Nigeria’s vice-president has returned from a whistlestop trip to meet ailing President Muhammadu Buhari in London and will chair Wednesday’s weekly cabinet meeting, his spokesman said.
Acting President Yemi “Osinbajo now back in Abuja from London & will be presiding over FEC (federal executive committee) this morning,” tweeted Laolu Akande.
He also pledged to share “more information” about Osinbajo’s encounter with Buhari, describing it as “a very good meeting”.
Osinbajo, who has been acting president since Buhari left for medical treatment on May 7, flew to London on Tuesday.
No details were given about the meeting but it is believed to be the first face-to-face encounter between Nigeria’s two most senior politicians in more than two months.
Buhari, 74, has not been seen in that time and has now spent nearly four months of this year out of the country, prompting growing calls for clarity about his fitness to govern.
His condition has not been disclosed but aides have previously played down rumours that he was terminally ill with cancer or even dead.
His wife Aisha, who flew to London earlier this month, on Monday posted a cryptic message on her Facebook page in response to a Nigerian senator’s description of Buhari as “the absent Lion King”.
“God has answered the prayers of the weaker Animals. The Hyena’s and the Jackals will soon be sent out of the kingdom,” she wrote.
The description has been seen as a reference to a supposed behind-the-scenes struggle for power and influence in government during Buhari’s absence.
The Nation newspaper, owned by the founder of Buhari’s All Progressives Congress party, Bola Tinubu, said Osinbajo’s trip to London had been secretly planned for weeks.
“The Acting President has actually been relying on third-party information and purported directives from the President in London,” an unnamed source was quoted as saying.
Another said: “The trip had been planned in the past three weeks but was only known to few people for strategic reasons. The ‘Jackals and Hyenas’ were beaten to it.”
Osinbajo wanted “undiluted information” on Buhari’s health, to brief his boss on decisions he had taken in his absence and get approval for policy, the second source added.