Against the background of the letter he sent to
the National Assembly announcing his
intention to take a ten-day vacation and on the
sideline, do some medicals; the search for
President Muhammadu Buhari seems largely
But once beaten, twice shy; so the saying goes.
Nigerians were quick to recall the events
preceding 2010, when the then President
Umaru Musa Yar’Adua proceeded on a similar
trip, only for what began as a mere medical
tourism dovetailed into national and
However, in the prevailing instance, there
appears no basis for such association.
However, given the fact of the intense and
divisive electioneering campaigns preceding
the 2015 Presidential election, as well as, the
dour economic situation in the country, the
President’s decision to retreat to London has
raised public eyebrow.
As it has turned out, presidential
communication is to blame for the current
frenzy on the whereabouts of Mr. President,
even when it is public knowledge that he
traveled to the United Kingdom. Presidential
communication ends up with scant details,
leaving much to the imagination.
And Nigerians, blessed with fertile imagination,
are quick to fill in the blank spaces. While the
rumour mill swelled with fanciful conjectures
and third person narratives, the President’s
spokespersons come up with declarative
statement announcing that His Excellency is
hale and hearty, followed by still pictures
showing the number one citizen and his
Later still, in the tribe of pictorial
communication, the President was shown
seeing off chieftains of his party, the All
Progressives Congress (APC), who visited
London, ostensibly to know how their
champion was doing.
With all the theatricals and sparse concrete
information about the real situation, it was not
surprising that Nigerians began to situate the
narrative alongside the 2010 experience.
Moreover despite the shifting communications
from the Presidency regaling the countrymen
of how their president was homesick and tired
of further stay in foreign land, what remained
was for the President’s aides to say as
happened in 2010 that the President could
govern from any part of the globe.
The refrain was rather that there was no
vacuum in the governance as the President did
the correct and constitutional things before
proceeding on his vacation, cum health survey.
At the height of the confusion caused by the
awkward position of the President, which
verges on the mix between his annual vacation
and medical examination, Buhari was said to
have spoken with the United States President
That development also brought about new
worries. Nigerians who expressed satisfaction
with the deputizing role of the acting President
noted that Buhari, being on top of the ticket
should take charge or even speak to the
citizens to douse their apprehensions.
The hide and seek in public communication was
accentuated by the latest claim that the
President called Kano State Governor, Dr.
Abdullahi Ganduje, midway into a prayer rally
organised by Muslim clerics. Has that
communication a tinge of replay of the
Yar’Adua episode, when midway into a
campaign rally he was billed address, a former
President telephoned to ask, “Umaru are you
More questions ensued: Do the citizens have
right to enquire into the nature of their
President’s health condition? Does the
Hippocratic Oath debar public information on
the status of a public officer, whose medical
bill is being defrayed from the national