Tinubu returns after 34 days

Tinubu returns after 34 days, dismisses ill-health rumours

The President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, on Monday, returned to the country after holidaying in Paris, France, for 34 days.

Tinubu who was accompanied by his wife, Remi and son, Seyi, arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport at 4.40 pm to a rousing welcome by All Progressives Congress governors, National Assembly leaders and scores of party loyalists.

The ex-Lagos State governor departed the country on March 21, a few weeks after he was declared the winner of the presidential election.

According to a statement by his media aide, Tunde Rahman, the trip would enable Tinubu to rest and plan his transition programme ahead of his inauguration on May 29.

 

Rahman added that the President-elect would also head to Saudi Arabia from Europe to partake in the Lesser Hajj and Ramadan fasting period.

Weeks after his departure, there were speculations that he was admitted to a hospital in France for an undisclosed ailment.

But addressing the mammoth crowd which thronged his Asokoro home, the president-elect debunked the rumour that he was rushed abroad for treatment, saying he was strong after his vacation.

Dressed in a flowing blue agbada, Tinubu was received at the airport by the Vice President-elect, Kashim Shettima; House of Representatives Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila; Governors Simon Lalong (Plateau); Abubakar Sani-Bello (Niger) and former Borno State Governor, Ali Modu Sheriff.

Others were former Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole; ex-Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu; APC Deputy National Chairman for North, Senator Abubakar Kyari; Deputy National Chairman for South, Emma Enekwu, and National Woman Leader, Dr Betta Edu.

There were also a considerable number of Senators such as Barau Jibril, Adeola Yayi, Opeyemi Bamidele, Dayo Adeyeye, Sabi Abdullahi and Adelere Oriolowo as well as the Director of Media and Publicity in the recently-dissolved Presidential Campaign Council, Bayo Onanuga.

Other loyalists at the airport included a former APC governorship aspirant in Ondo state, Chief Olusola Oke; former PCC member, Dr Ene Ogbole, and veteran actor, Zack Orji.

Prior to his arrival, Tinubu’s campaign office in the Central Business District was a beehive of activities on Monday morning as hundreds of party faithful rushed to get accredited in preparation for his arrival.

Party loyalists

As the accreditation of supporters and journalists commenced at about noon, stern-looking operatives were seen manning the entry and exit point of the campaign office.

Addressing the tumultuous crowd who followed him home from the airport, Tinubu urged them to ignore the speculations making the rounds in the last month that he was rushed abroad over alleged ill-health.

According to him, he left the country on March 21 for a vacation after a hectic campaign and election season.

He said, “I am happy to be back. I have rested, I’m refreshed and I’m ready for the task ahead. Forget about what the rumour mill may have told you. I’m strong, very strong.”

He also reassured that while in Paris, he never stopped working as he was ‘consulting and planning’ in order to put together a strong team so he could hit the ground running once he assumed office on May 29.

The former governor also teased his supporters and party loyalists, saying, “Allow me some rest, to eat Amala and sleep. Work will commence tomorrow.”

Meanwhile, a close ally of the president-elect and the Secretary of the defunct APC Presidential Campaign Council, James Faleke, disclosed that the former Lagos governor spent more of his time consulting with stakeholders.

He stated that the majority of the party faithful were excited to see him.

Continuing, the lawmaker representing Ikeja Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives disclosed that the campaign team lost a number of undisclosed supporters.

He said, “We are excited about his arrival. As you can see, everybody wanted to go to the airport to receive him. Why? Because there was a restriction at the presidential lounge. But those who had access to the place were at least happy to see him looking very refreshed and ready to actualize the ‘Renewed Hope’ campaign slogan.

“For me, I think that the president-elect had time to think over all the issues that we raised during the campaign and all the issues that are germane to Nigerians for the survival of this country.

“We give God the glory that he has come back to meet all of us. In between (when he travelled and returned), we lost some people and we pray that God will accept their souls.

“Remember that Asiwaju said that he has yet to finish consulting with the people. You know that he’s a man of consultation. Before the primaries, he consulted. Before the election, he repeated the same thing and he is still willing to consult. You know, nobody can fault Asiwaju when it comes to consultation.

“He’s not going to start telling you that I am consulting Mr this and that. I’m sure while he was there resting, he was also making consultations on issues and things that are before him that he wants to execute. I think that we should just wait until after May 29 to see how this agenda will roll out.”

In a related development, the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) on National Social Investment Programme, Ismaeel Ahmed, has berated critics speculating about the ill-health of the president-elect.

 

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