Timeline: How President Buhari’s media aides have managed to confuse us since his vacation began

by Dolapo Adelana

President Muhammadu Buhari’s health status has remailed a topic of discussion across the nation for several weeks now.

The media aides of the presidency, together with the Minister for Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed have been doing all they can to launder the image of the president’s health.

Here is a timeline of activities of the media aides:

January 21, 2017: Barely two days after his departure, it was rumoured that the president had died. As expected, Shehu was on hand to immediately quell the rumours.

February 05, 2017: Minister for Information, Lai Mohammed said reports that Buhari’s return to Nigeria was delayed due to a faulty aircraft were untrue.

February 05, 2017: Few moments after releasing a statement announcing the president’s decision to extend his vacation, Adesina said Buhari alone was in the position to release his test results.

February 06, 2017: Shehu in a post on his Facebook page said, he spoke with Buhari’s personal doctor who told him the president was not in any serious condition.

February 08, 2017: Mohammed while speaking to State House correspondents said Buhari was in good health, and was a victim of his own transparency, he added that the president’s health status was not comparable to that of late former president Umar Musa Yar’Adua, saying Nigerians do not need daily updates on Buhari’s health. Speaking further, Mohammed said the President was not in the hospital.

February 08, 2017: Lauretta Onochie, a personal assistant to the president on social media insisted that Buhari was not ill.

February 14, 2017: Following outcry from Nigerians requesting details of my phone conversation between Buhari and US president Donald Trump, Shehu said it would be “undiplomatic” to make the contents of the call public.

February 14, 2017: Shehu told Nigerians to be prepared to see President Buhari soon.

February 16, 2017: While speaking on a morning show, Adesina President Buhari would not speak Nigerians as a matter of principle.

February 18, 2017: Speaking to youth in Abuja at an interactive session, Shehu said the presidency will urge Buhari to speak with Nigerians, while adding that had the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), continued in power, terrorist sect, Boko Haram would have taken over the Aso Rock presidential villa.

February 21, 2017: Adesina issued a statement where the president told Nigerians there was no cause to worry over his health.

February 21, 2017: The presidential spokesman said contrary to speculations Buhari would not sneak into the country on his return.

February 21, 2017: Adesina in a bid to defend his principal said Buhari would be responsible for informing Nigerians of his possible return date, saying he only speaks what he is told as the president’s spokesman.

February 22, 2017: During a telephone conversation on radio, Adesina said he had not spoken with the president since he went on vacation.

February 25, 2017: Adesina, who spoke with Buhari for the first time since he went on vacation, said the president thanked him for coping with mischief makers.

February 25, 2017: Shehu tagged the date, “a day for the media team” – meaning a day when the president decided to put calls through to all members of his media team.

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