The Oasis Reporters
February 09, 2017
The list of family and friends claiming to have spoken with President Muhammadu Buhari who is on an unprecedented extended medical vacation abroad seem to grow by the day.
The latest is his sister, Hajiya Rakiya, the only surviving elder sister of President Muhammad Buhari who has appealed to Nigerians to continue to pray for the well-being of the President, instead of spreading rumours about his health.
The 84-year-old, in an interview with NAN, said the president needed the prayers of every Nigerian for him to succeed in the task of addressing the problems facing the nation adding that President Buhari being a mortal is bound to fall ill or even die “at any time his Creator wishes”.
She said she speaks with the president everyday since his departure to London on his annual leave and he is in high spirits .
“I just returned from the lesser Hajj and even while in Saudi Arabia I was communicating with him everyday,” Rakiya popularly called Amadodo said.
“We were 28 from our mother late Hajiya Zulaihatu who died in 1992, but Buhari was her last born” she said.
In another vein, Alhaji Aminu Na-Dari, a close ally of President Muhammadu Buhari said he is in constant touch with the president since his departure and their conversation did not in anyway indicate that he is having any health challenge.
He said the current economic hardship was not caused by the present administration. On the contrary, the Buhari government has been working hard to remedy the situation.
Analysts assert that it may well be so, but President Buhari’s tardiness worsened Nigeria’s economic mess. He met an inflation rate of about 8%, but put in policies that quickly drove it to double digits, rising steadily month on month to over 18%, while he did nothing, refused to constitute a cabinet for six months nor inaugurate an economic team, though he had an avuncular and vociferous media team that laid every blame on phantom corruption while not solving a single economic problem.
Under Buhari’s regime in less than two years saw the soaring of food prices, such that a bag of rice rose from about seven thousand naira under the previous regime of Goodluck Jonathan to over twenty four thousand naira, much more than the average minimum wage of a Nigerian civil servant.
Foreign analysts further aver that Buhari turned a mere currency exchange crisis into a full blown recession due to his topsy-turvy economic policies. It therefore beggars belief when people around him claim that he should not be held accountable for Nigeria’s economic downturn, to a large extent.
Still it is worthy of note that his party, the All Progressives Congress has apologized to Nigerians through it’s leaders, the latest being his vice president and acting President, Mr. Yemi Osinbajo, a former law professor at the University of Lagos in South West Nigeria.
Yemi Osinbajo too, has claimed that he has spoken to Mr. Buhari to brief him on the nationwide demonstrations over the economic hardships Nigerians were passing through, acknowledging that there was suffering in the land, but that they were working hard to take the country out of recession, without stating the plans they have up their sleeves.
He finally claimed that Mr. Buhari was “hale and hearty” but was exhausted therefore needing extended and indefinite time to attend to his medical examinations and tests.
The President of the Senate, Mr. Bukola Saraki, currently facing inquisition into his assets declaration by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), also claimed to have spoken to the President, just as the Minister of sports said too, that Mr. Buhari called him from London to commiserate with him on the demise of his first wife. Mrs. Briskila Dalung.
As a Presidential contender in 2015, video clips featuring Mr. Muhammadu Buhari explaining how he would “take charge” and another wishing Nigerians a happy Christmas that showed up in the social media circulated widely in December 2014, a few months before the elections that swept him into office.
Drawing on those promotional clips, demonstrating Nigerians in front of the Nigerian High Commission in London, asked Buhari to address Nigerians for only five minutes as a way of dousing the tension in the country.
The umbrella body of Nigerian Christians, the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, civil society groups and leaders like Wole Soyinka, Mike Ozekhome and many others have echoed that and said they needed to have President Muhammadu Buhari speak to the nation for five minutes .
He seem to be fighting shy of this.
Unlike his Katsina born counterpart, fellow Fulani and former President of Nigeria, late Umaru Yar’adua who as presidential candidate of the then ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, gave in to exhaustion and was quickly ferried abroad.
When rumors were rife that he had succumbed to the exhaustion, then President Olusegun Obasanjo in the throes of his last tenure of his regime , quickly whipped out his phone and in front of a live television crew, called the candidate on air asking, “Umaru, are you Dead?”
The shocked presidential candidate, Umaru Yar’adua guffawed and responded between spasms of suppressed laughter that he was alive and would soon be back to rejoin the campaign trail.
The rumours died immediately.