Tinubu, Odumakin, FFK, Clark, others react
The senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, Mr. Garba Shehu has denied claims that President Muhammadu Buhari’s return from London on Saturday (August 19) after spending 103 days to attend to his health was the result from the #ResumeOrResign#, #OurMumuDonDo# and other protests by Nigerians.
Speaking in a telephone interview with Channels television monitored by Newsgazette.com.ng, Shehu said the president returned after being given a clean bill of health by his doctors.
“Let me tell you, that so-called vigil was of no consequence. Did anybody take notice of it? No, this is a country of 170 million people.
“So if you have a splinter of less than a dozen persons, just less than 10 people over there? No please don’t link this to President Muhammadu Buhari’s return.
Shehu said a team of presidential aide visited the president in London and they saw that he was good enough to return home.
He said the series of protests had nothing to do with the President’s return, noting that the doctors gave the green light after they confirmed that he could return to his country.
“We were there; we gave you the report that for us he looks good enough to continue in his work; however, it was up to the doctors. And we had hoped that the doctors would also see the things as we saw them which is to say that ‘good enough, go back to your job’ and this had been done. So absolutely has nothing to do with this inconsequential protest,” he said.
“We had hoped that the doctors would also see the things as we saw them which is to say that ‘good enough, go back to your job’ and this had been done. So it a President Buhari was away from the country for 103 days on medical vacation in London.
Meanwhile, the national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu has described the president’s return as “real” and “symbolic’.
In a statement entitled ‘President Buhari’s Return: A Nation’s Hope Fulfilled’ issued in Lagos, Tinubu urged Nigerians to remain united and support Buhari as he pursues the progressive agenda for which he was elected for.
“Just as we gathered to pray for his health and his return, we must remain united in spirit to support President Buhari as he pursues the progressive agenda for which he was elected, and that promises us all a better day.
“Our nation is strong, but must overcome many challenges. We can do so with President Buhari at the helm and with the rest of the nation in active support. “Thus, the president’s return is both real and symbolic.
“We all must renew our faith in our collective purpose and rededicate ourselves to a nation indivisible and united in reconstructing our political economy so that it provides a decent and good life to all our people.
“President Buhari’s return home is our prayers answered and these attributes which he possesses will lead him to success in surmounting our national challenges.
“President Buhari has demonstrated time and again his devotion to this nation and its great causes.
“His love for the country and the realisation that he has a mission to fulfill so that Nigeria may realise its better self by providing security and prosperity to all Nigerians has compelled him home,”he said.
‘With President Buhari back and with the nation united behind him, we can accomplish excellent things. May we do our best to become our best,” said Tinubu.
For the spokesman for the pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, though Buhari was welcome home, he had a priority of tackling the growing calls for the country’s restructuring.
“We welcome him back to the country after a long sojourn of medical treatment and pray that his health will be perfected. He’s coming back to meet a country on the edge of the precipice. In the last two years, they tried every trick in the book, but the country is going down in the abyss.
“We are at the edge of the precipice and I think he must make up his mind now to confront the issue by facing the question of addressing the structure of this country. The way the events are unfolding, God forbid that he becomes the last president of the united Nigeria, if he doesn’t address all these issues.
“The only agenda for the administration at this moment should be to address the question of the structure of Nigeria so that we can begin to address all the other problems. Without addressing these issues, the last two years have shown that he cannot address any of the other issues,” said Odumakin
Former minister of aviation and chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Femi Fani-Kayode, expressed hope over Buhari’s return but thanked Charly Boy, Deji Adeyanju and other protesters for making the president return home.
“Let us wait and see how strong he is, how well he will do and how long he will last. He has been through a lot and we want him to be strong and healthy so that we can trounce him and his party in the 2019 election.
“I wish him well and I congratulate him and his family on his safe return. I commend the efforts of the Our Mumu Don Do and the #ResumeOrResign groups led by Charly Boy Oputa and Deji Adeyanju for chasing President Buhari out of the United Kingdom after one night of protest outside Abuja House in London. Thanks to them Nigeria has her President back,” he said.
Speaking on his demands, he said, “Buhari should stop the divisive policies, stop the persecution of political enemies, stop the violation of human rights, stop the mass killings, take the economy out of recession, caution his aides and Ministers and treat every Nigerian, regardless of his ethnicity or faith, as an equal.”
The Convener and leader of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, Chief Edwin Clark, said the President’s return would help douse the growing tension across the country.
He said the people of the Niger Delta were happy and welcomed him back to the country to continue as the nation’s president.
“Nigerians have been very anxious and we are all happy that he has come. This will no doubt lower the tension in the country by various protesters. We all should continue to pray for him as he comes back home.
“As he has come back, no one should create unnecessary tension in the country. We are happy that he has come back home because this is what every Nigerian has been praying for,” he said.
Also speaking, the Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators called on Buhari to immediately order oil companies operating in Niger Delta to relocate their headquarters to the region.
The group’s leader, John Duku, who welcomed the President back to Nigeria, urged him to also direct oil companies to always pay Nigerian oil workers the same amount paid to foreigners in their companies.
“A new memorandum of understanding should be signed with oil companies that they (oil firms) are going to pay the same amount they pay to foreigners to Nigerians, who are their employees.
“Everything given to the white man, who works in an oil company in Nigeria, should also be given to Nigerians who work in the same oil company,” he said.
SOURCES: CHANNELS TELEVISION, VANGUARD, PUNCH