According to reports, the dream of Nigerians to see President Muhammadu Buhari working at full throttle may take a while to materialise as he has resolved to keep his medics’ advice to take a rest.
Briefing State House correspondents at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting which was again ‘shunned’ by Buhari, yesterday, Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed said: “Mr. President would stick to his doctor’s advice so that he can recover much more quickly,” he said
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo presided over the meeting, the third since Buhari returned from a 49-day medical vacation in the United Kingdom on March 10.
The minister also rebuffed reports that the president was being fed through intravenous injections. He said the report was absolutely false and total bunkum and urged Nigerians to disregard it.
When asked why Buhari was absent at FEC meeting, he said: “He was in the office yesterday as you all reported. And if the doctors say he should take a rest, I think you’ll recover faster when you rest when you ought to rest, rather than by forcing yourself to work when you are not fit to work.
“All he is doing is following the doctor’s advice. Mr. President himself told the nation he has never been this sick and he is going to take it easy. He said it from day one when he came back from the UK. So, whatever is happening today is not any strange development, it is exactly what he said. That he’s been advised to take it easy by his doctors and that he will soon also go back for further treatment.
“So, I don’t think it’s anything that is out of place from what he said. He has been quite transparent and upfront in the matter concerning his health.”
He added: “..A few days before now, we came out to say he’s been asked to take some rest by his doctors, and he chose today to rest and not to attend the Federal Executive Council meeting.”
On the call for Buhari to go on another medical vacation, the minister said: “We thank all of them for their concern, I think it shows how concerned Nigerians are about the health of the president. And all their suggestions are being taken on board.”
He said Buhari’s ill health would not adversely affect the celebration of the administration’s two-year anniversary celebration on May 29.
Wife of the president, Aisha, had in a series of tweets on Tuesday said contrary to claims, her husband’s health was not as bad as being perceived.
Through her tweets on her twitter handle @aishambuhari, she insisted that he has continued to carry out his responsibilities as the President of Nigeria.
According to the minister: “We would be two years old in a few weeks time. And in our very normal customary way we are going to mark it because we have a lot of story to tell. We are proud that within two years we’ve made tremendous progress.
“We’ve been able to restructure the economy on a very sound footing, we’ve succeeded in not just looking for quick fixes. But we are addressing the fundamental issues of our economy and which is basically that we are moving away from relying solely on oil to other areas like agriculture, solid minerals and the rest.
“But more importantly in the area of the economy, is that for the first time our emphasis is now more on infrastructure, on capital projects rather than on recurrent. And in the area of fighting insecurity and the criminality in the North-east, we have a good story to tell. In the area of fighting corruption we have a good story to tell, in agriculture we have a good story to tell.
“Before the Presidential Initiative on Fertilizer, what we had was that we were importing and subsidising fertilizer and scarce foreign exchange were going into fertilizer subsidy.
“Today, with the Presidential initiative on fertilizer, we now take phosphate and potassium from Morocco and Europe and we now blend it locally in Nigeria. And with that, we are cutting the cost of fertilizer by 33 percent.
“We’ve been able to revive eleven blending plants. Before now only five blending plants were working at ten percent capacity, and we saved about $100million in foreign exchange and about N60million in budgetary provision. In the area of power we have signed 13 power purchase agreements with 13 solar companies. And that is going to add at least one Gigawatts to the national grid. Among others, so we have a good story to tell Nigerians and I think that is what they want to hear.”