The health status of President Muhammadu Buhari has been one of the most talked about issues since January when he travelled to London on medical leave.
In January, he wrote a letter to the National Assembly to inform them that he was taking a 10-day leave. He ended up spending more than 10 days and returned to the country after 51 days.
His leave was extended for medical reasons and when he returned, he said he would still go back to London for medical follow up.
On Sunday, May 7, NAIJ.com reported that Buhari left for London, leaving behind another letter for the National Assembly, in which he handed over to Vice President Osinbajo.
Buhari’s latest letter has elicited controversy over his choice of words and some are wondering what the difference is, between his previous letter in January and this one.
1. Medical leave vs medical follow up
His January letter read:
“In compliance with section 145 (1) of the 1999 constitution as amended, I wish to inform the distinguished senate that I will be away for a short medical vacation."
His May letter read:
"I wish to inform the distinguished senate that I will be away for a scheduled medical follow-up with my doctors in London."
2. The duration:
In January, Buhari specified how long he would be staying although he ended up staying longer. In his letter, he wrote: “I wish to inform the distinguished Senate that I will be away for a short medical vacation from Monday, January, 23 to February 6th, 2017."
In his recent letter, the president acknowledged that he has no idea how long he would be staying as it will be determined by his doctors.
“The length of my stay will be determined by the doctors’ advice,” he wrote.
3. Choice of words
The choice of words employed by President Buhari in his latest letter is sparking a heated debate. In his previous letter, the president clearly stated that Osinbajo will ‘perform’ the functions of his office.
“While I am away, the vice-president (Osinbajo) will perform the functions of my office,” the letter read.
In his recent letter, he said Osinbajo will ‘coordinate’ the activities of the government.
Some people have a problem with the word coordinate.
There was a moment of drama after the letter was read at the National Assembly. A senator, Mao Ohabunwa, faulted the position given to Osinbajo in the letter. He noted that there was no provision in the Nigerian constitution for a coordinating vice president as stated in the president's letter.
“While I am away, the vice-president will coordinate the activities of the government,” the president’s letter read.
See copies of the letter below:
Nigerians are already reacting to Buhari's choice of words in his latest letter. While some are of the opinion that the fuss about it is unnecessary, others think it was a deliberate act by Buhari.
In this NAIJ.com video, Nigerians share what they think about posters campaigning for President Buhari's second term in office.