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Buhari arrives today

By Mohammed Abubakar, Abuja
19 June 2016   |   4:04 am
President Muhammadu Buhari is expected back today from the United Kingdom, where he has been holidaying.


• Resumes work tomorrow

President Muhammadu Buhari is expected back today from the United Kingdom, where he has been holidaying. The President took a 10-day leave, and was expected to, on the advice of E.N.T specialists, seek routine medical examination of his left ear.

The President, who left Nigeria on Monday, June 10, was expected back on Wednesday, June 15, to resume work on Thursday, June 16, but the plans changed.

On Thursday, the Presidency gave a new date of the arrival of the President for Sunday (today). Osinbajo, who confirmed the latest development in his chat with State House correspondents, shortly before entering Council Chambers, where he presided over the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said the extension was to enable the President rest fully for the weekend.

Online reports had, prior to Thursday, been awash with information that the President’s condition might have worsened, but the Vice President said Buhari was in the perfect health condition, and only taking his time, because of the impending weekend.

Osinbajo confirmed he spoke with the President on phone, on Wednesday evening, and that he was doing fine. The Vice President noted the decision to extend the President’s stay in the United Kingdom, might have been as a result of the fact that weekend was approaching.

In his words, “The President will be back on Sunday. I spoke with him yesterday (Wednesday) evening and I think it is just okay that he takes the weekend off. He will certainly be back on Sunday.

“I think the most straightforward thing is when he will be back. There is no point rushing back on Friday or something like that. He will just take the weekend off and be back on Sunday. He is in perfect health and ready to resume work on Monday morning.

“Mr. President is in good condition, he is fine; he is very well. He should take a day or two off in London and rest a bit and come back hale and hearty on Sunday and be ready for work on Monday. So we expect him back on Sunday.”

On the same day, the Presidency also released to the media the photographs the President took with National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress, (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who visited him in the Nigerian Embassy in London.

The last two weeks have, however, been an eventful one for Osinbajo as Acting President. A few minutes after Buhari left the country on Monday, Osinbajo hosted a delegation of the European Union led by the EU Ambassador in Nigeria, Mr. Michel Arrion. During that visit, he explained the rationale behind the Federal Government’s decision not to name those it recovered looted fund from.

The following day, he had a meeting with the nation’s service chiefs and governors of oil-producing states on the renewed violence in the Niger Delta by militants, which had crippled crude oil production and power supply.

On Wednesday, June 8, Osinbajo presided over a meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) that had about 22 of the 36 ministers in attendance. Later that day, he personally signed a condolence message he wrote in honour of a former coach of the national team, Stephen Keshi, who died earlier in the day.

On Thursday, he also inaugurated the Federal Government’s National Home Grown School Feeding programme, which is a component of the Social Investment Plan promised by the All Progressives Congress government.

As he did for Keshi, Osinbajo also personally signed the condolence message on the death of another former Coach of the Super Eagles, Shaibu Amodu, who passed away on Saturday, June 11.

However, while it has been a beehive of activities at the Vice President’s wing of the Presidential Villa, the President’s wing has been as quiet as ever, save for occasional visits by some ministers to the Chief of Staff (CoS) and visitors to some of the President’s personal aides.

But with the expected return of the President to Abuja today and his subsequent resumption of office tomorrow, normal activities are expected to return to their full status.