Two weeks after his return to Nigeria from the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa in Jordan, President Muhammadu Buhari departed the country on Thursday for a “private visit” in London.
Why it matters: Buhari is expected to spend the next 10 days in the country without divulging details on his visit. “He is expected to return to Nigeria on May 5, 2019,” presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina said.
From what we are hearing, the President would visit his doctor and also spend quiet time recuperating ahead of the coming Ramadan fast and his inauguration for a second term. However, the characteristic hush that surrounds the President’s visits especially to London, where he consults with his private doctor has created room for unforgettable controversies and conspiracy theorists.
Lest we forget:
- The Rats invasion: In 2017, it took Buhari 81 days after his return from a London medical trip to show up at his office. The reason given for this absence was that rats invaded his office. Per Garba Shehu: “Following the three months period of disuse, rodents have caused a lot of damage to the furniture and the air conditioning units.”
- President Buhari is a ‘sudanese clone’: Separatist Biafra movement leader, Nnamdi Kanu said the President was swapped in London with a person named “Jubril” from Sudan. The Nigerian President told the world last year that he is not a clone.
- The President was not allowed to see his wife: According to Sahara Reporters, even First Lady Aisha Buhari, could not see the President as a ‘cabal’ tried to protect the President from information leaking to the public. In a leaked audio Mamman Daura (a prominent member of the ‘cabal’) was discussing with a friend about the President’s health and referred to the President’s wife in a disparaging manner – ‘Suicide Bomber From Yola’.
The opposition needs answers: Opposition Peoples Democratic Party chairman, Uche Secondus wants the President to offer more details to the taxpayers who are responsible for his trip. “He is not going to the UK on a commercial airline; but on a presidential jet that is being maintained by taxpayers. Nigerians are going to be responsible for his welfare and the welfare of those who are going with him.
“The President should, therefore, open up and tell Nigerians his itinerary in the UK. Is he going on holiday? Is he going for medicals? Who are those who will be his guests there and where will he visit? Is he going on a short break?”
Bottom Line: Since becoming President in 2015, Buhari’s visits to London have become somewhat of a reoccurring event. However, these visits have since become a thing of apprehension after he spent over over 100 days in London on medical tourism in 2017. With his inauguration in less than a month, it is perhaps worth expecting that this will in fact be a short visit.