Concerns were raised, last night, over the health status of the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, following his planned trip to the United States of American towards the end of January.
Buhari is reported to have filled an online application for the United States of America Visa to enable him travel to the country around January 26 for medical scrutiny.
The application for the visa, it was learnt, instantly fueled speculations that Buhari had been weighed down by the strain of the campaigns which he had been undertaking in recent days, thereby requiring urgent medical attention in the foreign land.
His opponents argued that Buhari would not have sought to abandon his campaigns midway and travel abroad for medical attention if his health condition was not dire.
They contended that the general’s failing health had become a serious concern to his handlers, who have, however, quietly managed the situation to avoid any damage to his candidature
But in a shift response, Buhari dismissed the claims over his health as mere fabrication of lies by those afraid of his rising popularity among Nigerian voters.
While insisting that he was hale and hearty, Buhari, through his Campaign Director of Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, asked Nigerians not to be distracted by the antics of desperate and unpopular candidates who were afraid of losing in a free and fair contest. The media campaign director dismissed as a figment of the imagination of “wicked and evil persons,” the rumour that Buhari may be travelling to the United States towards the end of this month for medical check up.
While dismissing the report as fabrications, however, he said that “as a prominent leader of the opposition, many interests across the globe want him (GMB) over for political and diplomatic consultations,” adding that the “invitation to the US may not be unconnected to this.”
Shehu also dismissed as fake and untenable a purported medical report from the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital showing that Buhari had been diagnosed of prostate cancer by the institution.
In a statement, he described the claim, said to have been credited to a ‘renowned source in the hospital’, as disdainful, distractive, mischievous, fake and fallacious.
The Buhari aide said, “It (report of cancer) is untrue and condescending of its exponents. I have it on good authority that GMB has not visited the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital in the last five years. So, how can anyone say that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer last October, barely three months ago?.
“This is the highest point of political distraction, malice and mischief. The report was not only fake but unfounded. I have spoken to impeccable sources at ABUTH all of whom deny the report and also claimed that the letterhead used was not their regular one, and that Dr. Bala Mohammed that purportedly approved the false medical report is not on the personnel list of that department.” Beside, Shehu said sources at ABUTH disclosed that “medical report analysis only come from laboratory technologists and not medical doctors as handwritten in this particular case”, stressing that Buhari did not attend the hospital for cancer or any other ailment.
He restated its statement of Friday that Buhari is as fit as a fiddle.
“The Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital (ABUTH) has discredited the purported report said to have emanated from the hospital to the effect that General Muhammadu Buhari is stricken with cancer,” the APC Presidential Campaign Organisation has said.
Meanwhile, there is a groundswell of opposition from Nigerians in the Diaspora against the candidate of Buhari in the February 14 presidential election.
The opposition against the former military ruler is being championed by the United States chapter of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organization (NIDO), the flagship association of Nigerians living abroad.
Speaking at a press conference held at the Hilton Garden, Washington DC, Hon. Victor Ugho, the immediate past Vice-President of NIDO, who is the current President of the Georgia State chapter of the association with headquarters in Atlanta, urged the former Head of State to perish the thought of becoming the next president of the country, saying that the world has moved past the likes of Buhari.
Ugho regretted that Buhari has allowed himself to be pushed around by some people whom, he said, were looking for ways to cause more pains to Nigeria. He noted that Buhari, as Head of State, had ample opportunity to turn the country around, stressing that, “as a matter of sincerity, I do not think Buhari is the best candidate for Nigeria at this period in time. He was there as Head of State, what did he do?
“Again, he has not told us what he is going to do differently. We need continuity; the choice should not be based on tribal sentiment. Let him tell us how he is going to fix the so-called terrible situation he has identified. We need somebody who will not bring disunity.”
Also speaking, the Public Relations Officer of NIDO, Mr. Ndubusi George called on Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora to think wisely and vote for the right candidate in next month’s presidential election.