President's illness allegedly worsens as IBB, Obasanjo, Abdulsalam step in
President Buhari's failing health has left the nation on tenterhooks. It's 2010 all over again.
President Muhammadu Buhari's health challenge has worsened, top Aso Villa officials have disclosed to Pulse.
The Nigerian leader returned home on March 10, 2017, after spending some 50 days in the United Kingdom.
What was supposed to be a short leave period soon morphed into a full blown medical vacation.
"I can't recall being so sick in my life", Buhari said upon his return.
Since his return, the Nigerian Presidency has been managing information concerning the President's health, while ensuring that nothing unauthorised is given away.
Buhari has missed two of the last three federal executive council meetings.
The President was also absent from Friday prayers last week and skipped the wedding of his grandson and aide.
Buhari was also conspicuously missing from the nation's May Day celebration in the capital city.
"All is not well here", one top ranking Villa official told Pulse while craving anonymity for this story because he hadn't been authorised to comment on the subject. "Baba needs the prayers of all Nigerians", he added.
Buhari has looked gaunt, frail and shorn of colour on the few occasions he's been seen in public recently.
There are reports that the Nigerian leader is battling a prostate cancer condition, however, Pulse hasn't been able to independently verify those.
The signs that all hasn't been well with Buhari gained currency recently when APC chieftain Bisi Akande said the President is being held hostage by a cabal.
"The greatest danger, however, is for political interests at the corridor of power attempting to feast on the health of Mr. President in a dangerous manner that may aggravate the problems between the executive and the national assembly without realising if, in the end, it could drag the entire country into avoidable doom", Akande, a former chairman of the APC, said.
Akande and former Lagos Governor Bola Tinubu, were among the first set of Nigerians to visit Buhari in February, during the latter's medical sojourn in London.
Akande added that: "Let me warn today that those who wish to harvest political gains out of the health of the President are mistaken. This is not Nigeria of 1993.
"We are in a new national and global era of constitutionalism and order. We hope Nigerians have enough patience to learn from history.
"My greatest fear, however, is that the country should not be allowed to slide into anarchy and disorder of a "monumental proportion."
Akande also said: "We must appreciate that Buhari's poor health is already taking a toll on the health of Nigeria as a polity."
Our sources have disclosed that Buhari is being pressured to relinquish power to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
However, added the sources, the cabal within the Presidency has stood its grounds, insisting that an apparently ailing President, carries on.
Akande was obviously referring to this cabal in his comments.
Pulse was also told that reports in certain sections of the media detailing how the Nigerian leader has been unable to feed or drink properly in the last couple of days, are correct.
The Presidency cabal is being led by Chief of Staff Abba Kyari and Mamman Daura, Pulse was told.
"It's a power game in here", another Villa official disclosed. "The tussle for power is intense".
There are indications from within the corridors of power that a political solution is being fashioned out by the nation's former Presidents and prominent leaders.
On Monday, former Presidents Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (IBB), Abdulsalam Abubakar and Olusegun Obasanjo, converged on IBB's Minna mansion to seek a solution.
The fear within this circle of former Presidents, Pulse was told, is that Buhari's lingering health crisis is capable of steering the nation down another path of leadership crisis last seen during the Umaru Yar'adua era.
The meetings are being held to forestall the Yar'adua scenario, Pulse was told.
Back in the day, the national assembly had to invoke the 'doctrine of necessity' before power was handed to then Vice President Goodluck Jonathan.
This time, no one wants it to come to that.
"They are meeting to see how they can resolve this as quickly as possible", Pulse was told as it pertains to the Minna meeting.
Those meetings and many others will continue in the next couple of days, it has been learned; even as civil society organisations have prevailed on Buhari to step aside in order to better deal with his health.
"Why is the president hiding his state of health?" Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka queried in disbelief last week. "He's supposed to understand he's public property."
Buhari's ministers would rather not discuss the President's health in the media.
Information Minister Lai Mohammed who came under a barrage of attacks after saying the President will be working from home, has reiterated that his initial comments had been taken out of context.
Mohammed and the President's spokespersons have maintained that Buhari only needs a period of sustained rest after undergoing a series of tests and treatments abroad.
Transportation minister Rotimi Amaechi says instead of sustaining speculation around the President's health, Nigerians should be concerned with whether Buhari is delivering on his campaign promises.
Amaechi said given his advanced age, there's nothing strange with respect to the President's failing health.
In March of 2010, Buhari called for the impeachment of then President Yar'adua, insisting that he's left the national assembly with no choice after failing to disclose the status of his health.
Buhari also called on Yar'adua to resign for failing to disclose the status of his health.
Yar'adua passed on weeks later.
The state of health of a Nigerian President has become a rather sensitive subject in Africa's most populous nation; even before Yar'adua's death.
Obasanjo battled allegations concerning the state of his health as democratic President and General Sani Abacha passed away in the Villa with no information to this day regarding what ailed him.
There are fears that Nigeria is headed down the path of another constitutional logjam with Buhari's illness and with the insistence of the cabal that he wouldn't be handing over the reins to Vice President Osinbajo who has been calling the shots rather admirably amid Buhari's disappearing acts.
Getting an ailing President out of office in Nigeria hasn't been made any easier by the constitution.
Section 144 (1) of the Nigerian constitution, as amended, reads as follows:
The President or Vice President shall cease to hold office if:
a) By a resolution passed by two-thirds majority of all the members of the executive council of the federation, it is declared that the President or Vice President is incapable of discharging the functions of his office and
b) The declaration is verified, after such medical as may be necessary by a medical panel established under subsection 4 of this section in its report to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.