President Muhammadu Buhari says he will soon return to the country to continue his assignment of providing purposeful leadership for the nation.
According to Kingsley Fanwo, spokesman of Yahaya Bello, governor of Kogi state, Buhari said this in a telephone conversation with the governor on Sunday.
Fanwo said Buhari’s call came in while Bello was returning from Abeokuta, Ogun state capital, where he had attended the 80th birthday anniversary of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
“He (President Muhammadu Buhari) told the governor that he is observing rest and will return very soon to Nigeria to continue his assignment of providing purposeful leadership for the nation,” Fanwo said in a statement.
“The conversation took place in the presence of the speaker, Kogi state house of assembly, Ahmed Imam, and a few other members of the house, commissioners and other top government functionaries, who accompanied Governor Bello to Abeokuta.”
Fanwo said Buhari thanked the governor for his support and his leadership qualities.
Buhari also spoke with Obasanjo on the telephone to congratulate him on his 80th birthday.
Femi Adesina, special adviser to the president on media and publicity, revealed this in a statement, saying Buhari described the elder statesman as “a true citizen of the world.”
Buhari reportedly told Obasanjo that a time like this “provides opportunity to reflect on his invaluable roles and contributions to the unity and cohesion of Nigeria, the brotherhood of all Africans, as well as peace and amity over the globe.”
Recalling their days in the military, Buhari said, “Those of us who served under you in various capacities recall a man with boundless energy, with razor – sharp mind, and one who does not suffer fools gladly. Working with you was a school in itself, and the lessons learnt are worth their weight in gold.”
Obasanjo wished Buhari good health, saying he “stands together with him in prayers, so that he can return soon to continue the good work he is doing for the country.”
Since he left the country for the UK on January 19, Buhari has spoken with many leaders on telephone, while the presidency made details of the conversations public.
But Ayo Fayose, governor of Ekiti and a fierce critic of the president, described the conversations of the president from his UK location as a ruse, and taunted Buhari to call him.
Fayose, who released his telephone number to the public, said he is in the best position to tell Nigerians about the president’s true state of health.
“Since they are eager for the president to speak to people; believing in this way to convince Nigerians that their president is hale and hearty, let president Buhari talk to me. I can be reached on 08035024994. I am credible and Nigerians will believe me,” he had said in a statement issued on Sunday.
“Let the president speak with me. If I tell Nigerians that the president spoke with me, Nigerians will believe.”
First published on: The Cable, 06.03.17