Finally, President Mohammadu Buhari has completely withdrawn from public glare even at the presidential villa as he was absent in Aso Rock Mosque for the usual Juma’at prayer, Friday.
His absence reinforced speculations about the deteriorating state of his health which had rendered him incapable of presiding over the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meetings for two consecutive times.
The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo had been holding forth for him, presiding over the FEC meetings and handling virtually all assignments expected to be done personally by the President.
The Presidency had also kept mute on the exact state of Buhari’s health aliment, but prefers to rationalise and justify his absence each time with cocktails of alibi.
On 13 April, President Buhari was absent at the FEC meeting while his Vice President presided and the Information Minister, Lai Mohammed explained that his absence was due to other pressing issues he was attending.
The following week, FEC could not hold and the presidency explained that it was due to the Easter holidays which prevented Ministers from preparing their memos for presentation at the meeting.
Last Wednesday also, the President was absent at the FEC meeting presided by Prof. Osinbajo while the Information Minister explained that the President was still resting, adding that he would be operating from his official residence.
The President had since his return from London for treatment of undisclosed aliment, been out of public glare resting, and receiving medical treatments at home.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Shehu Garba, said despite the lack of President’s visibility, that he had not abdicated his responsibility.
According to Garba in the statement, “President Buhari’s absence at the Federal Executive Council meeting of Wednesday, April 26, was a last minute decision; otherwise, the cabinet and the public might have been alerted in advance.
“As eager as he is to be up and about, the President’s doctors have advised on his taking things slowly, as he fully recovers from the long period of treatment in the United Kingdom some weeks ago.
“President Buhari himself, on his return to the country, made Nigerians aware of the state of his health while he was in London. Full recovery is sometimes a slow process, requiring periods of rest and relaxation, as the Minister for Information, Lai Mohammed, intimated in his press briefing after the FEC meeting on Wednesday.
“Despite his lack of visibility, Nigerians should rest assured that President Buhari has not abdicated his role as Commander-in-Chief of Nigeria.
“He receives daily briefings on the activities of government, and confers regularly with his Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo. His private residence, in which he has been spending the majority of his time recently, also has a fully equipped office.
“God is the giver of life and health. We are grateful that He has seen our President through the worst period of his convalescence in London. We are thankful that the President has passed a number of benchmarks already. We pray that God continues to see him through this period of recuperation.”