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President Buhari arrives Kaduna Airport after 49 days of medical vacation / Photo: NAN

Nigerian president returns home after weeks of medical leave in UK

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari returned to his country on Friday after nearly two months of absence. He has been in the UK receiving treatment for an undisclosed illness. Details of his health condition have not been made public.

The former military ruler left the country on 19 January and has been on medical leave in London.

Buhari (74) is however not yet fit to resume office and he has asked the vice president, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, to continue in the capacity of acting president while he takes rest and continue his treatment.

The ailing president said he would undergo further medical tests in Britain within weeks.

“I deliberately came back towards the weekend, so that the Vice President (Yemi Osinbajo) will continue and I will continue to rest,” Buhari said in Abuja. “All I will need is to further follow up within some weeks,” he said.

It is the second time in less than a year that Buhari, who came to power in 2015, has sought medical assistance overseas. Last June, he spent nearly two weeks, again in London, for treatment for an ear infection.

Many Nigerians query why the president should return to the country when he’s still visibly so frail and looks painfully thin, leading to speculations that Buhari only came back to reassert his influence in government.

In Nigeria’s sectarian politics, the indisposition of Buhari is viewedby many in his home region as amounting to a loss of power as Osinbajo continues to gather praise for his management of the country as acting president.

Other observers praise Buhari for following the constitutional provision of handing over to his deputy before proceeding on medical leave thereby avoiding a power vacuum.

The drama over the president’s illness is still far from over as it overshadows the country’s politics and governance.

Kola Tella

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