The Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, Monday faulted an article written by a Nigerian historian, Max Siollun, titled: ‘The Gentleman’s Agreement that Could Break Apart Nigeria,’ published in the United States-based Foreign Policy magazine.
The article had stated that Nigeria faced imminent political and constitutional crises on account of Buhari’s absence from the country owing to his ill health and consequent medical vacation in London.
Shehu who described the article as “needlessly sensational and exaggerated speculation by conspiracy theorists,” said it was misleading to compare Buhari’s case with that of the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in 2009, insisting that the two circumstances are not the same.
He said unlike Yar’Adua, Buhari duly complied with constitutional provisions by formally notifying the National Assembly of his intention to go for medical treatment and consequently handing over to his deputy, Professor Yemi Osinbajo as acting president.
“While Yar’Adua was too severely ill to transmit a letter formally to the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, President Buhari is not in such medical state, and therefore, the country is not currently facing any complications on account of his absence,” he stated.
He also argued that in the case of Yar’Adua, there was uncertainty about the role of the then vice-president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, following the inability of the former to transfer power to the latter, a situation he said necessitated the adoption of the doctrine of necessity to enable Jonathan act in his absence.
Arguing that none of such circumstances is currently at play on account of Buhari’s absence, having transferred power formally to Osinbajo, Shehu said Buhari did not leave Nigeria with any power vacuum, adding that any insinuation of uncertainty or constitutional crisis is both imaginary and exaggerated.
Furthermore, he said with Osinbajo smoothly running the affairs of the country in the absence of Buhari, creating needless fears of crisis or uncertainty, should be avoided as he appealed “to conspiracy theorists not to pollute the polity by needlessly seeking to create an atmosphere of fear, uncertainty and suspicions in the country,” moreso that Buhari publicly admitted that he was sick and taking treatment.