Nigeria: President Muhammadu Buhari's return dominates front pages in Nigeria

Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - The return  of President Muhammadu Buhari after 51 days in London was the main story in Nigeria this week.

Buhari left Nigeria on 19 January, initially on a 10-day vacation during which, according to official sources, he would seek routine medical attention.

This vacation extended due to the advice by his doctors that he should undergo further medical tests. Immediately, his political opponents, using the social media to telling effect, went to work - many saying he had died. His return on Friday put paid to such speculations.

Writing under the headline "Buhari Returns, Lands in Kaduna, Choppered to Presidential Villa", THISDAY newspaper said President Muhammadu Buhari arrived the country Friday at about 7:45 a.m., 51 days after he left the country on a medical vacation.

Quoting presidency sources, the paper said "Owing to the closure of the Abuja, his plane was scheduled to land at the Kaduna airport in the wee hours of Friday, following which he was to be flown by helicopter to the President Villa, Abuja. The sources also revealed that the president might address the nation to quell any concerns over his capacity to govern.

The paper said the news of his return Friday was broken Thursday night in a statement by his media aide, Mr. Femi Adesina.

According to him, the president expressed gratitude to the generality of Nigerians in all parts of the country and beyond who supported him in their prayers and good wishes while he was away.

The NATION newspaper screamed "Aisha renews love for President, presents hubby with Gardenias flowers", reporting that unknown to many Nigerians, the First Lady, Hajiya Aisha Buhari, on Friday presented Gardenias flowers to her hubby, President Muhammadu Buhari, to welcome him  back.

The flowers were handed over to the President at the private lounge of their residence at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, by the First Lady who spotted a Navy blue dress which was laced with stones.

Those who witnessed the symbolic ceremony were the wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo, the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs.Winifred Oyo-Ita, the Senior Special Assistant to the First Lady, Mrs. Hajo Sani; one of the daughters of the President; and the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, Alh. Abdulazeez Yari, and the wives of some governors.

The President, who was caught unawares by the rare present, was beaming with smiles to the admiration of all.

According to a celebrated florist, Michael Gaffney, Gardenias is “ loaded with fragrance”, adding “These elegant flowers signify purity and joy, and connote deep, old-fashioned love. The man who buys these likely has a history with the woman he’s buying them for. Because they’re pricey and are sold as single blooms…”

Apart from the flower scene, Hajiya Aisha openly shook hands with the President and hugged him when she sighted her husband.

In its second headline on the story, the NATION said "‘I can’t recall being this ill'", with the riders "President to transmit letter to NASS Monday" and "To return to UK ‘within some weeks for follow up’."

According to the paper, "After a 50-day extended medical vacation in the United Kingdom, President Muhammadu Buhari returned to Nigeria Friday, saying he could not recollect being this sick in his 74 years on earth."

He had originally planned to be away for 18 days but ended up spending 36 days more, undergoing tests, receiving  treatment and resting.

“I couldn’t recall being so sick since I was a young man, including the military with its ups and downs,” Buhari told ministers and state governors at a reception for him in Abuja moments after his arrival via Kaduna.

He did not reveal the ailment he was treated for, but confirmed that he got blood transfusion during the vacation.

He hinted that he would be returning abroad “within some weeks” for further follow up.

Buhari said that the poor state of the economy occupied his thoughts even in his sick bed. “I am very conscious of the economy. I have rested as much as humanly possible, I have received, I think, the best of treatment I could receive,” he said as he shared his experience in the UK with the audience, including Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

The NATION's third headline was "President’s return has re-energised the nation — Tambuwal". The paper said the return of President Buhari from a 50-day medical vacation abroad has re-energized the nation and has renewed the confidence Nigerians have in their President. It was quoting the Sokoto State governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal.

Speaking Friday in Sokoto on the significance of the President’s return, the governor said the unbridled joy shown by many people across the nation showed that the country is united in their love for the President.

“Nigerians from all walks of life prayed for their President, now that God has answered their prayers, culminating in the  safe return of the President, we should continue to pray for him and his family.

“The President has said he wants a few days of rest until he writes to the National Assembly before resuming work, he deserves that extra days and we should continue to pray for him and for the nation."

The SUN reported that there was jubilation on Friday across the country, especially Katsina, Kaduna, Borno, Enugu, Jos, the Plateau State capital as President Buhari returned to the country.

Many of his admirers and well wishers had earlier gone to Kaduna Airport in hope that his aircraft would land there, but the few ones who got the information that his destination was the NAF base, found their way there, arriving as early as 5am despite the early mourning harmattan.

Although many of these missed sighting him disembark from the plane, they kept on hailing at an official convoy: “Baba Oyoyo, Baba Oyoyo” which, means, “Baba welcome, Baba welcome”, when Buhari had already been choppered to Abuja.

The president reportedly avoided Kaduna airport because the VIP lounge of the airport, also known as the presidential wing, was still undergoing reconstruction at the time flights were diverted from Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

The Air Force plane that conveyed the president, registered No N5 FGT, landed at the Air Force base tarmac at exactly 7.47am.

Other headlines on the president's return were - PUNCH  - "Well-wishers slaughter rams as Buhari returns from medical vacation"; SUN - "My London story – Buhari"; and NIGERIAN TRIBUNE - "Buhari’s return: Pro-Buhari Group lashes back at critics".
-0- PANA VAO 11March2017

11 march 2017 05:43:44

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