The presidency on Monday urged Nigerians to pray fervently for President Muhammadu Buhari as the country’s leader embarked on a 10-day trip abroad during which he would seek treatment for a persistent ear infection.
“Rather than going into frenzy, I will urge Nigerians to show goodwill and patriotism; they should pray for him and wish him well,” Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity told journalists shortly before Mr. Buhari took off to London on Monday.
“Things about health, life and death are in the hands of God, but I believe that all is well. God will take care of him and take care of the country.’’
Mr. Adesina, who issued a statement last night saying the President was seeking further treatment for his ear infection abroad, on Monday dismissed reports that Mr. Buhari was ill.
The presidential aide said the Nigerian leader was going to London to spend part of his annual leave.
He explained that the president would use the opportunity of his vacation to see an ENT specialist for a persistent ear infection.
According to Mr. Adesina, the president effectively performed his presidential duties until he left Nigeria for London on Monday.
“The buzz going round town is that the president is “ill”, but “ill” will be a misnomer; it should not be the right word to use.
“The President is going for 10-day rest and during that period, he will see specialists who will look at his ear; he has been treating that ear locally for some time.
“Nigerian physicians have looked at it and now they have said, `you are going to UK, now that you will be there let specialists look at the ear.’
“They (Nigerian physicians) have treated it locally. So, it is not a question of whether the President is ill.
“If he is ill, it presupposes that there are certain things that he cannot do.
“Till the very last minute that he is traveling, the president performed the duties and functions of his office as president.
“So, illness is not the issue, but as a human being, yes he can rest. He has been President for one full year, you know that in February he took 5 days leave; he is taking another 10 days now that means 15 days leave in one year.
“You and I take more than that, so it is natural that the president as a human being is taking 10 days rest but he is not ill. We need to underscore that.”
Shortly before departing, President Buhari told State House correspondents at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, that he had formally notified the National Assembly of his 10-day vacation as required by law.
He dismissed insinuation that his trip abroad might cause tension in the country, saying “is there anybody that doesn’t fall sick?’’