The pressure was immense- President Buhari still hadn’t addressed Nigerians like his counter-parts across the world were doing almost on a daily basis and to compound his woes, there was the audio recording of a lady narrating how he and Abba Kyari were smuggled abroad in the middle of the night. There was a denial by the presidency that ended up doing more harm than good with more voices demanding proof of Buhari’s whereabouts.

A Nigerian news outlet, Roots TV Nigeria was reporting exclusively that Abba Kyari had been sighted at Wellington Hospital in London. It certainly didn’t help that an Australian based influencer by the name of Imam Tawhidi more popularly known as Imam of Peace had taken over Twitter and was trending anti-Buhari hashtags in just a matter of minutes. In addition to the question ‘When will Buhari talk to us?’ was the question ‘Where is Buhari?’ His aide on new media, Bashir Ahmad had posted a picture of the President working late on Thursday night at an office in the state house but the thing is we had already been told earlier that he would be working from home. There was also a screenshot of picture details posted by Imam Tawhidi clearly indicating that the picture was actually taken on 15th January. That was of course after Femi Adesina had gone on tv to say addressing Nigerians was not ‘Buhari’s style’. His media team were making a huge mess of the situation and it was clear one way or the other, Buhari would have to show himself at some point.

On Saturday afternoon,a 29 second video was released along with photos of President Buhari at Aso Rock meeting with the Minister of Health, Dr E.O Enahire and the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu.They were there to give updates to the President on the handling of the coronavirus pandemic.It first has to be noted that Buhari being around to attend the meeting doesn’t necessarily mean he had been at the villa all along.He has a presidential jet at his beck and call and could have been flown back secretly last night just to pose for the cameras.Secondly,that is undoubtedly what that meeting was; Buhari posing for the cameras.Nigerians needed to think he was not only around but also working as well.Only in the typically incompetent fashion with which the President and those around him have operated, they didn’t take into consideration the fact that Buhari’s 2 guests who were there to give him updates wore face masks while the President himself who was supposed to listen to them had none.In adherence to their own social distancing directive,the health minister and DG NCDC were seated at a distance from the President where it was totally impossible for them to utter anything he would comprehend with their mouths covered by face masks.The issue isn’t whether the video and pictures are genuine because they appear very much so,it is about the desperation to portray Buhari as being up and doing when he clearly isn’t.If they badly needed to remedy the situation,while not type up a speech and put him on tv?.At least he won’t make a mess of himself if no one asks any questions.At the UN general assembly meeting last year,he was asked about the place of nigerian youths in the country’s future (perhaps to get him to remedy calling them lazy) when he took out a prepared speech and proceeded to talk about climate change.The man can at least read.Addressing nigerians would help his cause way more than a pathetically staged meeting.The DG of the NCDC and the Minister of Health with mouths covered,were only there to act their parts and leave.More questions are bound to spring up in the coming days.You cannot get infected if you are already infected; Does Buhari not needing to protect himself with a face mask like his 2 guests mean he already has coronavirus?.His bosom friend, Abba Kyari already has it and a Director-General of the NCDC willing to come and take part in a video skit at the request of the President is more than capable of concealing a positive status.Was Buhari flown back to London on saturday night?.As the need to relieve the President of pressure arises,it should be noted that nigerians are not foolish.
Umar Sa’ad Hassan is based in Kano 

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