By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA—President Muhammadu Buhari departed Abuja for London, United Kingdom on a medical vacation, yesterday. He will return to the country on February 6, 2017.
This is the second time the president would be seeking medical attention since he took office on May 29, 2015.
The first was in June last year when he left the country to treat an ear infection and returned after spending 13 days.
A statement by the Presidential spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, said the President is going “on a short leave which is part of his annual vacation. During the vacation, the President will also undergo routine medical check-ups.”
Vanguard observed that the President had since the week been performing the functions of his office mostly at his official residence located within the precinct of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, rarely spending dutiful hours in the office.
For instance, it was at the residence that the President received Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State, who visited the Presidential Villa about 1 p.m., on Tuesday.
Clutching a file, the governor was ushered into the president’s office.
Meeting his absence, Ayade was later taken to meet the President at his residence in a waiting SUV.
Since then, the President had not been seen performing outdoor duties.
The last he did was at the National Arcade, Abuja during the 2017 Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration on Sunday.
Adesina’s statement added: “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, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, would perform the functions of the Office of the President.
Nothing is wrong with going on vacation —Buhari
Meanwhile, at the airport, yesterday, when the President was leaving the country, he said it was not unusual for a president to go on vacation.
Speaking to newsmen, he said: “What’s wrong with going on vacation? Didn’t I go last year at the same time?”
He’ll do routine medical checkups —Spokesman
Also speaking, his spokesman, Mr. Adesina, said President Buhari was going to rest and then do his routine medical check-ups, noting that there was no cause for alarm.
He said: “The president is going to rest. You know that God did work of creation for six days and on the seventh day He rested. So if God needed to rest, how much more human being.
“So the President is just going to rest and the statement we have released is straight forward. He will go on this leave and during the leave he will do routine medical checkups.
“We need to show goodwill towards our leaders, particularly President Buhari, who is working to give Nigeria a new footing, a new orientation.
“Nothing absolutely to worry about but a lot of goodwill, a lot prayers are necessary at all times.”
Also at the airport was the Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin, who had a brief meeting with the president.
He later said the meeting was to update the president on the operations of Nigerian troops in the crisis infested The Gambia.
He said: “The meeting was to give Mr. President update on our operations within and outside the country especially our involvement with the ECOWAS standby force that are being inducted into Senegal which has to do with the issue of mandate ensuring that the president elect of The Gambia is sworn in.”