Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari is expected back in Nigeria today (Friday, March 10) from the United Kingdom where he has been undergoing medical treatment for an undisclosed ailment for some 50 days.
The president left Nigeria on January 19 for a 10-day “medical vacation,” which was extended indefinitely when he sent a letter to the National Assembly asking for more time.
“The President left the country on January 19, 2017 for a vacation, during which he had routine medical check-ups. The holiday was extended based on doctors’ recommendation for further tests and rest,” states a press release issued on Thursday by his special adviser on media and publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.
Below is Adesina’s statement:
Following the closure of Abuja’s Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport on Wednesday for scheduled repairs, President Buhari is expected to land at the Kaduna Airport before proceeding to the seat of power by helicopter or by road or rail.
There have been reports that Aso Rock insiders were worried that the longer the president remained out of the country, the greater the rumours about the true nature of his ailment.
President Buhari is returning a day after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced the timetable for the 2019 elections.
According to a statement posted on its website on Thursday, INEC said it was making the announcements well ahead “in order to ensure certainty in our dates for elections, and to allow for proper planning by the Commission, political parties, security agencies, candidates and all stakeholders”.
The 2019 Presidential and National Assembly elections are scheduled to hold on Saturday, 16th February 2019, while the Governorship/State Assembly/Federal Capital Territory Area Council elections will hold on Saturday, 2nd March, 2019.
The commission also announced that 23 of its electoral officers being prosecuted for various electoral offences will be placed on half salary and will not report for duty pending the determination of their respective cases by the court.
In Nigeria, the constitution provides for elections to hold not earlier than 150 days and not later than 30 days to the end of the incumbent’s tenure.
Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has been widely commended for some positive strides made in the absence of President Buhari but Osinbajo, who is deeply loyal to Buhari, has maintained that everything he has done is within the president’s plans or approval.