The presidency has downplayed expectations from Nigerians that President Muhammadu Buhari will resume work in a “dramatic way” after spending 50 days in London, treating an undisclosed ailment.
The senior special assistant to the president on media, Mr. Garba Shehu, stated this during an interview with Arise News Network on Sunday, March 12, in Abuja.
Garba said the president needs is a careful and slow resumption of duty following his return to the country.
He said: “Let me first of all caution that he (Buhari) is not going to start in a dramatic way. He has been away from the country for nearly two months, so he needs to get into the temperature of the place.
“For instance, yesterday (Saturday), he went through the newspapers page by page, and he read everything that interested him.
“So he needs to get back to that place. The thing is that he’s basically human like all of us. He is coming out of an ailment and like he himself had said, he needs to start gradually.
“Don’t expect the president to be given neck-breaking schedules or punishing schedules like from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., or sometimes to 1a.m. to 2 a.m..”
Responding to the question whether Buhari would be fully in charge once he resumes, Garba said the moment the president’s letter goes to the National Assembly notifying the lawmakers of his return, that means the president is in full control.
The presidential aide explained that Buhari style of leadership right from inception does not dictate every detail in governance.
Garba said: “This is not a president, by his style of leadership, whose hands dictate every detail. People make the observation that perhaps ministers under this government are the most powerful ministers we have had in this Republic.
“He doesn’t call each month to say that a contract should go to Mr. A, B or C, or that road should be channeled through this or that.”
Garba further elaborated on the role of the vice-president, adding that “even before the president’s departure, the vice-president had a full plate”.
“He has again, on record, been one of the busiest vice-presidents in our country; the president has delegated so much to him.”
Meanwhile, a report by The Punch indicates that President Buhari has no schedule on his itinerary as he resumes work on Monday, March 13.
According to the report, no assignment has been scheduled yet for Buhari as he formally resumes from his 51-day medical vacation.
The president had told state governors and top government officials at the Presidential Villa Abuja on Friday, March 10 that he would continue to rest over the weekend and allow Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to work.
The protocol unit of the presidency is saddled with the responsibility of preparing weekly scheduled assignments for the presiden
The itinerary is however open to amendments if the situation arises.
An unnnamed government official, who was quoted in the report attributed the “blank” nature of the president’s schedule for Monday to the fact that Buhari only returned to the country on Friday.
The source said the first draft of the president’s schedule for the week was always ready on the preceding Friday.