Friday, April 28, 2017 5:11 pm
Governors and other public functionaries hoping to, as has been usual in recent weeks, observe juma’at prayer with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa mosque were disappointed on Friday as the President was conspicuously absent.
Though he has not been seen in public in the past few weeks, the President had always been present at the juma’at prayer at the presidential villa where he was always joined by top government officials, including governors.
The Presidency usually happily sends out photographs of the prayer session the VIP guests either jostling to get the President’s attention or conversing with each other.
Daily Trust reported that as usual, governors of Kano, Zamfara and Ogun States, Abdullahi Ganduje, Abdulaziz Yari and Ibikunle Amosun respectively were at the presidential villa for today’s service with the hope of joining the President at the prayer session.
But they were disappointed as the President was absent.
The absence of the President will most certainly further raised anxiety about his health, with rumours already circulating that he can barely walk.
The Presidency had yesterday moved to control speculations about the health of the President who spent over nine weeks in the United Kingdom early in the year on medical vacation. This followed his absence from the last two every Wednesday’s weekly Federal Executive Council meeting.
Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information had told journalists after the last meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo that the President decided to work from home.
He, however, acknowledged that Buhari is still recuperating from the illness which took him to the United Kingdom early in the year.
Speaking in the same vein, Mallam Garba Shehu, Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity said in a statement yesterday that Buhari’s absence at the Federal Executive Council on Wednesday, was a last minute decision; “otherwise, the cabinet and the public might have been alerted in advance.”
“As eager as he is to be up and about, the President’s doctors have advised on his taking things slowly, as he fully recovers from the long period of treatment in the United Kingdom some weeks ago.
“President Buhari himself, on his return to the country, made Nigerians aware of the state of his health while he was in London. Full recovery is sometimes a slow process, requiring periods of rest and relaxation, as the Minister for Information, Lai Mohammed, intimated in his press briefing after the FEC meeting on Wednesday.
“Despite his lack of visibility, Nigerians should rest assured that President Buhari has not abdicated his role as Commander-in-Chief of Nigeria.
“He receives daily briefings on the activities of government, and confers regularly with his Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo. His private residence, in which he has been spending the majority of his time recently, also has a fully equipped office.
“God is the giver of life and health. We are grateful that He has seen our President through the worst period of his convalescence in London. We are thankful that the President has passed a number of benchmarks already. We pray that God continues to see him through this period of recuperation,” Shehu had stated.