by Wareez Odunayo
After 103 days in London, President Muhammadu Buhari returned to Nigeria on August 19, 2017. Buhari in his regular kaftan disembarked unaided from the Presidential aircraft, NAF 001 around 4.48pm at the Presidential Wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. He was received by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo and top government officials.
The President had left the country on May 7 for medical treatment for an undisclosed illness in London after handing over power to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who has been discharging the functions of his office as Acting President. There have been speculations about the health status of the returned President since June 2016, when he first travelled to London for treatment of what his media team said was a persistent ear infection.
His absence was greeted by numerous protests, including demands that he should return or resign, as well as calls for more transparency about the president’s condition.
Having said that, let’s sharply take a look at major things that took place while the Daura-born ruler was away.
- Buratai raises alarm over coup plot
On May 16, 2017, the Director of Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Sani Usman, released a statement, quoting the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. T. Y. Buratai that he has been receiving information that some individuals have been approaching some men of Nigerian Army for undisclosed political reasons, saying that he has warned such persons to desist from these acts.
After this statement, there were rumours of an impending coup plot against Buhari’s administration but COAS waded into the matter by assuring Nigerians that nothing of such would happen.
- CCT frees Saraki
The Code of Conduct Tribunal in Abuja discharged and acquitted the Senate President Dr. Bukola Saraki in the 18 count charges of false declaration of assets filed against him since September 2015 by the federal government on 14th of June 2016.
The chairman of the two-man panel, Danladi Umar, in his verdict, said that there was no case against Saraki. However, the Federal Government has appealed the judgement, saying it “effectively” overruled previous decisions of the Court of Appeal delivered with respect to Saraki’s trial and other criminal cases.
- AREWA Youth quit notice
Also in June, Northern youth ordered Igbos to vacate their region on or before October 1.
They explained that their decision was based on break up agitation championed by the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu. They said the agitation “amounts to a brutal encroachment on the rights of those termed as non-indigenous people residing and doing lawful business in those areas illegally demarcated and defined as Biafra by the Igbo.” AREWA’s quit notice has since taken over the media during Buhari’s absence.
- Makarfi takes over PDP
On July 12, the Supreme Court sitting in Abuja declared the Ahmed Makarfi-led caretaker committee as the authentic chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party thus ending the leadership tussle rocking the opposition party for many months.
- Lassa fever resurfaces
Cases of the deadly disease, Lassa fever were recorded in Lagos and Ogun state. The first case was recorded at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) on August 8 while a resident doctor was infected with the disease and over 100 hospital workers were quarantined.
Kwara State has also recorded a case of Lassa fever which has killed one person so far.
- ASUU embarks on an indefinite strike
Just last week, the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU embarked on an indefinite strike to protest the failure of the Federal Government to fulfill the 2009 agreement and non-payment of their outstanding salaries. The strike is still ongoing as a meeting between the union and the Federal Government ended in a deadlock.The “Lion” is back in the country to continue to function as President and here are some of the things we demand of him:
- President Muhammadu Buhari should set up a committee to look into the demands of striking lecturers. It’s long overdue.
- Mr. President should release the details of the probe panel led by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo to investigate the Secretary to the Federation, Babachir Lawal and the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency, Oke and implement the recommendation of the report as well.
- While he was away, the agitation of the people of Biafra and other ethnic groups took over the polity. In fact, the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu had allegedly formed a Biafra Secret Service, BSS, in preparation for its freedom. We hereby appeal to President Buhari to take a critical look into this development and avert another civil war.
- We’d like to see him work with the Senate to confirm the embattled chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC Ibrahim Magu as the substantive chairman of the agency.