By Our Correspondents
After spending about 103 days in the United Kingdom on medical vacation, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday returned to the country.
His aircraft, Nigerian Air Force 001, touched down at the presidential wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja at about 4:35pm.
Buhari alighted from the aircraft 17 minutes later, amidst cheers from his supporters whose chorus of Sai Baba reverberated the Abuja airport.
His wife, Aisha who had joined him in London as he was recuperating was not seen with him at the airport.
Without bothering to inspect the guards of honour as is the tradition, the president moved straight to shake hands with dignitaries who had lined up at the airport to receive him.
They included Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mohammed Bello and service chiefs. Among the governors who were also on ground to receive him were Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara), Muhammed Abubakar (Bauchi), Abubakar Bello (Niger), Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi) and Barnabas Bala, deputy governor of Kaduna.
Babagana Monguno, National Security Adviser and Lawal Daura, Director-General, Department of State Security (DSS) and other top government aides were also on ground to receive the president.
Buhari opted to drive from the airport to the presidential villa against speculations that he would be conveyed by a chopper that was already strategically parked at the presidential wing.
Though the president’s return was announced only on Saturday morning through a press statement by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, his teeming supporters were able to mobilize themselves to line up at the airport road to cheer his convoy.
It took the effort of security personnel who were able to control the mammoth crowd that almost blocked the airport road to get the president to Aso Rock in good time.
Adesina had noted in the statement that the president will address the nation on Monday upon official resumption of duty.
LEADERSHIP Sunday gathered that issues bordering on hate speech, the quit notice issued Igbos living in the North and the growing agitations for secession that overheat the polity, while dominating the country’s public space in his absence are some of the major things the president will address in his broadcast at 7:00am tomorrow.
The medical vacation to United Kingdom which took the President away for more than hundred days was the second he had embarked on this year.
Before his surprise return on Saturday, there had been mounting protest by citizens both at home and abroad that he either resumed work or resigned his position as president.
When asked if the protest by Charly Boy was responsible for the president’s return, Adesina said the return of the president had nothing to do with the protest, adding that it was about continuing with the work he started.
“Some of us knew about his return some days back. Remember that the acting President held on effectively and they will continue the work together. We left the work of announcement with the managers of the acting president.
Buhari’s Recovery Hope Nigeria Will Recover– Osinbajo
On his part, Vice President Osinbajo said from the many Nigerians who lined up on the road to receive the president as he came back, it was clear that many Nigerians are happy that the president is hale and hearty and that he has come back.
He said, “It was a natural reaction; most people heard of his arrival only a few hours before then, but as you can see, the response was so spontaneous. So, I think that people were so excited and very happy.
“Oh, the message to Nigerians is that the recovery and recuperation of the president is in some sense symbolic of the recovery of Nigeria. Nigeria is going to recover. We are on the path of strong economic recovery and this is an excellent sign that the country is on the right side. There is great hope, there is great excitement and we are going to make it as a nation.
APC, PDP, ACF, Saraki, Dogara, Others Welcome President
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday welcomed the President Muhammdu Buhari to the country after his medical vacation to the United kingdom.
The party also thanked Vice President Yemi Osinbajo for what it termed “his competent leadership in uniting the nation while the President was away”.
In a statement signed by the party’s national publicity secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, the party thanked Nigerians for their ceaseless prayers.
The statement reads in part: “The APC welcomes the President, His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari, back home to the country after his medical vacation to the United Kingdom.
“The Party thanks the Vice President, His Excellency Prof. Yemi Osinbajo for his competent leadership in the absence of President Buhari and especially commends him for his effort to unite the country and drive the recovery of the national economy.
“The APC also thanks all Nigerians who had prayed ceaselessly for the speedy recovery and safe return of the President, assuring them that the APC-led Federal Government is poised to fulfill all the electoral promises the Party made to Nigerians”.
Also, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday welcomed President Buhari back to the country, expressing believe that he is now healthier to preside over the country.
A statement by the national publicity secretary of the PDP, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, also prayed God to grant the president better health and understanding to rescue the poor economy and relieve Nigerians from the current hardship.
The statement noted: “The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) joins other Nigerians to welcome back the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mohammadu Buhari from his medical sojourn in London for over three months.
“The President departed Nigeria on 7th of May, 2017 for an ailment and returned today being August 19, 2017. We believe that Mr. President is healthier now to assume his responsibility at the helm of the Country’s affairs.
“We thank the Almighty for saving his life and pray that He grants him better health and understanding on how to rescue our poor economy and relieve Nigerians from the current hardship.”
Senate President Bukola Saraki yesterday welcomed President Muhammadu Buhari back to Nigeria, thanking God for the safe return and recovery of the president.
In a statement signed by his special adviser on media and publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki reaffirmed the commitment of the National Assembly to continue working alongside the president in achieving objectives aimed at improving the standard of living of Nigerians and overall development of the country.
He said, “I thank Almighty Allah for bringing President Muhammadu Buhari back whole, hale and hearty. I am thoroughly delighted that President Buhari has returned home after his medical vacation.
“I was privileged to have met him twice in London during the period of the vacation. After our first meeting, I told Nigerians there was no cause for alarm. After our recent lengthy meeting on Thursday this week, I informed Nigerians that Mr. President’s return home was imminent.
“In all, we must thank Almighty God for sparing all our lives and granting Mr. President a most remarkable recovery. His return marks a new lease of life for this administration. I am confident that Mr. President will resume with even more vigour to pursue an economic agenda that will improve the welfare of all Nigerians. In this vein, Mr. President should seize this opportunity to further consolidate and strengthen his team in order to meet the challenges ahead”.
Also, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, welcomed President Buhari back to the country after three months of medical vacation in the United Kingdom.
Dogara, in a statement signed by his media aide, Turaki Hassan, expressed gratitude to God for granting the president healing and journey mercies back home.
Dogara noted that the president’s recovery and safe return home attests to the healing power of God owing to the fervent prayers of Nigerians who prayed day and night for the President.
He said, “It is now time for us all to continue to pray for the President for the perfection of the healing and divine rejuvenation to enable Mr. President steer the affairs of the Nation in the right direction.
“On our part, the House of Representatives wish to assure Mr. President of our determination, support and commitment towards delivering on our promises to the Nigerian people as members of the same government. Mr. President can always count on our support in this regard”.
Govs Assure Nigerians Of Better Future With PMB’s Arrival
Also, speaking to State House correspondents, the governor of Zamfara State and chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Abdullazeez Yari, said this was the moment that Nigerians had been waiting for over 90 days.
He said, “We as governors that paid him a visit, what we saw the first time we reported to Nigerians. Nigerians will see for themselves. We pray to God to give the president good health and for him to continue to manage the economy.
“It will impact seriously because it is just like a body when the head is cut off. The body will not make any meaningful achievement.
“The fact that he has a vibrant Vice President who can work effectively when he is not around does not mean you can compare the difference between when he is around and when the two of them are around. It will impact on the economy and it will impact on the security, it means so many things will change’.
On his part, Kano State governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, said Nigerians are happy saying “we are happy; we did say when we visited that he was doing better and will soon return”.
He added that the president’s return will impact on the socio economic activities in the country because the number one decision maker is now around.
He said, “He and his deputy will take decision together and things will be done in a quicker way. We will see improvement.
“When asked how it will impact on the economy,he said “It impact on security there is no doubt about the because there are certain decision you know the Acting President will have to communicate him but now that he is coming back that would no longer be necessary”.
On his part, Rivers State Nyesom Wike said, “We are happy, that he is alive and that is why l am here today to rejoice with the family. We should not play politics with everything.
“We are here talking about health and irrespective of the party l belongs to, you can see that l am here today to rejoice with the family. That is what it is supposed to be. Don’t play politics with health issues; don’t do that. So, irrespective of what is going on out there, one is happy to be here”.
Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello said, “Today, you can see the faces of Nigerians right from the airport. We now have the Captain on ground; the citizens should also continue to pray for him. We are now ready to take off fully and we believe that everything is now alright and that is why people are so happy today. As I said, we will continue to pray for our president and the country generally”.
Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State also congratulated and commended Nigerians for their steadfastness in prayers and moral support to the president while he was away.
Above all, the governor thanked God for bringing the President back to Nigeria hale and hearty, saying that God has answered the prayers of Nigerians and friends of Nigerians across the globe by healing and returning President Buhari home in better health.
Governor Massri was “particularly thankful to and appreciative of Katsina State
Kwara state governor, Alh Abdulfatah Ahmed, also rejoiced with all Nigerians over the return of President Buhari from his medical vacation.
Ahmed, in a statement by his chief press secretary, Abdulwahab Oba, thanked Almighty Allah for the quick recovery of the President and wished him continuous protection.
“I am delighted that Mr. President has fully recovered and ready to continue to deliver on the campaign promises of our party by improving on the economy, fighting corruption and strengthening security”, the governor said.
PMB’s Return Has Restored Hope In Good Governance – DYC
Meanwhile, the Democratic Youth Congress (DYC) for Buhari yesterday joined millions of Nigerians in welcoming the president after 103 days medical vacation abroad.
Addressing journalists in Abuja, the national chairman of the group, Hon. Kassim Mohammad Kassim, said Buhari’s safe return to the country has restored hope in millions of Nigerians for a better Nigeria.
He said millions of Nigerians who defied the old order to bring Buhari onboard as a Messiah to lay a new foundation for the future of the country will remain hopeful, supportive and resolute on the Buhari change agenda.
Kassim, who is also a member of the Nasarawa state House of Assembly representing Akwanga south constituency, urged Nigerians to disregard the evil machinations of a few who do not wish the country well and join forces in building a more prosperous country.
His words: “We in the DYC know that God, who brought President Buhari when our country was at the verge of collapse, will not leave his people without a worthy leader at such a critical point”.
The DYC expressed appreciation to millions of Nigerians who prayed fervently for the health of Mr. President, assuring that Buhari’s commitment to rewriting the nation’s history in the interest of the common man remains unshakable.
Kassim also expressed confidence that the myriads of issues heating the polity will soon be a thing of the past, even as he lauded the vice president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo for his astute leadership style that ensured the continuity of the change agenda.
PMB’s Return, A Nation’s Hope Fulfilled – Tinubu
Also, a leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, yesterday expressed joy at the return of President Buhari to the country, saying the president’s return is a nation’s hope fulfilled.
In a statement by his media office, Tinubu who is at present abroad said Buhari had always been a man of moral fortitude, discipline, strength and dedication.
According to him, the attributes had helped him battle medical challenges. “These same attributes will lead him to success in surmounting our national challenges”, he said.
The statement further reads: “President Buhari’s return home is our prayers answered. President Buhari has always been a man of moral fortitude, discipline, strength and dedication. These attributes have helped him battle medical challenges. These same attributes will lead him to success in surmounting our national challenges.
“President Buhari has demonstrated time and again his devotion to this nation and its great causes. His love of country and the realization that he has a mission to fulfil so that Nigeria may realize its better self by providing security and prosperity to all Nigerians has compelled him home”.
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