..It’s another sign of hypocrisy of APC —Makarfi-led PDP
..Falana, Afenifere, Arewa youths, others back president
..Sick or not, Buhari’ll crush 2019 opponents—Aide

By  Emmanuel Aziken, Emeka Mamah, Abdulwahab Abdulah, Simon Ebegbulem, Dapo Akinrefon, Chioma Obinna, Abdusalam Muhammad & Peter Okutu

Mixed reactions, yesterday, trailed the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to seek medical attention abroad in the face of what all major stakeholders agreed was the grave state of his health.

While the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, sympathised with him and his family on his ill-health, the party, however, flayed the secrecy on the health status of the president.

The Makarfi-led PDP said the decision to seek treatment abroad was another sign of the hypocrisy of the ruling administration. which had in the past cut off foreign exchange for medicals and tuition abroad.

President Muhammadu Buhari

The Ali Modu Sheriff-led PDP, on its part, however, said there was no law forbidding the president from seeking medical attention anywhere in the world.

The Nigerian Medical Association, NMA; Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, AYCF; Afenifere; radical lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN; Lagos lawyer, Wahab Shittu and Mr. Akin Oshuntokun, in separate remarks also concurred that the president did the needful by transmitting a notice to the National Assembly on his medical leave.

The NMA, however, differed by saying that while it maintained its stance against medical tourism, it nevertheless respected the president’s right to seek medical treatment wherever he so desires.

His health status nonetheless, one of the president’s closest political associates and liaison to the House of Representatives, Kawu Sumaila, also, yesterday, sent out a warning to potential challengers within and outside the APC that even a frail Buhari would crush all competition ahead of the 2019 election.

President Buhari on Sunday evening departed the country for the United Kingdom for continuation of his treatment for undisclosed ailment. It is the fourth medical vacation to the United Kingdom the president would be undertaking since his inauguration on May 29, 2015.

It’s another sign of  hypocrisy of APC —Makarfi-led PDP

Affirming the party’s sympathy with the president and his family over his health condition, the Makarfi-led PDP speaking through its spokesman, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, said: “We sympathise with President Buhari on his health condition because we know anybody can fall sick. Our only disagreement is the secrecy with which they are covering it.

“We know that as a public official, whose health bill is being borne by the public, he needs to come clean on his health status. He needs to be open because we do not know the nature of his sickness and in other climes, the health status of the president would be a matter of a daily bulletin which would be released to the public.

“Because he is also the head of state of this country, so we need to know if he is actually capable of administering the country.”

Reacting to the decision to seek medical treatment abroad, the PDP said it was another sign of the hypocrisy of the ruling APC.

“It is like the chicken has finally come home to roost. The APC people are great hypocrites, they will profess one thing and do another. This government came in and said that Nigerian goods should be patronised and during the campaign, they criticised those seeking medical treatment abroad, and even when the president came in they refused to provide forex for tuition and medical treatment abroad; and many children were trapped abroad because their school fees could not be remitted.

“Now, it is the same president who is now seeking medical treatment abroad at tax payers’ expense.”

Sheriff-led PDP reacts

The Sheriff-led PDP in its reaction articulated by party spokesman, Mr. Bernard Mikko said: “My worry is about public servants who seek medical tourism abroad while failing to develop our basic infrastructure in Nigeria. A trend where you have public schools and not a single child of a public servant attends the school.

“I am also concerned about a situation where public servants do not have the confidence to drink from public water supply.

“I don’t think there is any law that forbids Mr. President or any other Nigerian from seeking medical tourism abroad.”

Buhari has right to travel abroad —NMA

On his part, President, Nigerian Medical Association, Dr. Mike Ogirima, said though there is adequate medical expertise in the country, President Buhari had the right to travel abroad.

He said: “We have the expertise to treat him, but just like any other patient you are treating, he or she has the right to pick a doctor or abandon his doctor and choose another one. Being president does not mean he is not a human being. He is a patient too.”

Ogirima, who said the NMA had made known its stand on medical tourism before, affirmed that the body still stood by it.

Meanwhile, a top confidant of the president and liaison officer to the House of Representatives, Alhaji Abdulhahaman Kawu Sumaila, yesterday, said  sick or not, the president would crush all opposition to his second term bid in 2019.

Kawu Sumaila told reporters in Kano that “from what I have seen at close range, my boss is quite fit for 2019 electoral battle.”

His health is more important —Yerima

In his reaction, National President of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Alhaji Shettima Yerima, said Buhari’s decision was a step in the right direction.

Yerima said: “It is a good development. His health is more important. It is expected that he should go on leave for check-up and attend to his health.  We pray that he returns successfully from his medical trip.”

Buhari can’t determine his return —Afenifere

On its part, the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, said the president was not in a position to determine his return.

Afenifere’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr Yinka Odumakin said: “Looking at the president when he left the country, he is obviously not in a position to determine when he would return to the country.

“The only saving grace is that he complied with Section 145 before he left. There is a lacuna in our constitution as it did not stipulate for how long he can be away. He can be in London till May 29, 2019, and would have committed no offence.”

The President has done the needful —Falana

Femi Falana, SAN, “The President has complied with section 145 of the Constitution by transmitting letters to both chambers of the National Assembly. By the way, the President will be able to take good care of his health. But the constitution is silent on the duration of the medical leave.

“However, if the President is unable to discharge the functions of his office, the Federal Executive Council, FEC is required to pass a resolution to that effect. Once that resolution is passed, the medical board would examine the President. Once infirmity is confirmed, the President will seize to hold the office.”

President entitled to fall sick, entitled to treat himself —Wahab Shittu

Lagos Lawyer, Mr Wahab Shittu said: “President Muhammadu Buhari is entitled to fall sick and when such happens, he is entitled to be afforded the opportunity to access the necessary medical treatment required. In this context, what Nigerians need is to assist him with prayers.

His medical issues must be grave —Osuntokun

Also reacting, Mr Akin Osuntokun, Political Adviser to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, said Buhari’s ill health hindered the quality of governance.

Osuntokun said: “To be fair to him, he informed the public that he would need to return for medical attention in London. But it is also an indication that his medical issues must be quite grave, especially against the background of his health crisis inspired by physical indisposition in recent weeks. The only sad commentary here is that even before his health became a hindrance, the quality of governance was nothing to write home about.”

He should step down

Erstwhile President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo also spoke in the same direction, saying the president has not done wrong in seeking treatment abroad, having transmitted his notice to the National Assembly.

The Deputy chairman of the Eastern Consultative Assembly, ECA, Mrs Maria Okwo,  however, differed, yesterday, saying, “Buhari should step down and take care of his ill-health.

A member of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Oliver Osi, also spoke in the same direction that the president should step down.

He blamed those around him, who are using his present condition for their own selfish interest.

“The job is very demanding because almost 24 hours is given to it and the international community is involved.

Another Ebonyi State-based PDP chieftain, Chief Abia Onyike, called on the President to resign and handover the seat of power to his vice President.

A leader of the South-South Peoples Assembly, Brig-Gen. Idada Ikponmwen, said there was no need for the president to resign at this point, given that he had gone for further treatment. He, however, said the country would have to seek an alternative in the event the president’s ailment continued, given the country’s need for a strong man to rule.


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