President Muhammadu Buhari may not return to the country on Sunday May 5 as scheduled due to health complications. Inside sources in the Presidency who spoke with Reporters said there is a high likelihood of the President extending his stay on the orders of his doctors. President Muhammadu Buhari had travelled to the United Kingdom on April25 for what the presidency described as a “private visit”. Shortly after his announcement, Buhari’s departure sparked a constitutional debate over his refusal to notify the National Assembly of his planned absence and hand over to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
In 2016, he had handed over to Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo after notifying the senate of his 10-day visit to the United Kingdom where he claimed he would be seeing an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist over a persistent ear infection. By refusing to hand over to the Vice President, Buhari breached Section 145 (1) and (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) which states that: “Whenever the President is proceeding on vacation or is otherwise unable to discharge the functions of his Office, he shall transmit a written declaration to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives to that effect, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, the Vice-President shall perform the functions of the President as Acting President. “In the event that the President is unable or fails to transmit the written declaration mentioned in subsection (1) of this section within 21 days, the National Assembly shall, by a resolution made by a simple majority of the vote of each House of the National Assembly, mandate the Vice-President to perform the functions of the office of the President as Acting President until the President transmits a letter to the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives that he is now available to resume his functions as President.”
In 2017 during his prolonged absence, Nigerian protesters in Lagos, Abuja and the UK protested after mobilizing using the hashtag #ResumeOrResign demanded that President Muhammadu Buhari either resume his job as president or resign, after more than 90 days of absence. Demonstrators rallied for three days, demanding action by the government, with many claiming Buhari’s absence is unacceptable and harmful for the country.
The demonstrations, led by prominent activists such as Omoyele Sowore, Charles Oputa and Deji Adeyanju forced the President to return home. His most recent trip is also causing widespread anger from Nigerians, who accuse him of insensitivity to the plight of Nigerians, especially in the wake of rising kidnapping and banditry in the country. Contrary to claims that the President suffers an ear infection, SaharaReporters in 2017 authoritatively confirmed that Buhari is battling a persistent “internal organ” problem.
The source attributed the President’s inability to eat as well as his progressive loss of weight to Crohn’s Disease, a medical condition that has affected his digestive system. According to the source, Buhari had had parts of his colon removed in 2013 and also had another operation to have hemorrhoids, swollen veins near the human rectum, removed in 2016 in London during one of his secret trips to seek urgent medical treatment. Since his inauguration in 2015, President Buhari has embarked on no less than eight trips to the UK, mostly to cater to his health.
On the February 5, 2016, he embarked on a six-day medical vacation to London. Shortly after, on the June 6, 2016, he took to the skies for a 10-day medical vacation to deal with a “persistent ear infection”. Again on January 19, 2017, he took off to London again on a medical vacation and on February 5, 2017, he wrote to the National Assembly, asking lawmakers to extend his London medical leave. He returned on the March 10, 2017 but did not resume work immediately before jetting out two months later on May 7, 2017 for another medical vacation that lasted 104 days. President Buhari returned in and worked from home August 19, 2017. He again flew out in May 8, 2018 for a follow-up check-up.