By ‘Dotun Akintomide
Yes! the biggest news in town is the announcement of President Muhammadu Buhari’s return back to Nigeria today (Saturday) after spending 103 days in London treating a secretive ailment, a development that is already leading the country to the path of political turmoil, akin to scenarios during the health crisis of late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in 2009, save for the transfer of power to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.
But, The New Diplomat gathered from a diplomatic source that Buhari’s home coming is not unconnected with the #ResumeOrResign sit-out protest which began yesterday at the frontage of the Abuja house in London where the President has been residing since he left Nigeria on May 7 for medical treatment at the Queen’s country.
The source said the protest which started around 5 a.m Friday and lasted till Saturday morning “became an obvious embarrassment to the Presidency as it was already getting the attention of the British media who have been reporting the protest’s activities.”
“The video of the protest is already trending online, putting Nigeria in despicable shame around the world and this has induced the presidency to hurriedly arrange for his (Buhari) return to prevent further embarrassment should the protesters fail to call off the sit-out protest just opposite Nigeria’s official residential building, Abuja house,” he said.
Protesters who defied the cold night with some holding candles to protest the president’s continuous stay in London were heard chanting: Buhari go home!
Watch Video of the Night protest here:
It would be recalled that the United States’ television medium, Cable News Network, (CNN) recently mocked Nigeria in an edition of “The Global Public Square (GPS)”, a foreign affairs show anchored on CNN by Fareed Zakaria. In an apparent mockery of Nigeria and her President Muhammadu Buhari, CNN, on its programme asked, “The head of state from which country has not set foot in his homeland in over two months?” It went ahead to tick an option with the name Nigeria as the correct answer.
Just last Wednesday, the #ResumeOrResign sit-out protest in Abuja, Nigeria was called off by organizers, after an angry mob attacked protesters on Tuesday including co-coveners: Charles Oputa a.k.a Charly boy and Deji Adeyanju who narrowly escaped being lynched by pro-Buhari supporters.
While in London President Buhari has gave several assurances on his imminent return back to country, having received several visitors and high-level government’s delegations to include Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, state governors, and on Thursday Senate President, Bukola Saraki and House Speaker, Yakubu Dogara among others, who have continued to give Nigerians glimmer of hope that the President is recuperating fast and will soon assume his position at the seat of power in Aso Rock.
Yesterday, (Friday) pictures of the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye paying a visit to the president also emerged.
In spite of sundry messages of hope from top officials in the country, Nigerians have not ceased to dared the President to either return or resign, amidst claims by him that he could only do so on his doctor’s order, the latest being the all night protest in London which lasted till early Saturday morning, a development said to have prompted the President to return today, seen by diplomatic watchers as an attempt to save the Presidency’s face in the eyes of the world, as well as put an end to the ensuing national abashment in the country.
However, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina had said in a statement that ”President Muhammadu Buhari returns to the country later today, after receiving medical attention in London” for 103 days.
“The President had left the country on May 7, this year, after handing over power to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who has functioned as Acting President since then.
“President Buhari is expected to speak to Nigerians in a broadcast by 7 a.m on Monday, August 21, 2017.
“He thanks all Nigerians who have prayed ceaselessly for his recovery and well-being since the beginning of the health challenge,” Adesina said.
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