President Muhammadu Buhari

Many people have been urging President Muhammadu Buhari to speak to Nigerians from the United Kingdom to disprove death rumours or his inability to perform his duties as leader of the country and Commander-In-Chief of the armed forces.

These people have dismissed all the photographs that the Presidency has provided showing the President alive and well. They have also dismissed a phone call the President made to the Minister of Sports to commiserate with him over the loss of his wife.

To these people, the failure of the President to address the nation while on vacation is a proof that he is dead or “under intense care”.

But, let’s go back to the beginning to understand why the President does not need to be bothered while on vacation, especially by rumours that have been proven to be false and mischievous.

On January 19, when President Muhammadu Buhari left Nigeria for his “short leave” in the United Kingdom, a part of his annual vacation, the Presidency issued a statement and informed us about three things.

  1. That the President would be resuming work on February 6, 2017, which is in five days.
  1. That the President had written the National Assembly and handed power to the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
  1. That during his vacation, the President will also undergo routine medical check-ups.

“In line with Section 145 (1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the President of the Senate, and Speaker, House of Representatives, have been duly communicated.

“While away, the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, will perform the functions of the Office of the President,” the Presidency said in a statement.

Simon Ateba, the writer

Having taken all the steps above, President Buhari had complied with the Constitution and had even gone a step further to disclose that he would be undergoing some medical checks.

It is my opinion that we are all human beings and we can all fall sick and what we must do in that case is to seek medical attention anywhere we can get it or afford it. There is no big deal in falling sick. A President, indeed, can fall sick and he can seek treatment.

Having informed us he was travelling, having informed the National Assembly, according to the constitution, that he was travelling, having handed power over to the Vice President before he travelled, having disclosed how long he would stay in the United Kingdom for his vacation, and having shown several pictures of him while on vacation (he was not compelled to show them), President Muhammadu Buhari has done all he was supposed to do and should be allowed to enjoy his vacation.

Should President Buhari fail to resume work on February 6, then questions can be raised and Nigerians would be right to urge him to speak and explain why he has not returned when he said he will.

The job of a President seems to be more tedious than most jobs. Occupying the highest office in the land means that you will have little time to yourself. There are unending meetings and phone calls, unending trips and scandals. There are unending visits by foreign dignitaries and local politicians. One man can easily get exhausted with all of that and deserve to rest to give his best after the well deserved vacation.

Simon Ateba is the Publisher of


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