• We won’t join issues with Ekiti gov, says presidential aide
• SANs, PDP, APC, others react to call for president’s resignation
From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja and Wole Balogun, Ado-Ekiti, Gabriel Dike, Sunday Ani, Chinelo Obogo and Lukman Olabiyi, Lagos
Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, yesterday, made shocking claims about the health status of President Muhammadu Buhari who has been in a London hospital for 54 days running.
Governor Fayose, in a press briefing at the Government office in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, claimed that facts available to him showed that Buhari had been on life-support since June 6 at a West-End Hospital in London.
He said not only did Buhari has voice impairment, and could not have spoken in Hausa to Nigerians on Ramadan day as claimed by the Presidency, but was also incapable of ruling the nation in his present health status.
“Like every other Nigerians, I do not wish the president dead, I have, therefore, maintained dignified silence since we were told that the president embarked on his second medical trip abroad this year.
“However, the recorded audio message which was released by the Presidency as the president’s Ramadan message to Nigerians necessitated my setting the records straight today,” he stated.
Fayose who observed that no official information had been given to Nigerians on the president’s health and that neither Acting President Yemi Osinbajo nor the president’s wife, Aisha, could claim to have either seen or spoken with Buhari since his second medical trip to London, said he was revealing his findings in good faith and did not wish the president dead.
According to Fayose, only three Nigerians who were members of the president’s cabal were allowed access to the president. He however, elected to “keep their identities for now.”
The governor challenged the Presidency or any other person who has a contrary claim to his expose on Buhari to produce such in 48 hours.
“Nigerians will recall that I warned against electing President Buhari on the account of his age, health and mental capacity. Nigerians will also recall that when they released pictures to the press claiming that President Buhari had an interview with Kemi Fadojutimi of “All Eyes on Africa” TV Show in London, on Monday, February 23, 2015, I proved to the whole world that the interview was conducted in Suite 881 at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.”
He claimed that some people in power have been after his life and government.
“Hate me or like me, again I am putting Nigerians on notice on the present state of health of our president. In closing, let me state that I am not unaware of the various attempts on my life; I am undaunted as I remain committed to truth and fearlessness because a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
Asked how he got his information, Governor Fayose said: “Some top APC leaders and members in government have given us some of the information they are afraid to tell Nigerians. We have also gone steps ahead to confirm the information before revealing it to all Nigerians.”
In his reaction, Buhari’s media assistant, Mallam Garba Shehu said: “We don’t speak when Fayose talks. That hasn’t changed.”
However, Nigerians, yesterday, expressed mixed reactions to Fayose’s revelation and his call on President Buhari to relinquish office.
Among those who could not find a common ground were two Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Seyi Sowemimo and Chief Mike Ozekhome, as well as former chairman, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja branch, Dave Ajetomobi.
This is even as the All Progressives Congress (APC) cautioned Fayose not to celebrate the death of Buhari before his death.
National Publicity Secretary of the ruling party, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, who said he did not have information about Buhari’s health status apart from the one at the public domain, challenged Fayose to furnish Nigerians with evidence of his claims.
“He claimed that the President is on life support. We only hope that Governor Fayose is not celebrating President Buhari’s death before it happens. He has been wishing it on him even before the 2015 presidential election and so he should be happy now that Mr. President is having some health challenges. It seems that Governor Fayose will be happier if his prophesy comes true rather than see Mr. President gets well,” the APC noted.
While Sowemimo believed the governor’s call on Buhari to resign was premature, Ozekhome said the call was not only timely, but also right.
According to Sowemimo: “What should be demanded for now is official statement on status of president’s health and not call for his resignation. What we need now is clearer picture of president’s health status and not calls for his resignation.”
However, Ozekhome, in a television interview monitored in Lagos, said Buhari’s ill health has turned the country to a rudderless ship
“On the vice president becoming the acting president, under section 145 of the 1999 constitution, we have seen a situation which the late Professor Dora Akinyili famously referred to as cabal.
“The cabal has consistently flown the kite of Mr. President lurking behind and in front of the corridors of power, which was why they gave us a voice some few days ago, whether genuine or simulated, that it was President Muhammadu Buhari addressing Nigerians, with most profanity, in his own native language of Hausa, which is not the recognised lingua franca. The point they tried to make is, whether you like it or not, Mr. President is right here with us. He is hovering around us.”
He said that has not given the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), who has assumed full powers of the president, “the capacity, the ability and the space to act because he continues to look behind his shoulders to see whether they will throw in the name of the president.
“Fayose is, therefore, right to call for Mr. President’s resignation because it is clear that under section 143 and 144 of the constitution, the Federal Executive Council (FEC), which is made up of ministers appointed by the president himself cannot and will never recommend that Mr. President be subjected to medical examination by a panel set up for that purpose,” he posited.
According to the human rights lawyer: “We cannot continue to be like a rudderless country or like an aircraft flying without a compass. It is ridiculous.”
But Ajetunmobi said the call for Buhari to resign was laughable as it lacked any basis in law.
He said no serious-minded person would listen to Governor Fayose having known him as a ‘comedian.’
“Before taking somebody serious, you have to look at the person and what he or she is saying. It is only Fayose’s fellow comedians that will take him serious. What are the basis for his calls? The president followed due process before traveling out of the country; and for Fayose’s call to be taken serious, due process must be followed as well,” he said.
Although it noted that Nigerians, particularly the opposition party had gone through a familiar route before, during the health travails of the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said it would not play politics with the health of the president.
“As a human being, I want to refrain from playing politics with health of another human being, more so the president of our country.
“I want to react to government’s actions, inactions, polices and programmes. Governor Fayose is my party member and I will not join issues with him,” PDP spokesman, Bernard Mikko said in a whatssap message.
In his reaction, a lecture, Dr. Dele Ashiru of the Department of Political Science, University of Lagos, said the onus was on Fayose to prove that Buhari was incapacitated and could not carry out the functions of his office.
“Except Fayose is able to prove that, then he must desist from making reckless statement on the president health condition.
“For Nigerians to know that President Buhari is incapacitated and cannot function in office, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) is empowered by the Constitution to constitute a Medical Advisory Committee…a medical doctor is required to conduct a test on the president. As far as I am concerned, that has not been done. Until that is done, I will not support Fayose’s position that Buhari should resign.”
Like Ashiru, the National Chairman of Labour Party (LP), Alhaji A.A. Salam, also faulted Fayose.
“Anybody can be sick. His (Fayose) father can also be sick or anybody in his family. In the culture were I come from, you don’t castigate such people. You rather pray for their recovery.’’
He advised Fayose not to ridicule the Office of the President.
“Governor Fayose must respect Buhari as the president of Nigeria and also respect the position. It is fundamentally irresponsible for him to insult Buhari’s office. It is uncultured and un-African for him to make such reckless statement without medical proof. From were he comes from, elders are respected. His party and elders should call him to order. I am not aware that FEC has invoked the provisions of the Constitution by setting up a medical committee to examine President Buhari. Let Fayose and Nigerians pray for the speedy recovery of Buhari. I don’t share his view that the president should resign.’’
Spokesperson for Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, said Buhari might not be in the best health condition to make a decision on whether to resign or not.
“His handlers have lost credibility and the only way that he (Buhari) can prove Fayose wrong is if he appears himself and tell Nigerians the true state of his health. If he is in a state as Fayose has described, he is not even in a position to take such a decision, which is the truth. It will be unfair to ask him to resign because he won’t even be able to take any decision in that state.”
According to Fayose, the audio message recently where the President felicitated with Muslims during the Sallah festivity did not represent the truth.
“President Buhari’s team has been doing a messy job and the latest gambit which was an own goal was when they recorded a message in Hausa language which was purportedly from the president. That recording even annoyed those who had been sympathetic to the president before now.”