It has been a cause of concern for about three weeks now. No thanks to some unkind rumour about the death in the United Kingdom of President Muhammadu Buhari. But last week, controversy about the state of health of the president reached a crescendo. Nigerians, during rallies and on social media, demanded full disclosure on his health status.
The president had asked for a 10-day leave in an earlier communication to the National Assembly and also asked that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo run the government while he is away. Femi Adesina, his special adviser media had said that the president merely used the opportunity of his vacation to do a routine medical check up.
But by the time he asked for an extension earlier in the week, stating that he needed to stay back for the results of the test conducted on him, tongues started wagging once again. The opposition, in particular, was of the view that the ruling party and the government were hiding something about the health of the president, which they assumed was precarious. The argument is that the president’s handlers were not saying the truth, probably because they believe that the reality was not going to be good music to the hears of Nigerians.
To douse the growing apprehension, therefore, there were added efforts by officials of government to debunk the rumours and address the agitations.
First, the acting president told Nigerians how he had spoken to the President and intimated him with the protests in the country and how he had sounded to be of good health. If Nigerians would believe Osinbajo, having not been caught misrepresenting facts before, they appeared to have held with a pinch of salt the assurances of Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, who insisted that the president’s health matter did not require government issuing a bulletin. According to him, the prevailing situation was different from what held in 2009 when he as a member of opposition then asked for full disclosure of the health of then President Umaru Yar’Adua. But Bukola Saraki, senate president also weighed in. He said he had spoken to the President on the telephone and he is convinced that the man’s health is not impaired. The senate president sought to make light of the fears over the President’s health when he said that they shared a joke. Hear him: “He was in good spirits and joked about my working late into the night, as usual.”
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