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Sunday, 19 March 2017

RECOVERY: PRESIDENT SCALES DOWN ITINERARY



President Muhammadu Buhari's handlers have scaled down his itinerary drastically to allow him more time to rest, SUNDAY PUNCH can authoritatively report.
Buhari had penultimate Friday returned to the country after spending 49 days in London, the United Kingdom on a medical vacation.

Shortly after he returned, the President, who told Nigerians that he had never been that sick, said Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo would continue working while he continued his rest.

Our correspondent observed that Buhari reduced the time he spent in his office throughout his first week of resumption to between three and four hours.

Throughout the week, no appointment was scheduled for the President outside his office, except for the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting, which he presided over on Wednesday, and his brief appearance at the National Economic Council meeting on Thursday.
The two events were held in the Council Chambers located about 50 metres from his office.

Buhari has also not attended any event outside the Presidential Villa since his resumption.

"As you can see, almost all the President's engagements for the week were held inside his office. That was designed to allow him to rest. Hopefully, from the coming week, the President may participate in more activities," an official who spoke on condition of anonymity said.

Before he fell sick and travelled, our correspondent reported that Buhari only returned to his official residence from his office after he had taken part in the 4pm prayers in a mosque near his office.
But throughout the week, Buhari did not take part in either the 1.30pm or 4pm prayers before leaving the office.
No engagement was scheduled for him on Friday, when the President only participated in the Jumat service.
Another source said Buhari was still working from home.

"That the President returned to his residence earlier than he had been doing does not necessarily mean that he will go to sleep as soon as he returns home," another source said.

On Monday, for instance, our correspondent reported that Buhari did not resume in his office until about 11am and he left about three hours after. It was the same routine on Tuesday.
During the brief period he spent in the office, he also received a briefing from Osinbajo.

The President received a briefing from the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, and thereafter met with the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, before returning to his residence.
Buhari had a single-item agenda for both Wednesday and Thursday.
On Wednesday, he presided over the Federal Executive Council meeting that started at about 10.01am, and lasted about two-and-a-half hours and he returned to his residence shortly thereafter.

On Thursday, he made a brief appearance at the NEC meeting at about 12.30pm. He returned home after addressing the state governors.

When contacted on Saturday, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said, "When a man just returns from a medical vacation, common sense dictates that he eases himself gradually into a schedule that is naturally rigorous."

When further asked whether scaling down of the President's activities as a result of his health status was not an indication that he is no longer fit enough to continue to discharge his responsibilities, the presidential spokesman said Buhari himself had answered the question.

He said, "The answer to your question has been given by the President himself. On the day he came, he vowed to rededicate himself to serving Nigerians, and when governors met him on Thursday, one of them asked him to do the minimum, so that he can serve Nigeria for a longer time. He responded by saying it is time to repay those who elected him into office by working harder for them."
-Punch
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