Last night’s secretive and rather abrupt trip to London by Nigeria President-Elect Muhammadu Buhari caught several of his political associates unawares, several of them learning about it only when we broke the story.
Asked if the President-Elect had any health issues that may have required urgent travel overnight, they insisted he appears to be healthy.
Meanwhile, sources have told SaharaReporters that the efforts by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, to speak with Buhari aboard the British Airways aircraft failed abysmally as the President-Elect only greeted her during the boarding process and then quietly settled into his seat 2K in First Class. The embattled Minister, SaharaReporters learnt, had somehow booked herself into seat 3K, seating directly behind Buhari on the six-hour flight.
Our sources said she rose up a few times and tried to stir up a conversation with the President-Elect, but that he only nodded and let her get back to her seat without permitting any dialogue. The flight arrived Heathrow in London at 2:15p.m. local time, but the passengers didn’t disembark until 2:45pm due to delays at the airport.
Other Nigerian dignitaries in the First Class compartment of the flight included Senator Philip Adida, Segun Awolowo, and Hakeem Bello-Osagie, who sat in 4K directly behind Diezani.
When the airline crew announced passenger disembarkation, Buhari asked if Diezani had any of her bags in the overheard compartment so he could step out of her way. It then turned out she had occupied the entire overheard compartments with several of her carry-on bags, traveled with two of her aides also in First Class. Buhari was reportedly traveling with only one aide.
The Nigerian High Commissioner to the UK, Dalhatu Sarki Tafida, met Buhari at the airport.
As SaharaReporters reported earlier, Minister Alison-Madueke was originally scheduled to travel to the UK next Tuesday as she is billed to address the Nigerian Senate on Monday regarding the fuel scarcity crisis. Our source disclosed that upon learning of Mr. Buhari’s trip, she booked herself on the same flight in the hope of an opportunity of a direct discussion with the man who takes over the governance of Nigeria one week from today. Her Ministry, reputed as being one of the most corrupt, is likely to be among the first to come under Buhari’s scrutiny.
Editor's Note: Please note that an earlier version of this report stated that Sam Amadi, Chairperson of the National Electricity Commission, traveled with President-Elect Buhari to London. This was incorrect as Dr. Amadi was not with President-Elect Buhari at the time. Dr. Amadi was at the Commission until its closing hours on May 21, 2015.