Will Nigerians be told what’s wrong with Buhari?

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Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s absence from today’s weekly cabinet meeting adds fuel to the raging fire of speculation over his health.

Mr Buhari, 74, has rarely been seen outside of his official residence in the eight weeks since he returned from medical leave in the UK where he was treated for an undisclosed illness. 

But the real controversy began when he stopped attending an important cabinet meeting four weeks ago.

The presidency has said very little about what is wrong with Mr Buhari and, to their credit, not much has been leaked to the press either. 

When Mr Buhari was on medical leave from February to March, he officially handed over power to Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo. 

On his return, he addressed journalists but was vague about his condition. He officially took back the reigns but since then his absence from key meeting and events has raised eyebrows. 

Last Friday, he did not show up for Friday Muslim prayers and on Monday, he broke with tradition by failing to make a public address for Worker’s Day.

#WhereisBuhari started trending on Twitter and Nobel Prize-winning writer Wole Soyinka, as well as prominent civil society activists, called on the president to release his medical records and to take official medical leave once again.

While Mr Buhari is absent, Mr Osinbajo, who enjoys a relatively positive public image, has been presiding over various meetings.

He was seen to do a good job as acting president while Mr Buhari was in the UK. 

Some even considered him to be more active than the president, nicknamed “Baba Go Slow” by his critics.

This is a crucial year for Nigeria and important decisions need to be made as the country struggles to get out of recession. 

The presidency is keen to assure the public that Mr Buhari is still very much in charge because a power vacuum, whether real or perceived, could be highly damaging for the country.

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