Olalekan Adetayo, Friday Olokor and Kamarudeen Ogundele
President Muhammadu Buhari’s medical vacation will on Monday (today) enter its fourth week.
The President has been away from the country for 24 days (16 working days) having left for London, United Kingdom on January 19.
As of the time he was leaving, Buhari had written the National Assembly that he would proceed on a short vacation that would see him undergoing check-ups from January 24 and would resume on February 6.
He has since transmitted another letter in which he said he had decided to extend the vacation because of the need for “a course of medications and further appointments” with his doctors.
Throughout the weekend, presidential aides and officials attached to the Protocol Unit of the Presidential Villa, Abuja were put on standby on the President’s possible return to the country.
Efforts made by agitated State House correspondents for information on the arrangements to receive the President on arrival at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport also did not yield any result.
As of the time of filing this report on Sunday evening, it was still not clear when Buhari would return to the country.
His wife, Aisha, had however on Saturday returned from Saudi Arabia where he participated in Lesser Hajj.
Many saw her return to the country as a prelude to the President’s arrival.
Amidst various speculations on the state of health of the President, his handlers including the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, had insisted that he is hale and hearty.
Buhari’s letter to the National Assembly, announcing the extension of his vacation had read, “Further to my letter dated 18th January, 2017 in which I notified the Distinguished Senate of taking part of my annual leave.
“During my leave, I took the opportunity to have routine check-ups and consult my long standing doctors in London.
“In the course of the routine examinations, certain test result indicated the need for a course of medications and further appointments have been scheduled for next week.
“I am therefore notifying the Distinguished Senate that I am extending my leave until the doctors are satisfied that certain factors are ruled out. In the circumstances, the vice-president will continue to act on my behalf.
“Please accept, Distinguished Senate President, the assurances of my highest consideration.”
Meanwhile, a former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mrs. Farida Waziri, on Sunday expressed concern about the perceived politicisation of the foreign medical trip of President Buhari with a call on Nigerians to cultivate the habit of encouraging their leaders, rather than demonising them.
According to her, the present economic hardship in the country should not lead to some citizens wishing their leaders dead.
“Speaking positively about our leaders and country will no doubt have a positive impact on our collective image around the world. Agreed, there is much suffering in the land but this should not change us from being the good people that we have always been, by wishing our leaders dead. Let us have a rethink. We can’t afford to cut our noses to spite our faces. We must not lose our humanity even in the face of hardship and recession, because it is our collective effort to build this nation,” the ex-EFCC chairman emphasised.
Waziri, in a statement obtained by The PUNCH in Abuja, said while “great nations adore their leaders, especially the good ones, and do not talk ill of them, Nigerians do not wish their leaders well.”
She said, “The world over, great nations – whether the US, UK, China, Germany or France and more – they don’t talk ill of their leaders, instead, they encourage them and build them as exemplary national figures. As the wife of Nigeria’s Ambassador to Turkey in 2004-2008, I arrived at Atatürk Airport Istanbul, my escort informed me proudly that the airport is named after the father of modern Turkey.
“Downtown Istanbul main street was also adorned with portraits of the man, Atatürk. This, to me, is one clear way to encourage and build our national figures and leaders. Let the good ones serve as good examples of good leadership and the bad ones as such.
“During an event, there was a general discussion on various leaders from different countries: Ghandi (India), Mandela (South Africa) Nyerere (Tanzania), Kenyatta (Kenya). Now a lady asked me what was the name of the Atatürk of Nigeria and for the first time I realised that Nigerians do not appreciate their leaders but would rather bad-mouth them.
“I was taken aback by the question and tried to run through my mind the names of our leaders. Now, this is the question: why do we want our leaders dead or spread rumours that they are dead? …For the late President Umaru Yar’Adua, it took the wittiness and ingenuity of former President Olusegun Obasanjo to halt the rumour mill by placing a call publicly to the late President. Now our President is on vacation and seizing the opportunity to undergo medical check-up and instead of wishing him well, Nigerians are busy spreading rumour about his death.”
Also, the Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, has said looters were the ones wishing President Buhari dead to escape prosecution.
He stated that Buhari had so far given the country exemplary leadership and cleared the rot left behind by the 16-year rule of the Peoples Democratic Party, which he said, had damaged the economy of the nation.
Ojudu spoke while hosting leaders and members of the All Progressives Congress from the 16 Local Government Areas of Ekiti State at his residence in Ado Ekiti.
He urged the APC members in Ekiti to be united and continue aggressive mobilisation ahead of the 2018 governorship poll to wrest power from Governor Ayodele Fayose-led PDP in the state.
Ojudu said, “Our President is honest, patriotic, committed and passionate that this country must be great. Nobody can accuse the President of fraud, corruption and stealing in government.” (Punchng.com)
In this interview with TOLUWANI ENIOLA, a chieftain of Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, says the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, and President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokespersons have not been sincere in their communication of the President’s health status
What is your reaction to the President’s indefinite postponement of his return to Nigeria?
I wish him well and pray for his quick recovery.
Do you think the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, and Femi Adesina are saying the truth about the President’s health status?
I was listening to Lai Mohammed last night. He said the President is hale and hearty. Using the phrase “hale and hearty” for the President who went to the UK on a 10-day leave and had to extend it, shows something is not right.
First, Nigerians were told that Buhari was going on vacation and that he would do checkup. At the end of the 10 days, we were told his doctor asked him to wait to obtain the result of some medical tests, and he comes out again to tell us he is hale and hearty. From their evidence, both Lai Mohammed and the Femi Adesina are talking nonsense. One said the President is sick. Mohammed said he is hale and hearty. Yet when the time came for him to resume, he didn’t.
Are you saying they are lying?
We should ask: does one do medical tests for somebody who is hale and hearty? That is their language. I am only criticising them based on the evidence they provided. They (Mohammed and Adesina) are inconsistent, incoherent and they do not show sincerity (in their communication of the president’s health status). I am not a fool. Nigerians are not fools.
They are being economical with the truth. Adesina and Mohammed are talking balderdash. They are taking us for a ride. My own experience is that when somebody is sick and you can’t say what is wrong with him, doctors would ask such a fellow to do a series of test. And yet you tell us the man is hale and hearty.
Nobody wants Buhari dead but they are not telling us the truth. Human beings can fall sick, which is natural. What is wrong in saying this man has an ailment? It is now left for people to pray for speedy recovery. Yet, our hopes were raised that there is nothing wrong with the man and yet he cannot resume. They forget that all of us have a stake in his health. They are insulting our intelligence.
Some have been clamouring for a law to stop public office-holders from seeking medical treatment abroad. Is this reasonable?
A law like that may infringe on individual’s rights. We can only say if any public office-holder wants medical treatment abroad, it should not be at the expense of the country. If a public office-holder feels that the medical service he desires cannot be obtained here, he can go abroad but not at public’s expense.
What is your comment on Buhari’s refusal to use the Aso Rock clinic despite the huge budget voted for it?
It is a fundamental issue for us in this country to equip our hospitals so that nobody would have to go abroad for medical treatment. This is one of the things we want the government to change and proffer solutions to. We have the expertise but we lack the equipment.
What is the difference between the secrecy surrounding the late Umar Yar’Adua’s health and that of President Buhari? Have any lessons been learnt?
The present President wrote to the National Assembly that he was travelling abroad on vacation. He also handed over to the Vice-President. So, there is really no problem about that since he followed the constitutional provision. But in the case of Yar’Adua, the late president didn’t write to the National Assembly and he did not hand over to the vice-president.
Do you think Buhari should address Nigerians from the UK and disclose his health status?
We should understand that the President, by the virtue of his position, no longer has any privacy. Nigerians are entitled to know every progress about his health. Those who are demonstrating in the UK were doing the legitimate thing because the citizens over there are well-informed about the medical status of their leaders. Why should our own be different? The same obtains in the United States. When things are not going well, we attribute it to Nigerian factor. Good governance has a standard. When we don’t follow democratic norms and principles, that is when people will keep protesting.
Did the APC make a good decision fielding Buhari as its presidential candidate based on his health?
I have no comment about that. They picked him so who am I to condemn their decision? It is for them now to decide. If they had known, they should be blaming themselves now. Anybody can fall sick.
The Federal Government has been assuring Nigerians that things would change. With two years to the end of this administration, do you really think there is light at the end of the tunnel?
Let us not deceive ourselves. From the outset, I was one of those who said it was too early to criticise Buhari. But going to two years now, things are going worse, that is the evidence. Yet, they (FG) continue to blame the previous government. That is not right. The All Progressives Congress said it would do better which was why it was voted into power. Now, they are saying something else. There is no light at the end of the tunnel because the instruments responsible for their non-performance have not been changed. You can’t achieve change when the right method is not in place.
It took Buhari six months to form his cabinet. Up till now, there is no economic programme. I don’t buy any jargon or propaganda that there is hope. They are preparing a solution that by the time it comes to fruition, everybody would be in the grave. That is what is happening now. Everybody is complaining. Even the middle class finds it difficult to go to the market. And the government keeps telling us to be patient. Some people are committing suicide. So, by the time your programmes are achieved, who will enjoy it?
Recently, former President Olusegun Obasanjo said the Igbo should have a go at the Presidency. Do you agree?
Why do you people give credence to Obasanjo? Obasanjo is a troublemaker. Seventy per cent of the problems we have in this country were caused by Obasanjo. He has never been consistent. He said (former President Goodluck) Jonathan didn’t do well and changed the tone later. Is that the type of man you want me to rely on? He likes to cause confusion and problems. If he says something today, tomorrow he will say that was not what he meant. I don’t give any regard to his statement. (Punchng.com)
John Alechenu, Friday Olokor, Olalekan Adetayo, Kayode Idowu and Gibson Achonu
Presidential aides were on Friday put on standby over the imminent return of President Muhammadu Buhari from London, United Kingdom.
Buhari, who left Nigeria on January 19, was initially scheduled to return to the country last Sunday in preparation for resumption to office last Monday.
However, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, later issued a statement announcing that Buhari had notified the National Assembly of his decision to extend his vacation.
Adesina had attributed the extension to the need for the President to wait behind and receive the results of medical tests which he had undergone on the advice of his doctors.
Sources at the Presidential Villa, Abuja told one of our correspondents on Friday that Buhari was being expected this weekend. The sources said that presidential aides and officials of the Protocol Unit, as well as security operatives, had been put on the alert over the President’s imminent arrival.
One of the sources said, “The President is expected back this weekend. We are expecting him to return either on Saturday or Sunday.
“As of now, we are not sure of the time of his arrival yet. The Protocol Unit will confirm that to us later.”
Another official said if the President would return by Saturday afternoon, his arrival time would be clear by the (Saturday) morning.
Amidst growing concern that Buhari had extended his vacation indefinitely as his new resumption date was not included in his latest letter to the National Assembly, Adesina had during the week, said the President would return sooner than expected.
“In a communication to the National Assembly, the President did not disclose when he is coming back but the President may be coming back sooner than people think,” the presidential spokesman had told a television station.
Atiku urges Nigerians to pray for President
Meanwhile, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has urged Nigerians of all faiths to pray for the President.
Atiku, who is also a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, said the President needs the prayers of all Nigerians at times like these.
This was contained in a press statement issued by his Media Office in Abuja on Friday.
Atiku was quoted as saying, “We deserve the care and support of one another in trying times.
“Each of us goes through times when we are not in top form. The last thing we need in such times is mockery or ill will.”
Prayers hold in Borno mosques for recovery
Imams in about 350 Jumma’at mosques in Borno State on Friday led thousands of worshippers in special prayers to wish President Buhari speedy recovery. Special prayers were held in Maiduguri, Jere, Biu and other parts of the state.
The prayers, which were conducted at the request of the Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, were in appreciation of President Buhari’s commitment to the fight against the Boko Haram insurgency, which resulted in the liberation of many communities and the return of relative peace to the state.
Although, there are 542 Jumma’at mosques in the state, only about 350 of them were estimated to be operating as residents of some highly populated towns like Bama had yet to fully return home from internally displaced persons’ camps.
The prayers were based on a request conveyed by the Chief Imam of Borno State, Imam Ibrahim Ahmed, to all Imams of functional Jumma’at mosques.
The Chief Imam mobilised fellow Muslim clerics for prayers following letters addressed to him by Governor Shettima. A similar letter was also sent to the Borno State Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Bishop William Naga.
The state Commissioner for Religious Affairs, Mustapha Fannarambe, signed the two letters, titled, “Request for intensification of prayers for the complete recovery of Mr. President.”
It was learnt that the state’s chapter of CAN had also communicated with pastors to organise similar prayers in all churches across the state during the Sunday’s service.
APC women to organise National Prayer Summit
Worried about Buhari’s state of health, women leaders in the APC are also organising a National Prayer Summit for the President and the nation.
The prayer summit, being organised by the office of the APC Deputy National Women Leader, is to hold in Enugu.
The APC Deputy National Women Leader, Chief Tina Adike, who disclosed this to journalists in Owerri, Imo State, said that the non-denominational prayer summit would also cut across all political parties.
Decrying the unpleasant rumours making the rounds about the President, Adike noted that death is not exclusive to elderly persons alone.
While attributing the rumours about the health of the President to ignorance of the provisions of the nation’s constitution, which she said the President had adhered to, Adike said women in the country were hopeful that if Nigerians were committed, patriotic and selfless, it would be well with Nigeria.
PFN urges Buhari to fix economy, stabilise currency
Meanwhile, the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria has called on the administration of President Buhari to inject life into the country by curbing inflation and finding solutions to the problems affecting the economy, including the rising foreign exchange.
A statement issued by the Director (Media and Public Relations) of PFN, Simbo Olorunfemi, said the call was part of resolutions taken during its just-concluded 14th Biennial Conference held in Benin, Edo State.
He said, “The PFN is concerned about the state of the Nigerian economy and the hardship being experienced by citizens. It calls on the Federal Government to take urgent steps to mitigate the pains of Nigerians, curb inflation, stem the tide of unemployment and find solution to the exchange rate that has eroded the value of the naira.
“A number of issues of concern to the Church and of national interest were discussed at the conference and the PFN resolved on the need for the Federal Government to live up to its constitutional responsibility of securing lives and property, especially in the face of terrorist activities by so-called herdsmen and the recent killings in Southern Kaduna.”
I’ve not spoken to president since he travelled –Minister
CAN demands details of Buhari’s health
From Kemi Yesufu and Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
Twenty-one days after he left Nigeria, on medical vacation, to London, the United Kingdom, President Muhammadu Buhari, spoke with Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara in separate telephone conversations on wednesday night.
This is coming on the heels of information that the president may return either today or tomorrow.
Yesterday, former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his Osun State counterpart, Bisi Akande visited the president, in London.
Thereafter, the State House posted pictures of the visit.
The Presidency, using @NGRPresident official Twitter handle, said the meeting took place in Nigeria’s official residence in London.
“President @MBuhari currently receiving party leaders, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Chief Bisi Akande, in Abuja House, London,” the tweet said.
About half an hour later, the handle posted another picture, saying the president and his guests just finished a meeting.
Daily Sun learnt that president Buhari called the speaker at about 9:20pm on Wednesday and spoke with him for a little over five minutes.
It was also gathered that although the president and the speaker discussed other national issues, their discussion centred on how the Executive and the Legislature can work together to ensure food security for Nigerians and prevent a relapse into events of 2016.
When contacted, Dogara’s Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Turaki Hassan confirmed that both men have been in contact.
“As the Speaker tweeted via his official twitter handle @YakubDogara, Mr. President called him at around 9:20pm, Wednesday evening, and they spoke for about five minutes.”
“They discussed some national issues, including ways of ensuring food security for Nigerian,” Hassan stated.
Senate President, Bukola Saraki had, also, used Twitter, earlier in the week, to assure the public that the president was in good health.
Saraki, through his twitter handle @bukolasaraki, said he spoke with the president on Wednesday night, and he (President Buhari) was in high spirit.
“Happy to have spoken with President Buhari tonight. He was in good spirits and joked about my working late into the night, as usual,” Saraki had tweeted.
However, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Godfrey Onyeama, yesterday, in Enugu, told newsmen that he has not had a direct communication with Buhari since he travelled.
He disclosed this shortly after completing his re-registration exercise of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in his Eke ward, in Udi Local Government Area.
“As minister I spoke to him before I went to the AU summit; we were together, actually not too long ago, in Mali, Bamako, in mid-January. I came back and had to go to Addis Ababa, while he went to London. We spoke before all that happened.
“The president is at his official residence in London, and not in hospital; he will be back as soon as possible. In my opinion, we don’t need to make out anything from that. When you consider the pace he’s been working, it must have taken a huge toll on him.
“He’s probably not had more than three weeks rest, that’s not enough in 18 months,” Onyeama said .
Meanwhile, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has advised the presidency to release details of the full progress of President Buhari’s recovery.
Buhari was due to return to the country last Sunday, but, he extended his vacation, indefinitely.
Femi Adesina, his spokesman, had explained that Buhari’s doctors advised him to stay back to receive the results of a series of tests.
In a statement yesterday, CAN called on all Nigerians to join hands in prayers for the “quick and full recovery of Mr. President”.
“President Muhammadu Buhari is human, hence, he is subject to health challenges, sometimes. CAN appreciates the anxiety of Nigerians to hear Mr. President speak, but sues for understanding as we await that,” read the statement signed by Kwamkur Samuel, director of legal and public affairs.
“It’s very clear our leader is passing through health challenges. We advise the presidency to update Nigerians on how he is fairing and the full progress of his recovery.
“We call on all Christians and, indeed, all God-fearing Nigerians to dedicate time for prayers for our president and the nation. We owe our leaders prayers and support at all times, while shunning divisive opinions that only generate strive.”
CAN also canvassed support for acting President Yemi Osinbajo, saying he deserves prayers to lead well.
“We acknowledge that government is a continuum, hence, we call on acting president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo to be bold in handling critical state matters and not to be distracted by those who do not wish Nigeria well,” the statement said. (The Sun)
For two weeks, Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s septuagenarian president, has been out of action, receiving medical treatment in London for an undisclosed illness. His absence has sent the rumour mill of Africa’s most populous nation spinning, with frequent erroneous reports that the president is dead.
The tragedy for Nigeria is that policymaking has been so ponderous during the 20 months since Mr Buhari took office that, dead or alive, it is not always easy to tell the difference.
Under Mr Buhari’s slow-blinking leadership, Africa’s largest economy has drifted into crisis. Brought low by the weak oil price, on which government revenues are woefully dependent, the system has been starved of dollars. That has driven businesses into the ground, people on to the margins and the economy into its worst recession in 25 years. What had been a growing middle class is being daily eviscerated. High inflation, especially for food, is damaging the poor in whose name Mr Buhari ran for office.
There are signs that Nigerians — among the most resilient and adaptive people on the continent — are losing patience. This week, there were small, but rowdy, protests in Lagos and Abuja, at which demonstrators complained about their “missing president”.
There is an irony that Mr Buhari, a retired major general, is missing in action. He ran the country as a military ruler in the mid-1980s after seizing power in a coup. In civilian guise, his leadership style has verged on the invisible. After winning power in 2015 on the fourth attempt at the ballot box, he set out at a pace that has marked his presidency: it took him six months to name a cabinet. Hopes that he had surrounded himself with a lean team of capable technocrats empowered to get policy cranking have come to nought. Policymaking — such that it is — has been crafted instead by a tiny cabal of loyal, less qualified, stalwarts. Mr Buhari has failed to articulate anything approaching a vision.
During his campaign, Nigeria’s soldier-turned-politician promised to train his sight on three main objectives: to improve security, crack down on corruption and diversify the oil-dependent economy. Progress on the first two has been patchy and on the third dismal.
On security, Mr Buhari has managed to galvanise a demoralised army and make gains against Boko Haram, a terrorist organisation that had been metastasizing beyond its northern base. Boko Haram has been pushed back into a north-eastern redoubt and across the border into Cameroon and Chad. But that displacement has been offset by security flare-ups elsewhere, most seriously in the Niger Delta where militants have been sabotaging oil production.
Mr Buhari’s anti-corruption drive can be boiled down to a few symbolic gestures and a few high-profile cases against members of the previous administration. Yet, systemically, little has changed. The confused exchange rate policy — in which the central bank doles out scarce dollars at an advantageous rate — is a recipe for opacity. The dollar shortage is killing off industry rather than nurturing it.
Seventy per cent of Nigeria’s 170m people were not born when Mr Buhari was last running the show so they might not notice that his policies are stuck in the same 1980s groove. Statist and redistributionist by inclination, he finds himself in charge of a dysfunctional state and an economy with few revenues to recirculate.
To be fair, Mr Buhari inherited a dire situation courtesy of his hapless predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan. He did the country a service simply by beating Mr Jonathan in an election and sparing the country of further wilful misrule. Yet Dele Olojede, a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, says Mr Buhari’s government has been “spinning around in circles”.
As well as the president’s flawed policies, he blames a bloated political system in which most of the 36 states (far too many) spend their time grovelling for federal funds. The mosaic of Nigerian politics is complicated by the need to balance power between north and south and between the plethora of regions and linguistic groups represented in the cabinet. That makes for a parasitic state, not one that can solve problems. “This is a system designed to fail even if you have capable people in charge,” says Mr Olojede, who does not put Mr Buhari in that category.
Nigeria has drifted before, though rarely at a time of such pressing crisis. In 2010, President Umaru Yar’Adua died in office after months in which his illness had been covered up. The man supposedly in charge of the country had been literally sleeping on the job. Mr Buhari may not be as ill as the rumours suggest. Politically, though, rigour mortis set in quite some time ago.
Financial Times, London
Fidelis Soriwei, Leke Baiyewu and Olaleye Aluko
The Senate on Tuesday confirmed the receipt of a letter from President Muhammadu Buhari, informing the legislature of his intention to extend his medical vacation in the United Kingdom.
The upper chamber of the National Assembly however failed to provide details of the letter.
Earlier on Sunday, the Presidency had announced that Buhari’s 10-day vacation to the UK had been extended.
The extension was contained in a three-paragraph statement made available to journalists by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina.
Adesina said the extension was necessary to allow the President complete a series of tests recommended by his doctors and get the results before he could return to Nigeria.
Although he said Buhari had already dispatched a letter to the National Assembly on the extension, he did not specify the duration of the extension.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Sabi Abdullahi, while briefing journalists on the letter, said, “ …You will recall that we received, before we suspended plenary, a letter from Mr. President which was dated 18th January, 2017, where he informed the distinguished senators that he was proceeding on his vacation for 10 days and this is to meet the constitutional provisions…
“In this second letter, he is informing the Senate that he is extending his vacation because in the cause of that routine medical check-up, there were still some tests his doctors still want to run further and so, because of that, he is extending his stay. This is a constitutional provision and let me say it is within his prerogative to do so and we are in receipt of that letter accordingly.”
The spokesman said the Senate was waiting for the safe return of the President.
When asked if the date of Buhari’s return was stated in the letter or it was indefinite, Abdullahi stated that the letter did not say indefinite “because indefinite is taking the matter out of context.”
He added, “But, then, he said he’s extending (his vacation); that is, beyond the 10 days he had asked for and because the tests that are going to be run are not in his hands (to be determined by him) – it is in the hands of the doctors – he is not giving us a date. But, definitely, he’s extending (his vacation) and I think that is what is important.”
When asked for how many days the legislature would permit the President to remain on vacation, the Senate’s spokesperson said he was not sure if the constitution had a specific duration for a President’s absence from duty.
Abdullahi was also asked whether it was compulsory for the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to reconvene the lawmakers and read the content of the letter at the plenary on the floor of the chamber.
Abdullahi said, “I am here to speak on behalf of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We are in receipt of that letter and we are telling you because Nigerians have been asking. Whatever is reported through whatever medium is not my own business. Our business is what we do here and that is what I know. Now that we have the letter, I am here to say we have the letter and that is what is important.”
When asked to react to the opinion of a lawyer that Buhari’s letter remained invalid until it had been read to the lawmakers, the Senate spokesperson stated that the lawyer was not a senator.
Abdullahi also could not be categorical on the date the letter was received by Saraki.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, had, penultimate week, in an interview with CNBC Africa, monitored in Abuja insisted that Buhari was not ill.
Adesina had insisted that Buhari was only in London on vacation and was not in any hospital.
Meanwhile, Adesina has said the circumstances surrounding the health status of President Muhammadu Buhari could not be compared with what obtained with the late President Umar Yar’Adua in 2009.
Adesina said this on Tuesday in an interview with BBC Focus on Africa Today, monitored by one of our correspondents, while reacting to a question that the government had been silent on updates on the President’s health.
The SA had been asked, “The Action Congress in 2009 renewed its call on the Federal Government to give Nigerians a daily update on the health of President Umaru Yar’Adua to stem the growing rumours surrounding his state of health. Now, why are you guys not doing the same thing that was suggested eight years ago?”
Adesina said, “The circumstances are not exactly the same. I think we are talking about two ‘incommensurates’ here. Because with President Yar’Aduua in 2009, one, he left the country, nobody knew where he was going. With President Buhari, we knew where he was going, with President Yar’Adua, we didn’t know when he was coming back, with President Buhari, a date was given.
“President Yar’Adua left without transmitting power to the Vice-President, President Buhari didn’t leave until he had transferred power to his deputy, the Vice-President who is now the deputy president. So, you can see that the two circumstances are not exactly the same.” (Punchng.com)
By Ike A. Offor
In his address to the consultative forum yesterday, the Ag. President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo declared ‘we hear you, loud and clear’ in a response to the ongoing antigovernment protests against his government’s economic policies that have seen the country’s economy go from thriving or healthy into serious recession.
The economic downturn has affected every facet of the economy and its concomitant effect is indeed biting really hard on the entire country. Some weird narratives have been heard on what various citizens do now to make ends meet. Crimes, even petty crimes, have skyrocketed and the bitterness has increased and the masses are indeed restless.
In the excerpts from the opening remarks of Ag. President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, in yesterday consultative forum between the Economic Management Team and the Private Sector on the Economic Recovery Growth Plan, which is to be launched later this month.
WE HEAR YOU loud and clear, those who are on the streets protesting the economic situation and even those who are not, but feel the pain of economic hardship. We hear you loud and clear. You deserve a decent life and we are working night and day to make life easier .
The Ag. President also recalled the words of President Buhari, a few months ago when he said:
“I know that uppermost in your minds today is the economic crisis, the recession for many individuals and families is real. For some it means not being able to pay school fees, for others it is not being able to afford the high cost of rice, millet, or of local or international travel. And for many of our young people the recession means joblessness, sometimes after graduating from university or polytechnic.
I know how difficult things are, and how rough business is. All my adult life I have always earned a salary, and I know what it is like when your salary simply is not enough. In every part of our nation people are making incredible sacrifices.”
The journey out of the damage caused by years of neglect and corruption is bound to be difficult but there is a glorious light at the end of the tunnel. Let us work together, steadfastly and patiently for the economic change that will come very soon.
Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN
Federal Republic of Nigeria
February 6, 2017
The Emir of Ilorin, Dr Ibrahim Sulu Gambari has said that traditional rulers will continue to rally support for President Muhammadu Buhari for the success of his administration.
The Emir stated this when the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, paid him a courtesy visit in his palace in company with six other ministers.
The visit was on the side-lines of the Federal Government Town Hall meeting for the North Central zone held on Monday in Ilorin.
The monarch said, “Speaking on behalf of majority of traditional rulers of this county, we will offer help anytime and anywhere we are called upon.
“We trust the president of this country, we know him to be a man of discipline and we hope he can tidy up things that are very rough now.
“We pray that on his sojourn to England, he will get better and return to us in good health so that he can continue the good work that the majority of this country are expecting.”
The Emir also expressed confidence in members of cabinet of the president, particularly those on the entourage.
He said, “You are the eyes of Mr President.
“When the names of ministers were made public, we said, yes, this time around, we are very serious and ready for good governance.
“Though it took time for Mr President to name his cabinet but it is better late and to select good hands that can deliver.
“We are very optimistic that this administration will make positive impact on the nation and the people.”
The monarch called on Nigerians to support the change agenda of the administration.
Earlier, the Information minister said they were in the palace to pay homage to the monarch after the town hall meeting for the North central states of Kwara, Kogi and Niger.
He also said that they were particularly impressed with the quality of traditional rulers that attended the town hall meeting from the three states.
The minister noted that the town hall meeting was a very robust engagement with the people and they would take the recommendations therefrom to the president for consideration.
He thanked the Emir for his role in ensuring peace in his domain and the country as a whole.
The publisher of Ovation Magazine and a former presidential candidate, Mr. Dele Momodu, has criticised President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, describing members of his cabinet as timid and weak.
Momodu told SUNDAY PUNCH in a telephone interview that he disagreed with Buhari’s approach to fighting corruption.
The media guru further likened the President’s anti-graft crusade to that of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, noting the reason for the widespread corruption was being overlooked.
He said, “I’ve always expressed my view about fighting corruption. I think while it is very desirable and necessary, there are more ways and methodologies to deal with corruption. Firstly, we must ask ourselves, ‘Why are people generally corrupt?’
“The definition of corruption in Nigeria is faulty. People think that you have to be a minister or governor to be corrupt. But if we all agree that corruption is endemic, then we must go to the root cause.
“The root cause of corruption, in my view, begins with need before it graduates to greed. Can an average Nigerian survive on his income or salary? The answer is a big no.”
He noted that people must make ends meet by all means “because the natural instinct of man is survival.”
When asked about his support for Buhari, he said, “My support has never been a blank check. I gave my support; I still give my support. I will give him a chance. I believe he can still do something if he wants to.
“As I have advised in my articles, he needs to jazz up his cabinet. I believe that his cabinet is very weak and ineffectual. That is my opinion and that of many people, including one of his biggest supporters, (Pastor)Tunde Bakare.
“He needs to do something about his cabinet. He also needs to free them a bit. I think they are a bit uptight. They are too scared and timid. They look intimidated, like they don’t have the freedom to initiate anything. It is (evident from) the body language of the president.”
Momodu explained that in order to survive, an average Nigerian is forced to try anything available, adding that people fight and die for positions of authority and power in Nigeria because they know their lives will change once they get an appointment.
“But the moment you make it (public offices) less attractive, and an average person can survive on his daily income, all those things will change. I believe Buhari is using the same methodology that someone like (former) President Obasanjo had established in his time.
“The system is not too different from what Nuhu Ribadu was operating: arrest, investigate, prosecute; and a lot of the times, you’ve already destroyed the accused on the pages of newspapers. So, you’re not sure if the person is innocent or not.
“For me, that is not the way to do it. The best way to do it is to, first of all, have a uniform standards for all public officials so that nobody feels discriminated against,” he said. (Punchng.com)