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“FG, Presidency Not Telling Us the Truth” – Afenifere Chieftain Talks on Buhari’s Health Status as Vacation Enters 4th Week



​President Muhammadu Buhari’s medical vacation will on Monday (today) enter its fourth week having left for London, United Kingdom on January 19, as concerns over his health status continue to make headlines.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Punch newpaper, a chieftain of Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, says the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, and President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokespersons have not been sincere in their communication of the President’s health status as his medical trip enters 4th week.

Below is an excerpt from the chat;

What is your reaction to the President’s indefinite postponement of his return to Nigeria?

I wish him well and pray for his quick recovery.

Do you think the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, and Femi Adesina are saying the truth about the President’s health status?

I was listening to Lai Mohammed last night. He said the President is hale and hearty. Using the phrase “hale and hearty” for the President who went to the UK on a 10-day leave and had to extend it, shows something is not right.

First, Nigerians were told that Buhari was going on vacation and that he would do checkup. At the end of the 10 days, we were told his doctor asked him to wait to obtain the result of some medical tests, and he comes out again to tell us he is hale and hearty. From their evidence, both Lai Mohammed and the Femi Adesina are talking nonsense. One said the President is sick. Mohammed said he is hale and hearty. Yet when the time came for him to resume, he didn’t.

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Are you saying they are lying?

We should ask: does one do medical tests for somebody who is hale and hearty? That is their language. I am only criticising them based on the evidence they provided. They (Mohammed and Adesina) are inconsistent, incoherent and they do not show sincerity (in their communication of the president’s health status). I am not a fool. Nigerians are not fools.

They are being economical with the truth. Adesina and Mohammed are talking balderdash. They are taking us for a ride. My own experience is that when somebody is sick and you can’t say what is wrong with him, doctors would ask such a fellow to do a series of test. And yet you tell us the man is hale and hearty.

Nobody wants Buhari dead but they are not telling us the truth. Human beings can fall sick, which is natural. What is wrong in saying this man has an ailment? It is now left for people to pray for speedy recovery. Yet, our hopes were raised that there is nothing wrong with the man and yet he cannot resume. They forget that all of us have a stake in his health. They are insulting our intelligence.

What is your comment on Buhari’s refusal to use the Aso Rock clinic despite the huge budget voted for it?

It is a fundamental issue for us in this country to equip our hospitals so that nobody would have to go abroad for medical treatment. This is one of the things we want the government to change and proffer solutions to. We have the expertise but we lack the equipment.

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What is the difference between the secrecy surrounding the late Umar Yar’Adua’s health and that of President Buhari? Have any lessons been learnt?

The present President wrote to the National Assembly that he was travelling abroad on vacation. He also handed over to the Vice-President. So, there is really no problem about that since he followed the constitutional provision. But in the case of Yar’Adua, the late president didn’t write to the National Assembly and he did not hand over to the vice-president.

Do you think Buhari should address Nigerians from the UK and disclose his health status?

We should understand that the President, by the virtue of his position, no longer has any privacy. Nigerians are entitled to know every progress about his health. Those who are demonstrating in the UK were doing the legitimate thing because the citizens over there are well-informed about the medical status of their leaders. Why should our own be different? The same obtains in the United States. When things are not going well, we attribute it to Nigerian factor. Good governance has a standard. When we don’t follow democratic norms and principles, that is when people will keep protesting.

Click here to read the full interview on Punch newspaper.

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