Tthree medical doctors today arrived in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, to attend to the ailing President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, SaharaReporters has learned.
The doctors, all British and Caucasian, are two males and one female, according to our highly placed source at the Presidency.
Mr. Buhari, who has not made any public appearance in two weeks, is described as greatly emaciated, according to two sources knowledgeable about his condition. Despite statements by the government a few days that the president had “resumed work,” Mr. Buhari remains holed up in his official residence.
Apprehension within the Presidential Villa about the president’s condition was heightened yesterday as the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, was seen moving a lot of documents out of the villa. Our sources said it was unclear why Mr. Kyari made the move to take away documents to an unknown location.
A Presidency source told SaharaReporters that the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) has set up a “safe house” in Abuja where Mr. Buhari is being treated by a relay of mostly foreign doctors.
Even though President Buhari and his aides have refused to divulge the nature of his ailment, SaharaReporters learned several months ago that the Nigerian leader is ravaged by Crohn’s Disease, an intestinal disorder. He is also known to have prostate issues as well as age-related disorders, including early-stage dementia. Mr. Buhari’s official age is listed as 74, but he is widely believed to be much older.
One of our sources disclosed that Mr. Buhari was slated to leave Nigeria on May 10 for another medical trip to Britain. However, the arrival today of a new set of medical doctors to attend to him might be a further attempt by a cabal of some of his closest associates to frustrate his departure from Nigeria. Members of the cabal controlling events around the President include the Director General of the Directorate of State Security (DSS), Lawal Daura, Mr. Buhari’s powerful nephew, Mamman Daura, his Personal Secretary, Tunde “Idiagbon” Sabiu, a businessman, Isa Funtua, Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, and Babagana Kingibe, a former Secretary to the Government who was the running mate to Moshood Kashimawo Abiola, the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election.
Some members of the Buhari administration accuse the cabal of opposing Mr. Buhari’s foreign medical trip for fear that his absence would cost them political influence.
SaharaReporters learned that no “advance team” of aides has yet left Nigeria to prepare for Mr. Buhari’s arrival in London, another sign that members of the president’s inner circle, who pull the strings in his administration, continue to oppose such a trip.
In an apparent attempt to reduce pressure on themselves, the cabal last week allowed Mr. Buhari’s wife, Aisha, to have access to funds to cater for her husband. They also persuaded her to draft a series of tweets asserting that the president’s health was not as bad as perceived. However, our sources described Aisha Buhari and other family members as frustrated over Mr. Buhari’s slow pace of recuperation.
In addition, the president’s aides arranged for Mr. Buhari to make phone calls to a number of persons, including businessman Aliko Dangote and some political aides and friends. However, sources close to some of the recipients of the phone calls said the calls did not last more than 30 seconds each.
On Monday, Attorney General Abubakar Malami and the Group Managing Director of Nigeria’s National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Baru Maikanti, claimed they held extensive meetings with Mr. Buhari to discuss a range of issues. However, no videos or photographs were produced of the ostensible meetings. Twenty-four hours after Mr. Malami claimed he had met the president, Mr. Buhari failed to attend the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, the fourth consecutive time he was absent at the gathering where a number of policy initiatives are discussed. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who presided at the meeting, apologized for Mr. Buhari’s absence, telling ministers that the president could not make it to the meeting because his doctors had advised him to “rest.”
There is growing concern in Nigeria that the secrecy around Mr. Buhari’s condition, as dictated by the powerful cabal close to the president, is reminiscent of the political manipulations orchestrated by a cabal around former President Umaru Yar’Adua who died on May 5, 2010. Whilst Mr. Yar’Adua lay comatose in a Saudi hospital, then First Lady Turai Yar’Adua led a coalition of associates who insisted that the gravely ill ruler was ably running Nigeria’s affairs remotely from his hospital bed.
Many Nigerians now fear that the cabal around Mr. Buhari could plunge Nigeria into crisis by making questionable decisions in the name of a president who may not even be consulted on the decisions.
One analyst stated that Mr. Buhari’s elusiveness and “rule from a remote location” was also eerily similar to the case of former Governor Danbaba Suntai of Taraba State. Mr. Suntai, who sustained critical physical and mental injuries when an aircraft he was piloting crashed, spent a long period in German and US hospitals. Despite Mr. Suntai’s extensive brain damage, a cabal led by General Theophilus Danjuma (rtd) kept him in office for a long time, claiming that he was fit enough to run Taraba State from abroad and later from secret locations even though he’d become incapacitated by the air crash.