visit, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, described the visit as a show of goodwill from Adeboye, whom he described as a man of tremendous influence across the globe.
Adesina said Adeboye’s visit was significant, saying it further proved wrong the erroneous conception that Buhari was a religious bigot, pointing out that Adeboye’s visit to his principal only underscored the level of his acceptability beyond his own religion, Islam.
“It is a show of goodwill from a man of Adeboye’s standing, one of Times Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world, who is the leader of millions of Christian faithful across the world.
“His visit to Buhari is also significant because the man had been erroneously tagged a religious bigot. This visit shows Buhari’s acceptability across all faith,” Adesina stated.
Earlier, Adesina had announced Adeboye’s visit to Buhari on his Facebook page with photographs without giving details. He had only said: “President Buhari receives General Overseer Worldwide of the Redeemed Christian Church of God at Abuja House in London on August 18th, 2017.”
The visit of Adeboye yesterday also showed that in the last one week, Buhari had been visited by three groups of individuals. Last weekend, he received his media team and some other aides led by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed.
Also in the team were Adesina; Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu; Lauretta Onochie, Personal Assistant to Buhari on Digital/Online Media, and Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Senior Special Assistant on Diaspora Matters.
On Friday, six days later, Buhari also received Saraki and Dogara.
Buhari had first received a delegation of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on July 23, led by the National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun. Also in the delegation were the Chairman of APC Governors’ Forum and Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha; Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, his counterparts in Kaduna and Nasarawa States, Nasir el-Rufai and Umaru Tanko al-Makura, and the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.
But two days later, on July 25, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), dispatched to London, seven governors led by the NGF Chairman and Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari. Also in the NGF delegation were PDP governors, David Umahi (Ebonyi) and Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom).
Other governors in the delegation were Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Kashim Shettima (Borno), Samuel Ortom (Benue) and Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo).
Buhari had left the shores of Nigeria 102 days ago to receive medical treatment in London for an undisclosed ailment. The earlier visits had been prompted by the allegation by the Governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose that Buhari was on life support in a London Hospital.
Last week, after receiving his media team, Adesina said Buhari told the team that he had longed to return home but was constrained by his doctor’s advice which he said had told him to stay back in London, saying the president was left without option than to abide by his doctor’s instruction.
“I’ve learnt to obey my doctor’s orders, rather than be the one issuing the orders. Here, the doctor is absolutely in charge,” Adesina quoted Buhari as saying.
He also said Buhari thanked those praying for him at home, recalling how his roles in the ouster of former Gambian President, Yahaya Jameh, in January had brought him a huge goodwill across the globe.
“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 further quoted as saying.
Buhari left the shores of Nigeria on May 7 on an indefinite medical vacation after transmitting power to his deputy, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
This trip was his second this year after his initial 50-day medical vacation in the United Kingdom’s capital.
His continued stay in London has in recent times resulted in various protests and calls for his resignation.
Some others have persistently called on the Federal Executive Council (FEC) to declare the president incapacitated.
Throughout last week, a group of protesters led by rights activist, Dele Adeyanju, and maverick entertainer, Charles Oputa, caused a stir in Abuja, insisting on 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.”
But four days later, another group of protesters, commenced a pro-Buhari protest in the nation’s capital, dismissing the protest for his resignation as unnecessary, having complied with the constitutional provision which authorised him to transfer power to his deputy.