Fears over the President’s health were dismissed yesterday, as the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo told Nigerians: there is no cause for alarm.
President Muhammadu Buhari has written to the Senate for an extension of his 10-day vacation. He is in Britain where doctors have told him to wait for some tests. He was to return at the weekend.
Also yesterday, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) cautioned against negative remarks on the President’s health. To labour leader Ayuba Wabba, there is no need for any speculation on the President’s health.
The indefinite extension of the President’s vacation sparked a massive row in some quarters.
But Osinbajo said he had been in touch with the President. He also insisted that he was not under pressure to resign – as speculated in some unofficial quarters.
He spoke with State House correspondents after a meeting with the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, at the Presidential Villa.
Osinbajo said: “The President is hale and hearty, I spoke to the President just this afternoon and we had a warm conversation. He was interested in knowing about the budget process and how far we had gone and the meeting today with the private sector and the economic recovery growth plan and I informed him about the protest march and feedback about what people are saying about the economy.
He is in good shape.
“Just like he said in his letter to the National Assembly, he needs to go for a cycle of tests and once he sees the results and gets medical advice, we expect him very soon.
“I think that the health status of Mr President is an issue that only Mr President would discuss at the appropriate time. Again, he is running tests and all of that. Before you will be able to determine your health status you must be able to say this is my health status. I have to do the test my doctors have advised me to do and will wait for the outcome of the test and know my status.”
On whether he was under pressure to resign from office, Osinbajo said: “I am not under any pressure to resign. I was voted for by the people of this nation – myself and Mr President – and so the people of this nation have not asked us to resign.
”I am absolutely not under any pressure whatsoever. The truth is that there have been no pressure from any source asking me to resign.”
The NLC president, at a news conference in Abuja, said on the President’s vacation and the furore it caused: “We are human and people can fall ill. I think it is not an issue to be contested. Once it is about the issue of ill health, that consideration must be given because we can fall ill at any time and so, I think that should be respected.
“For me, If it is communicated properly, that is what is expected and people should be aware once that is done. There is nothing you can do about sickness. Our position is that if proper communication has been done, it should not be an issue that should degenerate into trying to raise fundamental issues about it.
“The important thing is for us to continue to pray that our President recovers quickly and returns to pilot the affairs of the country.”