President Muhammadu Buhari’s return to work on Monday got off to a limp start despite the celebrations which accompanied his return to Nigeria on Saturday, his health clearly not much improved despite the best spin efforts of the cabal in the presidency.
Aso Rock insiders who had been made to believe a rejuvenated and energized President would kick-start governance with energy and commitment became disillusioned as they came to terms with the fact that President Buhari is still reeling in poor health condition.
Several Presidency sources told Saharareporters that the manipulative cabal managing the president made a number of moves in the 24 hours preceding Mr. Buhari’s return aimed at consolidating the fictional story of his having fully recovered from whatever ails him. Since arriving in Abuja however, it has become clear he is in no better shape than before he traveled, characterized by incoherence and inability to stay composed and alert for more than 10 minutes at a time before lapsing into some form of health crisis and serious coughing.
The first assignment of the day, the sources said, was the 7 AM speech which he supposedly gave to announce his return to the country. But the villa sources said the speech was pre-recorded, with no one being sure when it was recorded.
But if the managers thought the Monday breakfast speech would make the president look good to Nigerians, it seems to have achieved the opposite, many Nigerians condemning him for failing to speak about his prolonged absence from work and the nature of his illness.
Instead, the President addressed perceived division caused by Biafran agitators and the insecurity caused by Boko Haram. He also vaguely addressed Arewa youths concerning their ultimatum to the Igbos to leave the north.
While that effort clearly rubbed concerned and nervous Nigerians the wrong way, Buhari’s media managers followed up with photos of him signing his resumption letter, with a very short video clip on Twitter showing him and his controversial Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, and another voice in the background giving directives as to which letter would go to Senate or the House of Representatives.
Later in the day, the office of the President released more photos showing Vice President Yemi Osinbajo visiting him for a “briefing”. Presidency sources disclosed that although the VP was around for close to two hours, there was nothing plausible to write home about as the President was only “present” for a few minutes, making the meeting very brief and unproductive.
One clear strategy by the cabal, our sources stated, was to keep the President from making offhand comments that could reveal his true health status. That trend started when President Buhari’s cabal began letting visitors see him in London after he regained a semblance of normalcy following intense treatment that lasted for months. The practice has been to release very short clips of him joking or saying a few words.
In today’s media game, three different sets of photographs were released to the public with President Buhari donning three different hats in one day. In some photos, he looked quite robust, while in other photos he looked decidedly emaciated.
Meanwhile, President Buhari’s Special Assistant on Media has revealed that Mr. Buhari could be heading back to the United Kingdom for medical treatment, a decision many Nigerians have criticized, especially in the light of his failure to disclose his diagnosis.
SaharaReporters had revealed that President Buhari’s doctors asked that he remain in London for another month but his handlers insisted that he come home for the Sallah so as to maintain his appeal to his base.
Of all the persons in high office who have talked about President Buhari’s health situation, the Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal interestingly stated that that Mr. Buhari needs more prayers, which is contrary to the impression created by his inner circle that he is completely “recovered”, in effect, available fully to resume his office.
Analysts point out that contrary to that impression, it is instructive that it has now been announced that a leader who is supposedly fully recovered from an illness will now again work from his residence. Some aides have said in that regard that his main office is under some renovation, a claim our sources dismiss as false.