by Alexander O. Onukwue
From the experience of the year 2017, it cannot be interpreted as malice that the mention of President Buhari and the city of London in the same sentence should elicit strong suspicions about his health.
The state house statement of 17th September on Buhari’s departure to New York for the United Nations General Assembly has as its last sentence that “President Buhari will transit through London on his way back to the country”.
Of the 260 days of this year, Buhari has spent at least 150 days away from the country in London on two batches of medical vacation. The first, which happened between January and March, was supposed to be for a definite period, but was elongated. Secondly, when Buhari left in May for the UK, it was for an indefinite number of days, returning on the 19th of August.
No details have been given on why the President should transit through London after the end of his engagements at the UN; that was the last sentence on Mr Adesina’s statement. Whether the President will be holding further meetings in London, or will wish to have a quick check-in with his doctors, have not been specified, leaving room for speculation.
When Buhari returned in August, he did not make any reference to a possible return to London soon but Mr Adesina had made the observation that Buhari could still go on another trip for medical reasons. The Buhari has been working from home in the four weeks since his return but that has been explained away as being due to the deterioration of his offices by rats. After cancelling the first two FEC meetings, he has held one, spent the Sallah holidays in his hometown of Daura, and was at Kaduna to commission the $100m Olam poultry facilities.
It is to be hoped that the “transit through” would just be a brief stop akin to the transfer of passengers to a new flight to complete a journey. However, we can expect reactions to begin to pour in if a period of twenty-four hours elapses on the President while still in London.