Suspense as Nigerians await Buhari’s return •Aisha Buhari begs Nigerians to support husband
THE fervent wish by Nigerians to see President Muhammadu Buhari return to Nigeria after a 23-day vacation in London may continue to linger for a while.
The nation was upbeat from last Friday and the greater part of Saturday following media reports about the likely return of the president, on Saturday.
Hope that the president would return dimmed as there was no visible signs at official quarters of the president on the usual preparations that precede his arrival each time he travelled outside the country.
The long wait for the president, which began after the expiration of the inintial 10 days he requested for and approved by the Senate further triggered amixture of suspense and frustration among many Nigerians with some expressing reservations for perceived action of government functionaries to take Nigeria for granted over issues affecting their president.
However, some eminent citizens, among them the senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki and the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Abubakar 11 again moved to calm frayed nerves by appealing to Nigerians to pray for him.
This was just as lot of Nigerians made enquiries from media organisations for updates on the president because of the reports that he was expected in the country on Saturday. For about two days last week, some states declared a period of prayer for him, while a number of mosques and churches held similar events.
However, there were indications that President Buhari might not be in a hurry to come back home, going by the contents of his second letter seeking the approval of the Senate to extend his vacation.
According to the letter, the president has predicated the time of his return to the decision of his doctors in London.
This much was contained in his letter dated February 5, 2017, addressed to the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara.
The Senate had on Monday, last week confirmed its receipt of the letter extending Buhari’s vacation, following a press briefing by the spokesman, Senator Sabi Abdullahi.
Though details of the letter were not made available as the Senate had suspended plenary till February 21, the letter indicated clearly that Buhari is not returning immediately.
The contents of the letter might have put a big question on repeated claims by government officials that the President was “hale and hearty” and was only relaxing in London.
The letter dated February 5 read: “Further to my letter dated 18th January 2017 in which I notified the Distinguished Senate of taking part of my annual leave.
“During my leave, I took the opportunity to have routine check-ups and consult my long standing doctors in London.
“In the course of the routine examinations, certain test result indicated the need for a course of medications and further appointments have been scheduled for next week.
“I am therefore notifying the Distinguished Senate that I am extending my leave until the doctors are satisfied that certain factors are ruled out. In the circumstances, the vice president will continue to act on my behalf.
“Please accept, Distinguished Senate President, the assurances of my highest consideration.”
Aisha appeals to Nigerians
Meanwhile, wife of the President, Aisha Buhari has appealed to Nigerians to continue to support her husband.
According to a statement which emanated from her office, she made the plea on her return to Abuja from Saudi Arabia on Saturday. She had gone to the Holy Land for the Lesser Hajj.
Signed by Director of Information, Suleiman Haruna, the statement said she expressed gratitude for the support Nigerians had given the president so far and enjoined them to continue in that direction.
‘’I want to use this opportunity to thank all Nigerians for the goodwill and support for my husband and Nigeria in general,” the statement quoted her as saying.
Also the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, have called on all Nigerians to pray for President Buhari’s safe return.
Speaking at the grand finale of the 31st national Quranic memorisation and recitation ceremony in Ilorin, on Saturday, the Senate President implored Nigerians to continue to pray for the nation, saying “we don’t have any other country than this.”
“I also call on us to pray for President Muhammadu Buhari for good health, speedy recovery and to come back home to join us soon. I urge us to pray for the unity of this country; to pray for understanding. It is my hope and prayers that as a country, we will continue to live in peace. We can always do that through teachings of the holy book,” Saraki said.
Also speaking, Sultan Abubakar urged Nigerians to pray for President Buhari, state governors and other leaders, for God to shine His light upon them for them to live aright.
“We should offer special prayers for the president for him to come back safely and continue to pilot the affairs of this country to greater height,” he said.
The Sultan enjoined religious leaders in the country to always preach peace and unity of the country.