The wife of Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has spoken out about the health of her husband, stating that “his health is not as bad as it’s being perceived.”
Aisha Buhari took to Twitter yesterday apparently in response to the growing anxiety in the country over the health of its leader. She also thanked Nigerians for their “concern, love and prayers over my husband’s health status”.
According to the First Lady, her husband “continues to carry out his responsibilities,” despite keeping away from the public. Few Nigerians, however, believe the Mrs Buhari.
President Buhari returned home on 10 March after spending nearly seven weeks on sick leave in the United Kingdom for an undisclosed ailment. The Presidency insists that his health is a private affair and that he was fit to continue in his role as President. Critics counter, saying that the health of the leader of a nation is a public matter and of national importance.
A letter, signed by 13 civil society organizations and published on Monday, called on Buhari to immediately take an official sick leave and hand over power to his deputy, Vice-President Yemi Osibayo. Buhari has missed the last two cabinet meetings raising fears and speculation about his ability to lead Africa’s most populous nation.
The last publicized medical condition of the 74-year-old leader is an ear infection for which Buhari went to Britain for treatment sometime last year. There have been speculations of his also suffering from a form of cancer.
Meanwhile, the uncertainty over the president’s health continues to fuel rumours on his fitness to lead a country with more than 180 million people.
Three former Heads of State, all retired generals – Olusegun Obasanjo, Ibrahim Babangida and Abdulsalami Abubakar, met behind closed doors on Tuesday to deliberate on the issue. The meeting, which took place at the home of Babangida in the central Nigerian city of Minna, did not issue a statement. The former leaders said they would make their views known at a later date.
The politics surrounding Buhari’s health re-enacts the drama of President Umaru YarAdua’s sickness in 2010. Critical voices are getting louder on the absurdity of a situation whereby a president who is seriously ill is supposedly governing the country. Like it emerged in 2010, some persons close to the president are suspected of taking important state decisions on his behalf possibly without his knowledge.
The ensuing uncertainty in the country is having a very negative impact on the country’s economic health as investors are said to be holding upon important projects as the death of the president could change the political landscape in the country.