By Samuel Ogundipe
The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the upcoming general elections, General Muhammadu Buhari (Rtd), has returned to Nigeria from his two-week-long trip to the United Kingdom, WESTERN POST authoritatively gathered Thursday.
He returned on Wednesday night and was transported to a secret location in Abuja, say WP sources.
General Buhari reportedly left Nigeria from Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, on the 19th of February and has been rarely seen in public since then. On Thursday, February 26, he made a high profile appearance at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House), London, and has not been publicly sighted thereafter.
“General Buhari returned to the country last night from London but his whereabouts are unknown right now,” the source told WP from Abuja. “This is an open secret in the APC inner circles.”
General Buhari’s trip to the United Kingdom was billed by the party as a “working visit,” but that has not stopped some major voices within the ruling Peoples Democratic Party from turning it into a controversy.
Prominent amongst the skeptics is Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose who insists the candidate is in London because he required urgent medical attention.
“I still believe that General Muhammadu Buhari, who has not been seen in public since his Chatham House speech last week, is receiving treatment in a London hospital,” the governor said in a statement this week.
Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, however, denied that his party’s 2015 choice is back into the country.
In a telephone interview with the Post on Thursday evening, Mr. Mohammed said, “There’s no way Buhari will return to the country that I won’t know,” adding that the septuagenarian former Head of State “cannot be secretly smuggled into Nigeria.”
When he was reminded that the retired general left the country without fanfare or any prior notification to Nigerians, Mohammed said, “It’s simply not true, you people should just ask me when the man will be coming back. He’s not in the country.”
Speaking in the same vein, Hon. James Faleke, the Lagos State Coordinator of the Buhari-Osinbajo Presidential Campaign, said the news is “just not true.”
But our source said the general is back in the country and is in fact not as healthy as he used to be.
“Buhari has returned since Wednesday, March 4, or yesterday, and some of them don’t know for real so you can’t blame them, but he’s back, although he’s not as healthy as he used to be,” the source said. “We’ve asked the leadership of our party to come out and tell Nigerians about the true state of health of the aging candidate, but they’ve so far refused to heed the warnings of dissenters.”