The APC put out the story that presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari was due in London to give a speech at Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs.
As soon as this news broke, rumours started circulating that Buhari was ill and was being flown abroad for treatment.
One source sent us a message with a photograph via Whatsapp of Buhari at an airport. The message read: “Buhari was photographed last night at a US border post on a medical trip which APC hid from Nigerians. Observe if you will see any national appearance of him in days to come”.
This was duly published here in the Beer Parlour Gist section.
Further investigation revealed that the picture was actually taken at Heathrow Airport in 2013. Another source claimed that the APC was peddling that picture as a recent one and that Buhari had indeed been flown out from Cotonou via air ambulance.
This morning we woke up to news from Ayo Fayose, the governor of Ekiti State, claiming that Buhari was indeed in a hospital in London.
The picture above then emerged and it has been claimed that it was taken this morning.
Nobody is quite sure what is true apart from Buhari and those closest to him. But the issue of the health of a president or aspirant for the office is one that concerns many Nigerians after the experience of Umaru Yar’Adua. Yar’Adua was very ill when he was running for office and it was hidden from Nigerians. He would be treated in a Saudi hospital from November 2009 to February 2010 only to die on his return. That period created a “political vacuum” in Nigeria before Yar’Adua’s vice president Goodluck Jonathan took over.
With this backdrop, many Nigerians are concerned quite rightly, with all the rumours swirling around about Buhari’s health, whether history is about to repeat itself.
Buhari should call a press conference and address these issues as a matter of urgency, or else, in the absence of facts, people are going to fill the gaps with all sorts of stuff. If he could call a presser to address something that didn’t matter like his certificate, he should be more than willing to talk about his health.