Despite repeated denials by the Presidency that President Muhammadu Buhari was not sick but hale and hearty and on vacation in London, he admitted while meeting with members Federal Executive Council (FEC), heads of security agencies and governors that he has never been so sick in his life.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed as well as Presidential Spokesman, Femi Adesina had at different times told Nigerians that Buhari was hale, hearty but only on extended holiday based on his doctor’s advise and to carry out more tests.
Buhari arrived 8.37 am at Presidential Villa and emerged from the Presidential Chopper 8.42 am.
He was received by the members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), all heads of security agencies and the governors Kogi, Yahaya Bello and Zamfara, Abdulaziz Yari.
Addressing the country from the State House, shortly after arriving from London, President Buhari said he was fully committed to serving the nation and protecting the right of all Nigerians.
The President alluded to the fact that he underwent lots of tests and even had a blood transfusion, added that he received best of treatment and he was feeling better. He said will however need to do further follow ups within some weeks.
Buhari who said he was appreciative of prayers from Nigerians from all works of life, advised against self-medication.
“I have rested as much as humanly possible, I have received I think the best of treatment I could receive. I couldn’t recall being so sick since I was a young man, including the military with its ups and downs. I found out that technology is going so fast that if you have a lot of confidence you better keep it because you need it. Blood transfusions, going to the laboratories, and so on and so forth, but I am very pleased that we, when I say we I mean the government and the people all over are trying to keep with technology.
“I couldn’t recall when last I had blood transfusion, I couldn’t recall honestly I can say in my 70 years. I couldn’t remember this drug that Nigerians take so much, very common. I think one of our terrible things is self drug administration. We have to trust our doctors more and trust ourselves more, the places I visited they only take drugs when it is absolutely necessary. They don’t just swallow everything”.
The President who said the best way to pay back Nigerians is to rededicate himself to service to the country, protecting the nation’s interest in order to keep the trust, kicked against sending delegations to Abuja to welcome him.
According Buhari, there is a difference between his last year’s vacation and this year’s, adding that he and Osinbajo took turns to go on vacation.
“There is a remarkable difference between what happened now and what happened last year.
“When it was getting to Christmas I told the Vice President, I know he has got a church therefore he has to go home. I said ok let us do it turn by turn, you go for Christmas and the New Year and when you come back I will go. He said yes.
“I suspected he didn’t go home, when he came back, I said ok it will be my turn in some months time. This time around I said we better do the same, I didn’t know he had the same principles, but for me I feel that I was a little more tired than I probably was in last 18 months. Whatever the case , I am very grateful that Nigerians are appreciative of what all of us are doing as a group. I am very pleased with them”, he said.
Buhari said he was conscious of the cost of his treatment abroad, he however said he was pleased to be back.
“I am pleased that the Vice President enjoyed this break and he has to do much more this time around.
“Youth and intellect is squarely behind him, age and purely military experience is behind me.
“Continue to do the work, Nigeria will continue whether we are here or not and my single most important advise is take education of everybody under your responsibility very seriously, your children our relatives, our constituencies, education education education. We must do more on education”, he said.
The President said he deliberately returned on a Friday to enable him rest some more while Osinbajo continues the good work he is working.
“I deliberately came back towards the weekend, so that the Vice President will continue and I will continue to rest. Thank You very much”.
In his remark, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said it was satisfy for Nigerians and the Federal Executive Council to receive the President back in the country ‘‘hail and hearty’’.
“It is a day of joy not only for us but for the whole country, Africa and the world.
”Mr. President, I must say that personally, this has been a very interesting few days for me. First I must say that I want to thank you very much for the confidence reposed in me by handing over the realm of government to me in the capacity of acting president.
“I think more important is that you demonstrated the belief in our system which is even more important than anything else.
“The constitution which we all swore to is important because it outlines the code of conduct. I want to say not only am I, but I am sure the entire nation is grateful to you.
“For me I must say that it has been an interesting period going around the nation maybe in borrowed robes. I must say I had a very interesting and challenging time but above all, the president gave us the good support”, he said.
The Chairman of Nigeria’s Governors Forum, Abdulaziz Yari, welcomed the president on behalf of the 36 governors of Nigeria.
Lai Mohammed, described the president’s return as a day of joy, adding that the president return has vindicated their position. He thanked all Nigerians for the prayers that kept them going and Osinbajo who gave cabinet members a sense of belonging. He prayed that God will continue to heal the president
The Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Abayomi Gabriel Olonishakin, assured that whatever the desires of the president as regards security is achieved.