It is now 81 days since Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, returned to the country from the United Kingdom – where he went for medical vacation – and he is still yet to use his office in the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.
But the Presidency had earlier said that the situation has not in any way hindered the President from performing his duties as the supreme leader of Africa’s most powerful nation.
Buhari, who had departed Nigeria on May 7 for another round of medical treatment in London for an undisclosed ailment, had arrived the country on August 19 to a wild jubilation from Nigerians after spending over 103 days in the UK.
Upon arrival, the President, however, refused to commence official assignments on Monday, August 21, from his desk; preferring to use an auxiliary office attached to his residence.
The development generated worries and curiosity among Nigerians, with some expressing fear that the President had not recuperated enough to resume work.
In a bid to quell the curiosity, the Presidency later issued a statement explaining that Mr. Buhari was staying away from the office due to ongoing repair works.
Femi Adesina, the presidential spokesperson, at that time, said: “The regular office needs some renovation because the 103 days of absence” caused “some deterioration”.
Another of Mr. Buhari’s media aides, Garba Shehu, said the development became necessary due to the devastation done to the office by rodents during his long period of absence – an excuse Nigerians largely found amusing.
“Following the three months period of disuse, rodents have caused a lot of damage to the furniture and the air conditioning units,” Mr. Shehu had said.
Although he didn’t confirm when the renovation would be completed, the presidential spokesperson had stated that the maintenance company had been asked to speed up its pace of work.
However, it is now 81 days after the president resumed work but he is still said to be operating from outside of his official seat.
Speaking to Premium Times on the matter, sources in the presidency have blamed the development on spiritual reasons, adding that Buhari’s absence from his office can not be unconnected to his tortuous health challenges.
The insiders revealed that the spiritualists – who worked on the president’s condition – advised against his use of the office.
“You know the man was actually bewitched. All these rumours about this or that illness are just guess works. No one was sure, not even the doctors,” said a close aide of Mr. Buhari who preferred anonymity.
“The trip to London in May was unscheduled and all the checks done, including in Germany, revealed nothing. We had to resort to prayers,” he said.
The source further added that Mr. Buhari’s office and other parts of the villa are “undergoing spiritual cleansing to avert any recurrence in the future”.