President Muhammadu Buhari’s two-week medical vacation in London, the United Kingdom (UK), does not require the transfer of power to Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, it was learnt yesterday.
The President left Abuja at 4 p.m and arrived in London around 8.50 p.m yesterday.
Ahead of the trip, he had met with Senate President Ahmad Lawan, House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi, among top government officials.
He also met with the service chiefs yesterday before he left the country for the medical trip.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said President Buhari did not need to transmit power to Prof. Osinbajo during the two-week trip.
Shehu said the President did not contravene the laws of the land by not transmitting power to Osinbajo for the period.
“He (Buhari) will continue from wherever he is. The requirement of the law is that if the President is going to be absent in the country for 21 days and more, then that transmission is warranted. In this particular instance, it is not warranted,” he said.
The presidential aide noted that there was no emergency in President Buhari’s medical trip, adding that it was a routine check-up.
Also, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) have said the President’s routine medical check-ups abroad showed the failure of the nation’s healthcare system under his administration.
The PDP in particular said the development is a direct indictment of the Presidency, which it said had failed to fix the comatose healthcare system.
In a statement yesterday in Abuja by its spokesman Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP expressed worry that under President Buhari, even the hitherto highly rated State House Clinic has become so moribund that it cannot provide a simple medical checkup for the President.
The statement said: “The PDP is disturbed that while Mr. President jets out for medical treatment in well-equipped hospitals abroad, our hospitals and medical personnel are in very sorry situation, while millions of our compatriots suffer, with many dying on a daily basis from conditions that have simple medical solutions.
“It is indeed heartrending that Nigerians are suffering this huge misfortune of having this highly insensitive, incompetent and corrupt leadership of very selfish individuals who do not care about the welfare of other citizens.”
“More saddening is that all the institutions, policies and programmes established by the PDP, which hitherto ensured access to affordable healthcare for Nigerians, have been wrecked by the Buhari administration.”
HURIWA described as “shameful and regrettable the decision of President Buhari to continue to travel to London at serious costs to the taxpayers to take care of his personal health needs”.
A joint statement yesterday by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, and the National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, said the President’s medical trips abroad did not show a good example.
The organisation reminded the Presidency that Health Minister, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, on December 7, 2020 in Abuja unveiled Nigeria’s nine-point, medium-term health sector roadmap which he said was guided by the President’s “Health Sector Next Level Agenda” of 2019.
“But as at today, what this frequent foreign health tourism by President Buhari shows is that he has no definite roadmap for fixing the public healthcare sector…
“This is absolutely intolerable and unacceptable,” HURIWA said.
By Gbade Ogunwale, Abuja Gbenga Omokhunu Abuja and Tajudeen Adebanjo