Nigeria dismisses concerns about president's health

President Muhammadu Buhari currently in London undergoing medical tests

Nigeria dismisses concerns about president's health

World Bulletin / News Desk

Nigeria has denied claims ageing President Muhammadu Buhari is seriously ill or incapacitated, calling on the public to disregard mounting concerns about the health of the 74-year-old former army general.

Buhari on Sunday wrote to parliament seeking an extension of a 10-day medical trip in London. But failure to disclose when he would return or the specifics of his health status have fuelled concerns about his future.

Two weeks ago, Buhari wrote to parliament about the leave, during which he said he would see his doctors in the United Kingdom.

In a statement late on Monday, Buhari’s deputy Yemi Osinbajo said he spoke with the president on the state of the nation.

“Let me first say the president is hale and hearty. I spoke to him just this afternoon and we had a fairly long conversation; he is in good shape and very chatty,” according to Osinbajo, the acting president.

“Just as he has said in his letter to the National Assembly, he needs to go through a cycle of tests and once the test results are seen, he will receive medical advice. We should expect him very soon,” he added.

Osinbajo said details of the health status of Buhari would be known only after tests.

He also denied being under pressure to resign, a vague reference to the political horse trading synonymous with a succession crisis likely in the event anything happens to the president.

Even though the law says the vice president should assume power in case anything happens to the president, Nigeria’s unwritten policy of rotating power between the mostly Muslim north and largely Christian south has always been a major factor in its presidential system.

Buhari hails from the mainly Muslim northwest region while Osinbajo is a Christian cleric from the southwest.

In 2009/2010, Nigeria barely survived the political turbulence that followed the illness -- and eventual death in office -- of former President Umaru Yar’Adua because he did not officially transmit powers to his Christian deputy, Goodluck Jonathan.

Following massive street protests and high-powered consultations, parliament passed a motion making Jonathan acting president while Yar’Adua was battling an undisclosed ailment abroad. He later died on May 5, 2010.

Regardless, the north is apparently worried it may again lose the presidency to the south in yet another set of unforeseen circumstances if anything happens to Buhari.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 07 Şubat 2017, 15:34