The indefinite vacation of President Muhammadu Buhari in London and the numerous Nigerian dignitaries paying him unsought visits are degrading the recessionary economy. The first Nigerian to embark on the undesirable visit was the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris who led a high powered police delegation to visit Buhari. Then the Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun and Senator Daisy Danjuma embarked on the voyage. The National Leader of the APC and former governor of Lagos State, Senator Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the former interim chairman of the APC, Chief Bisi Akande were also in Britain to see Buhari! The First Lady, Aisha Buhari has also visited her husband and thereafter left for Saudi Arabia to pray for him! Recently, the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and the Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon, Yakubu Dogara also paid a courtesy call on Buhari! Additionally, the governors under the People’s Democratic Party are also making frantic arrangements to visit Mr. President! Predictably, the Judiciary, Legislature and Executive will soon join the train in going on this pointless journey. Thereafter, every Nigerian, one after the other, will also visit Buhari in order to curry his favour, after all every Nigerian needs the favour of Mr. President in order to get appointment.
But does President Buhari know the financial and social implications of his continued stay in London? From all indications, it seems Mr. President is unaware of the attendant implications; if he knows, he would have returned to the country by now! First, the financial outlay in hard-earned foreign currencies in keeping Mr. Buhari in London since January 20, 2017 till date is enormous! It is exorbitant to maintain a president in another country in the absence of medication and when the cost of medication is added to the running cost of maintaining the president in a foreign land, the cost is usually humongous! Likewise, the cost of maintaining his personal physicians, courtiers and entourages in foreign currencies will further deplete the foreign reserve. Furthermore, it is international practice for aircrafts to be charged for parking after the first two hours of landing in an airport. To this end, the federal government has been paying parking charges on the Presidential Jet that conveyed Mr. President and his entourages to London since they left the country!
Above all, when the costs in foreign currencies, of those paying unneeded visits to Mr. President are added to the personal cost of Mr. President, the summation will be mind-bending! Second, the social implication of Buhari’s continued stay in London is that it is causing the country international embarrassment. It is so because there is no economic wisdom for a country under a recession to waste her hard earned foreign currencies on her president in a foreign land just because he wants to rest or for the purpose of medication. This can only happen in Nigeria! If the visit of Mr. Buhari to London is to rest, are there no places in Nigeria where he can take his rest? If the visit of Mr. Buhari to London is for medication and he has spent almost two years in office, are two years not enough for him to have built a functional hospital that could take care of his health and those of his nuclear family? How many years did it take the British Government to build the hospital where Buhari is taking his medication presently? Did it take the British Government hundred years to build it? With a budget of N3.87 billion for the State House Medical Centre in 2016, is it appropriate for the president to visit a foreign hospital for medication? How was a whopping N3.87 billion spent on a medical centre that can’t handle the health challenges of the president of a country yet the money is not accounted for?
However, it is worrisome that Nigerians are not being told the truth as to what Buhari is actually doing in London! Retrospectively, before Buhari left the country on January 20, 2017 for Britain, his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina told Nigerians that he was going to the United Kingdom on vacation and also undertake a “routine” medical check-up. Is it the routine medical check-up that is still keeping Buhari in London?