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25 Jul 2017

PDP governors, others to visit President Buhari

Governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party are among six governors who are scheduled to leave Nigeria today to visit President Muhammadu Buhari in London, The PUNCH learnt in Abuja on Monday night.

It was gathered that the visit was being organised by the office of the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Munguno (retd.).

It was not clear if the NSA was responsible for the governors who were picked for the trip.

Our correspondent learnt that the six governors were picked from the six geo-political zones of the country.

Listed among the six governors are Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom), Dave Umahi (Ebonyi), Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara), and Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo).

The four governors are from the South-South, South-East, North-West and South-West respectively.

Our correspondent could not verify the identities of the two other governors, who are expected to come from the North-East and North-Central.

A governor, who is not among those travelling to see Buhari, said those chosen for the journey were picked outside what he described as the Nigeria Governors’ Forum.

He added that he was surprised when he heard about the journey from one of his counterparts, stating that if the secretariat and the governors had been contacted, the governors would have picked at least one of the PDP governors that had been critical of the President.

He said, “Our colleagues are going to London to see the President.  But I’m not happy that someone like the Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, or his Rivers State counterpart, Mr. Nyesom Wike, is not on the delegation.

“Though there are PDP governors on the delegation, we know ourselves and also know those we know are truly part of the opposition and those close to the ruling All Progressives Congress.

“The governors had been directed to be at the Presidential Wing of the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, tomorrow (Tuesday). From there, they will fly to the United Kingdom.”

The governors are expected to have lunch with the President before returning to the country on Wednesday.

A governor, who spoke on condition of anonymity with The PUNCH on Monday night, confirmed that some governors mooted the idea, but said he would not want to speak on the planned visit.

“Yes, they mentioned it (visit); some APC governors mooted the idea but I don’t want to say anything on that for now,” the governor stated.

Buhari, who is currently receiving medical treatment in London, the United Kingdom, had, on Sunday, hosted the APC’s National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, and four state governors inside the Abuja House in the British capital.

The release of the photograph of the meeting, the first of such since the President left the country on May 7, raised hope that Buhari might soon return to the country.

No date yet for Buhari’s return

Meanwhile, despite the meeting he held with some APC state governors on Sunday, no date has been fixed for Buhari’s return to the country, The PUNCH learnt on Monday.

But investigations by one of our correspondents showed that no date had yet been fixed for the President’s return.

Sources, who spoke with one of our correspondents, said although the President’s health had improved tremendously, his return date was still in the hands of his doctors.

“The President made it clear in his letter to the National Assembly that the duration of his stay in London would be determined by his doctor. That has not changed. He must get a clean bill of health before he returns,” one of the sources said.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, confirmed this in an interview with The PUNCH.

When asked to say specifically when Buhari was due back in the country in view of the latest development, Adesina said, “I am not a doctor and even if I am, it is clear that I am not part of the team that is attending to the President.

“His date of return will be decided by that medical team.”

Adesina also confirmed to one of our correspondents that the Sunday meeting was just one among other meetings Buhari would have with individuals before returning to the country.

He said, “More meetings are coming; there will be broader ones. That Sunday meeting was just the beginning.”

The presidential spokesman added that the Presidency was not in any way disturbed by the two cases instituted in court seeking to compel the Federal Executive Council to declare Buhari incapacitated and asking Senate President Bukola Saraki to constitute a medical panel on Buhari’s health condition.

“We are in a democracy; it is their (plaintiffs’) right. The court will determine the case on its merit,” Adesina said.

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