Why Buhari’s Re­turn Is De­layed

Stays back in Lon­don to re­gain strength and weight

THISDAY - - PAGE EIGHT - Olawale Olal­eye

Though fully re­cov­ered, Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari is stay­ing back in Lon­don to re­gain phys­i­cal strength and weight be­fore he will re­turn home to re­sume du­ties, a THISDAY source said yes­ter­day.

The source, who was one of the gov­er­nors that vis­ited the pres­i­dent last week at the Abuja House, Lon­don, said Buhari needed to stay back and be fit enough be­fore re­turn­ing to the coun­try in or­der to pre­vent a re­cur­rence of what hap­pened in March 2017 when he re­turned from his sec­ond med­i­cal trip abroad but was un­able to re­sume du­ties and ap­pear at pub­lic func­tions for weeks.

Ac­cord­ing to the gov­er­nor: “The truth is that the pres­i­dent is in a very fit state of mind. His sense of hu­mour is back and the rate of rec­ol­lec­tion is en­cour­ag­ing with a very keen pres­ence of mind. But I think the rea­son he has been asked to stay be­hind is to ob­serve suf­fi­cient rest to be able to re­gain some more phys­i­cal strength, away from his present gaunt look.

“You know, the prob­lem is that the last time he was home, he barely at­tended pub­lic func­tions, including the Fed­eral Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil (FEC) as well as the Fri­day Ju’mat service, which he had been at­tend­ing be­fore he stopped show­ing pres­ence. That cre­ated a lot of con­tro­versy as mem­bers of the pub­lic were gen­uinely worried.

“If you see him now, al­though he is still very lean and gaunt but sharp and smart, I mean, for his age. How­ever, if he comes back now, he might still be stay­ing back in the house and avoid­ing pub­lic func­tions. That again will elicit anx­i­ety amongst the Nige­rian peo­ple, so, he would take suf­fi­cient rest and re­turn when he is cer­ti­fied fit to go home by his doc­tors.”

The gov­er­nor, who was ex­cited about the rate of re­cov­ery of the pres­i­dent, said the most elat­ing thing about Buhari’s health was that he had re­gained se­ri­ous rec­ol­lec­tion with an in­tense pres­ence of mind, such that he dis­missed swirling insin­u­a­tions about his poor health sta­tus.

Ac­cord­ing to the gov­er­nor, some of the undis­closed re­ports on the health of the pres­i­dent had claimed that he had be­gun to suf­fer mem­ory loss and was dif­fi­cult to com­mu­ni­cate with, a devel­op­ment that was be­lieved to have been shielded from mem­bers of the pub­lic, including the ac­tual na­ture of his ill­ness.

He said: “Hon­estly, for me, my wor­ries had been com­pounded by the fact of the re­port that he had be­gun to suf­fer mem­ory loss. Al­though we could not con­firm that story, all I was think­ing about was that if there was an iota of truth in the story, then we would be in a very se­ri­ous trouble as some peo­ple could seize power on his be­half.

“We could have a sit­u­a­tion where they would per­ma­nently keep him away from ev­ery­one and be dish­ing out in­struc­tions and or­ders on his be­half and we would be un­able to as­cer­tain whether or not those were com­ing from him. So, I had been worried un­til I saw him in Lon­don, es­tab­lished old dis­cus­sions with him and he re­called ev­ery­thing to my fas­ci­na­tion.

“He could al­most tell you word for word what you had dis­cussed with him back then. It ap­pears the older he gets, the bet­ter his sense of hu­mour. Trust me on this – I am very happy for him and the coun­try. The pres­i­dent is very well now and fit. But he is not com­ing any­time soon as some peo­ple are say­ing, but talks about him be­ing on life sup­port and about to die are all made up to over­heat the polity,” he said.

He, how­ever, hinted that the act­ing Pres­i­dent, Pro­fes­sor Yemi Os­in­bajo would start to carry out some more se­ri­ous as­sign­ments now, al­beit on the in­struc­tions of the pres­i­dent, adding that at­tempts by some to un­set­tle the polity through insin­u­a­tions on who is in charge would be put to rest with some of the de­ci­sions of the pres­i­dency in the days ahead.

“Just watch out. The act­ing pres­i­dent will start car­ry­ing out some func­tions of the of­fice of the pres­i­dent to fur­ther ease ad­min­is­tra­tive bot­tle­necks, calm nerves and al­lay un­founded fears. The truth is that the pres­i­dency is one and the same and the ploy by some fifth colum­nists to cre­ate avoid­able gulf has al­ready been de­feated by the un­break­able chem­istry be­tween the pres­i­dent and his deputy. What we have is the Muham­madu Buhari pres­i­dency and it is liv­ing up to ex­pec­ta­tions,” he said.

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