ABUJA, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) — A jubilant crowd welcomed Nigerian leader Muhammadu Buhari to the nation’s capital Abuja on Saturday, after his medical vacation in London for more than three months.
Buhari was officially received by his vice-president, Yemi Osinbajo, who functioned as Acting President when he was on vacation. Other top government officials also joined in welcoming the president at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja. The president left the country on May 7, after handing over power to Osinbajo. The 74-year-old Nigerian leader received the latest medical attention two months after his return from a similar medical vacation, the same day he received 82 Chibok Girls freed by Boko Haram. While in London, Buhari was visited by a number of Nigerian officials, beginning with the vice-president, who first hinted Nigerians about the president’s good recovery.
Buhari, a retired Army General, had also told his visitors that there was a tremendous improvement in his health, but he has learned to obey doctor’s orders, rather than be the one issuing the orders. “I feel I could go home, but the doctors are in charge. I’ve now learned to obey orders, rather than be obeyed,” he recently told his visiting media team in London. Abuja, the Nigerian capital city, was set agog ahead of the president’s arrival. Many Nigerians trooped out of the major road leading to the Presidential Palace to catch a glimpse of their beloved leader. The road leading to the main airport was not left out of the frenzy either. Upon his arrival at the airport, a short ceremony was held for Buhari. He inspected a guard of honor and proceeded to a waiting vehicle which conveyed him to the Presidential Palace.
The Presidential Palace was all activities as staff and security personnel were seen making last-minute preparations to receive Buhari. Other itinerary members of staff in the Presidency were also on standby, while security vehicles and personnel attached to the president’s convoy left earlier for the airport to receive the president. Buhari’s absence had sparked off protests both in Nigeria and London with some asking for his resumption or resignation.
The nature of the president’s protracted illness is not yet known. In June 2016, Buhari had traveled to London to check an ear infection. The Nigerian leader is expected to speak to citizens in a broadcast by 7 a.m. Monday.