Buhari Heads to London on a Four-day Medical Trip


Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari will Tuesday embark on a four-day trip to the United Kingdom where he will see his doctors.

A statement by Malam Garba Shehu, his Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity Monday night, said the president had a meeting with his doctor last Thursday when he had a “technical stopover” for aircraft maintenance in London on his way back to Nigeria from Washington where he had met United States President Donald Trump.

According to Shehu, the doctor asked the president to return for another meeting, which he said Buhari agreed to do.

The statement added: “President Buhari will return on Saturday, May 12th.

“On his return, the president’s two-day state visit to Jigawa, which was postponed because of the All Progressives Congress’ (APC) ward congresses will now take place on Monday 14th and Tuesday 15th May.”

Buhari’s four-day medical trip to the UK will be his fifth to the country that will be made public since he assumed office three years ago.

The president first proceeded on medical vacation on June 7, 2016 over what the presidency described as a persistent “ear infection”.

At the time, Buhari was forced to cancel a two-day visit to Lagos to inaugurate projects in the state due to the “ear infection” suspected to be Ménière’s disease.

His trip at the time occurred days after presidential spokesman Femi Adesina was quoted as saying Buhari was as “fit as fiddle” and “hale and hearty”, to much criticism by political analysts and several Nigerians.

On January 19, 2017, the president embarked on yet another medical vacation and was billed to return on February 6, 2017, following what was described as a “routine medical check up”, but did not return until March 10, 2017.

Although information was limited during his stay in London, he was pictured on March 9 meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, at Abuja House, the official residence of the Nigerian High Commissioner to the UK.

On his return, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo continued to steer the ship of the country while the president recovered in Abuja.

Buhari during this period missed several major official and public engagements, and appeared very frail the few times he appeared in public, until his return to the UK on May 7, 2017 for medical reasons.

He eventually returned to Nigeria from his medical leave 104 days later on August 19, 2017.

His four-day trip to the UK to see his doctors again is bound to set tongues wagging and raise questions over his ability to run the country.

Buhari, 75, has announced his intention to seek re-election in the 2019 presidential election.