Garba Shehu, senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, has said President Muhammadu Buhari’s health situation cannot be compared to that of late president Umaru Yar’Adua.
The presidential aide explained that it was misleading to compare Buhari’s case to that of Yar’Adua, adding that the circumstances were completely different.
Shehu made the statement in reaction to an article speculating that Nigeria faces imminent political and constitutional crisis on account of President Muhammadu Buhari’s absence.
The article was written by a Nigerian historian, Max Siollun, entitled “The Gentleman’s Agreement that Could Break Apart Nigeria,” published in the United States-based Foreign Policy magazine.
Shehu, the senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, described the article as “needlessly sensational and exaggerated speculations by conspiracy theorists”.
According to him, unlike Yar’Adua, Buhari has duly complied with the constitutional requirements by formally notifying the National Assembly of his intention to go for medical treatment and handing over to Yemi Osinbajo as acting president.
“While Yar’Adua was too severely ill to transmit a letter formally to the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, President Buhari is not in such medical state, and therefore, the country is not currently facing any complications on account of his absence,” he added.
He noted that under Yar’Adua, there was uncertainty about the role of the vice president because the late president was not in a position to formally transfer power to his deputy, which necessitated the resort to the doctrine of necessity to enable Goodluck Jonathan to act in his absence.
The media aide explained that “currently, none of these circumstances prevail in Nigeria on account of President Buhari’s absence for medical treatment”.
According to him, having transferred power formally to vice-president Yemi Osinbajo, president Buhari did not leave Nigeria with any power vacuum.
“Therefore, any suggestions of uncertainty or constitutional crisis are imaginary and exaggerated.”
He explained that with Osinbajo already running the affairs of the country in the absence of Buhari, people should stop creating artificial fears of crisis or uncertainty.
He noted that governance had not grounded to a halt because Buhari had duly complied with the constitution.
Shehu appealed to conspiracy theorists not to pollute the polity by needlessly seeking to create an atmosphere of fear, uncertainty and suspicions in the country.
The media aide said that the president publicly admitted he was sick and taking treatment and that he never pretended about his health condition.