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Buhari It's time for President to speak to Nigerians

President Buhari hasn't spoken directly to Nigerians for a month. That's the missing piece in this entire jigsaw.

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Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara, Senate President Bukola Saraki, leader of Senate, Senator Ahmed Lawan during their courtesy call to President Buhari, in London play

Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara, Senate President Bukola Saraki, leader of Senate, Senator Ahmed Lawan during their courtesy call to President Buhari, in London

(Presidency)

President Muhammadu Buhari has been away from Nigeria for more than a month now.

He embarked on a 10-day vacation to London on January 19, 2017 and was due back on February 6, 2017.

That return date was moved indefinitely on February 5, 2017.

The Presidency said Buhari asked for an extension of his vacation because he needs some more time to retrieve medical test results from his Doctors.

The nation's rumour mill has cranked into fifth gear since the President left the country; and Aso Rock media aides have had a hard time dispelling all of those rumours and speculations.

play Buhari meets with Dogara, Saraki in London (Presidency)

 

On January 21, 2017, the President was even declared dead by fake news websites.

In the weeks following the death rumours, the Presidency arranged for persons to go visit the President in London.

There was the visit by APC chieftains Bisi Akande and Bola Tinubu, there were the visits by Speaker Yakubu Dogara and Senate President Bukola Saraki and there have been visits from the President's wife, Aisha Buhari and Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun.

The President has also spoken to his Sister, Hajiya Rakiya, the President of the United States Donald Trump, his inner circle, members of the Presidency cabal and just about everyone else.

Everyone else except the Nigerian people who overwhelmingly voted Buhari into power in the Spring of 2015.

It's a disturbing turn of events especially because Nigerians are demanding that he speaks to them.

And they have every right to make that demand.

US President, Donald Trump and Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari play Trump and Buhari (Buzz Nigeria)

 

It shouldn't be too much to ask.

“The fact that the President is receiving visitors, the fact that he has spoken with the American President and the fact that he has asked us to tell the world that he’s fine, I think that’s just enough,” said Femi Adesina who is the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity.

ALSO READ: ‘The fact that he’s receiving visitors shows he’s well,’ Femi Adesina says

No, Sir, it's not enough.

There's a difference between speaking with a select group of persons and speaking to the people.

And in this instance, the people are the most important group of persons.

It's important to make that point very clear.

President Muhammadu Buhari meets with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Chief Bisi Akande at the Abuja House in London on February 9, 2017. play Tinubu, Buhari and Akande in London (Twitter/NGRPresident)

 

"Okay", conceded Garba Shehu, who is the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, "if you are making a suggestion (that Buhari should speak to Nigerians), we will put it to him, in case he'll agree. We will put it to him.”

This is no longer a suggestion, it's a demand.

President Buhari must speak to Nigerians immediately!

ALSO READ: "Jonathan's govt took $15bn from Nigeria's foreign reserve at once" - Presidency [VIDEO]

By having the President take pictures with a coterie of persons and having them displayed on social media, the Presidency is only fuelling speculation along the line that the nation's number one citizen is too frail and ill to speak.

Phone conversations with Dogara, Saraki and Trump won't persuade certain persons otherwise.

 

The skepticism comes from watching an Umaru Yar'adua Presidency play exactly the same game circa 2009/2010 until the ailing leader was wheeled into Nigeria from Saudi Arabia, a dead man.

No one was going to disclose the true health status of Yar'adua. Nigerians were told that their President was "hale and hearty" and was so fit, he could even play a rigorous game of squash.

On the campaign trail in 2007, departing President Olusegun Obasanjo put Yar'adua on the phone.

"Umaru...Umaru..they say you are dead...."

Late President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua and his ADC play Late former President Yar'adua (9jabook)

 

It was tragi-comedy all around.

Yar'adua succumbed to acute Pericarditis a couple of months later.

For three years, his health status was concealed from the Nigerian people.

Buhari's handlers say he is "hale and hearty".

Meanwhile, save for the pictures and reports of phone conversations, no one has been able to show exactly how "hale and hearty" President Buhari is.

ALSO READ: Aso Rock cabal is uncomfortable with VP's performance as Acting President

Unconfirmed reports emerged over the weekend that the President is battling prostate cancer. Of course those reports may have been far from the truth, but there's no way of telling, when the Presidency is doing a good job of keeping the President from his people.

Pictures won't cut it. Nor would reports of phone conversations with political figures.

Presidency releases picture of Buhari to stop death rumors play Buhari watches ChannelsTV in London (Daily Post)

 

Here's the thing to do in the circumstance: get a camera into Abuja House in London--where the President is reportedly holed up as he awaits test results, get a few Nigerian television cameras over, stream the whole thing live on the Internet and ask the President to assure folks back home that he's fine and will return to work soon, blah, blah, blah....

Or, arrange a Skype call where the President addresses the people in real time.

Surely, if he can hold lengthy phone conversations with leaders of the national assembly and make jokes about Saraki working late into the night, he can speak to Nigerians for some five odd minutes.

In the absence of the above, the rumour mill won't stop spinning. And you can't blame the rumour mongers--nature abhors a vacuum.

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