SaharaReporters has learned from sources at the Presidency that President Muhammadu Buhari’s doctors have advised him to shelve the idea of returning soon to the daily routine of running Nigeria on account of the gravity of his illness. However, some of Mr. Buhari’s closest associates are goading him to defy the doctors’ recommendation and to take up the reins of power once more in Nigeria.
President Buhari left Nigeria on January 19 on what was supposed to be a 10-day medical leave. He has since twice postponed his return date even as several government officials and his close aides have continued to characterize him as “hale and hearty,” insisting that he was still vacationing and would soon return to Nigeria.
However, our sources, who are well briefed about Mr. Buhari’s health, disclosed that doctors managing the president have been unequivocal in warning that his condition would certainly deteriorate should he return to Nigeria without completing the first stage of his treatment.
According to one of the sources, the Nigerian president’s condition has been downgraded to “full blown illness” even by members of his kitchen cabinet who are now quietly admitting that he is “ill.” However, the ailing president’s closest associates remain averse to disclosing to the Nigerian people the nature of Mr. Buhari’s illness.
Saharareporters learnt that the president’s deteriorating health has got to a point where doctors are taking “extreme measures” to ensure that he eats. Mr. Buhari has progressively lost weight due to his illness and course of treatment, our sources disclosed.
SaharaReporters learned that the pool of aides traveling with President Buhari have extended their hotel booking in London by at least one month starting from February 6th 2017. This means that the earliest Mr. Buhari would make it back to Nigerian soil is in early March.
However, our sources revealed that some members of the president’s inner political circle continue to pressure Mr. Buhari’s doctors in the UK to allow him to return to Abuja, even if for a short time, in order to give the impression that his recovery was on course. We understand that the UK doctors have so far resisted the pressures, stating that it would be professionally irresponsible of them to clear Mr. Buhari at this stage to take up the demands of the Presidency. “I understand that the doctors [in the UK] have made it clear that Mr. President’s flight back to Nigeria could complicate things for him,” one source said.
Another group of Mr. Buhari’s supporters have asked the ailing president to authorize his doctors to address the Nigerian people directly about his health situation. However, members of the president’s inner cabinet have staunchly opposed this disclosure, arguing that, since Mr. Buhari had handed over to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, there was no need to make further revelations since the VP has been vested with all the constitutional powers to run Nigeria.
Some political figures, particularly governors of some northern states, have been spending extending times in London and making efforts daily to meet with the ill president. However, such meetings with Mr. Buhari have also become difficult to arrange since the ailing president’s doctors have cautioned against his meeting and smooching with visiting politicians, citing the significant drain on his already low energy. “The doctors have become very stern in restricting access to him [President Buhari],” said one source. “As a result, so many of the visiting politicians do not even get to see Mr. Buhari before returning to Nigeria empty handed,” he added.
As SaharaReporters earlier revealed, President Buhari’s doctors in the UK have recommended that he would need at least a period of four months away from power to receive the full regimen of treatment for his several health challenges. A source said the president was undergoing therapy related to his prostate, declining to be more specific. A different source disclosed that the treatment had partially affected President Buhari’s voice, at one point making it almost impossible to hear him.
During the week, there were rumors in Abuja that President Buhari would attend the inauguration of President Adams Barrow in the Gambia. But one source at the Presidency dismissed the rumor as “a ruse raised by some members of a cabal who are determined to see that their power is not whittled down.”
Two of our sources disclosed that President Buhari’s health issues were of a chronic nature, adding that it was unlikely that the ailing president would ever be in a position to meet the full demands of his office whenever he returns to the country. “He is going to need regular trips abroad for ongoing treatment,” one stated.