Buhari 6 times President has 'spoken' in 100 days

Direct communication from the president has been extremely limited since he left the country in May.

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President Muhammadu Buhari play

President Muhammadu Buhari

(APHRAOH)
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President Muhammadu Buhari is not a difficult man to understand, once you decide to just accept him for who he is.

At least that's what his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, told the Nigerian people after almost two months of little communication from the nation's leading gentleman since he flew to the United Kingdom.

Ever since the president flew out of the country on May 7 to resume treatment for an undisclosed illness in London, direct communication has been extremely limited.

While he supposedly recovered from his mysterious illness, the president's team shielded him from the public glare so successfully that rumours that he might be dead started to sound sensible at some point.

Protesters are demanding details about President Muhammadu Buhari's illness after he's been away in London for more than three months for treatment. They say Buhari should return or resign. play

Protesters are demanding details about President Muhammadu Buhari's illness after he's been away in London for more than three months for treatment. They say Buhari should return or resign.

(AFP)

 

Despite their best efforts, constant agitation to be informed about the fate of the president has seemed to force him and his team to make concerted efforts to communicate in dribs and drabs, most usually to the satisfaction of no one.

In light of the president's unpresidented 100 days away from the shores of the country, here's a recap of the times he has communicated (in his own unique way):

1. Sallah greetings from over many seas

Well over a month after President Buhari's departure, amid several calls for a public declaration of his illness and reports that he had suffered from a speech impairment, the president recorded a one minute, three seconds audio message to calm frayed nerves.

If the president's intention was to quash rumours about his dire health status and unite the nation behind him, it was ill-thought-out because it achieved quite the opposite.

President Muhammadu Buhari in London play

President Muhammadu Buhari in London

(News Web Naija)

 

The president recorded the message in Hausa, a regional language that automatically sidelines half of the country's population that doesn't speak the president's tongue.

The audio recording was an address to the country's Muslim population on the occasion of Eid-el Fitr celebrations, and while Hausa natives are known to be the most predominantly Muslim tribe in the country, they are far from being the only one.

For good reason, this insensitive oversight only served to anger people who didn't already completely trust the president and gave them even more reason to doubt him.

However, even though no one knew it at the time, it has been the president's single direct communication with the Nigerian people in his 100 days sojourn.

2. 'Thank you' note to Alpha Conde

Two months after he holed up in London, President Muhammadu Buhari penned a letter of appreciation to the President of Guinea, Alpha Conde.

Buhari thanked his counterpart for his prior public request for Muslims and Christians in Guinea to remember the Nigerian President in their prayers.

Guinean President, Alpha Condé play

Guinean President, Alpha Condé

(Trendy Fact)

 

Perhaps the prayers made the president feel better in ways that made him want to show his appreciation, but he probably should have also penned another letter to the Jigawa state government who had declared a public holiday in the state to enable public servants offer special prayers for his quick recovery.

3. Condolence letter sent to Governor Abdullahi Ganduje

After the death of elder statesman and former Minister for National Guidance, Maitama Sule, president Buhari sent a signed letter of condolence to Kano governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, to commiserate with the state's loss.

The private letter expressed the president's shock at the 87-year-old's death, and extolled his values as Kano mourned its illustrious son. This wasn't the last of the president's public condolence messages.

4. Condolence phone call and letter to Bisi Akande

When Omowunmi Akande, the wife of chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Bisi Akande, died in July, the president felt compelled to call to condole him in a private call.

In this handout photograph taken and released by The Nigerian State House on July 26, ailing Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari (C) poses with his wife Aisha Buhari (R) and the wife of Benue State Governor Eunice Ortom as he received a courtesy visit delegation at Abuja House in London play President Muhammadu Buhari (C) poses with his wife Aisha Buhari (R) and the wife of Benue State Governor Eunice Ortom as he received a courtesy visit delegation at Abuja House in London (NIGERIA STATE HOUSE/AFP)

 

However, the call was not the end of it as the president also penned a public letter to the former Osun state governor over the "irreparable loss."

It was not the communication Nigerians were clamouring for: it wasn't a resignation letter that many were starting to grumble about, and it wasn't a full health disclosure, or any disclosure that anyone wanted; but, at least, the president had the presence of mind to call a grieving friend.

Maybe he'll work his way down the list to eventually reach Nigerians sometime.

5. Another one...to Governor Rauf Aregbesola

When Osun state governor, Rauf Aregbesola, also lost his mother, Alhaja Saratu, earlier in August, President Buhari was there for him through a condolence phone call.

6. President Buhari is ready to come home!

In what should be the most monumental story to emerge out of the president's controversial stay abroad, President Buhari revealed that he was fit and ready to return to the country.

Right after his doctors give him the green light, that is.

 

While this is the kind of news that the Nigerian public has awaited over three months, it was a footnote in a video that focused on the president receiving his media team in London.

The video was the first time the president was appearing to the Nigerian people in 97 days in anything other than photographs or an audio recording.

It could have served as the perfect time to talk directly to expectant Nigerians; those who want to see him tender his resignation, as well as those who are backing the Lion King to make a triumphant return to the kingdom.

But he did not seize that opportunity, and more or less resorted to the same gimmick of having his media team handle all the important talking for him.

It's a shame, but there's not much to be done about it that has not been tried before.

It's 100 days without the duly-elected president of the Republic of Nigeria at the helm of affairs, at least not in an official capacity.

President Buhari and his Vice, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo before the medical trip play

President Buhari and his Vice, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo before the medical trip

(saharareporters)

 

It's almost unheard of that a president and his deputy have had the chance to 'celebrate' separate 100-day milestones in office before, but that's a situation that Nigeria has found itself trapped in.

This is shameful history in the making, and the record books will remember.

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