An online medium, Sahara Reporters, on Monday evening reported that President Muhammadu Buhari might extend his 10-day trip to London, where he had gone to treat an ear infection.
According to the report, Buhari needs to undergo treatment for “a terrible cough that has persisted longer than the ear infection.
The President had in the last few weeks cancelled official visits to Lagos and Rivers states, where he was represented by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.
The online medium also reported that a source said that Buhari would stay in “Abuja House,” the official residence of the Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom during the trip
Meanwhile, President Buhari has said there is no big deal in his having an ear-related infection.
He said, “Is there anybody that doesn’t fall sick?” That was President Buhari’s parting shot to Nigerians on Monday as he departed the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja for London where he is expected to see specialists over what the Presidency described as a “persistent ear infection.”
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, had announced on Sunday that Buhari would be proceeding on a 10-day vacation beginning from Monday during which he would see an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist in London.
During a brief interaction he had with journalists before leaving the Presidential Wing of the airport, Buhari was asked to react to the tension being created by his ailment.
It was at that point that the President asked the reporters if there was anybody that would not fall sick at one point or the other in his lifetime.
When asked what his message to Nigerians would be at this time, Buhari simply said, “I have already told Nigerians that I am going for 10 days to get my ear checked.”
When further asked if he had communicated his decision to go on vacation to the National Assembly as required by law, the President said, “The National Assembly knows; they have been formally informed.”
With the notice to the National Assembly, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo is expected to act as President for the period Buhari will be away.
Shortly after Buhari’s interview, Adesina insisted in an interview with journalists that the President was not ill.
He said although the President had an ear infection, that had not in any way stopped him from performing his duties as the President of the country.
The presidential aide said, “The buzz going round the town is that the President is ill, but ‘ill’ will be a misnomer, it should not be the right word to use.
“The President is going for a 10-day rest and during that period he will see specialists who will look at his ear because he has been treating that ear locally for some time.
“Nigerian physicians have looked at it and now they have said ‘you are going to UK, when you get there, let specialists look at the ear.’
“They have treated it locally so it is not a question of whether the President is ill. If he is ill, it presupposes that there are certain things that he cannot do.
“But till the very last minute that he is travelling, the President performed the duties and functions of his office as the President. So illness is not the issue.”
Adesina, however, said as a human being, Buhari was entitled to a vacation.
He said with the latest vacation, the President would have rested for only 15 days since he assumed office.
He urged Nigerians to pray for Buhari so that God would take care of him and the country.
“As a human being, yes he can rest. He has been President for one full year, you know that in February he took five days’ leave, he is taking another 10 days now. That means 15 days’ leave in one year.
“You and I take more than that. So, it is natural that the President, as a human being, is taking 10 days’ rest but he is not ill.
“We need to underscore that. Rather than going into a frenzy I will urge Nigerians to just show goodwill and patriotism, they should pray for him and wish him well.
“Things about health, life and death are in the hands of God, but I believe that all is well with our President and God will take care of him and take care of the country,” the presidential spokesman said.