The Presidency announced on Wednesday that President Bola Tinubu had left Abuja for a private visit to Paris, France, without disclosing the purpose of his trip.
This drew the ire of the opposition parties, the Peoples Democratic Party and the Labour Party, who demanded an explanation from the Presidency.
The PDP Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Ibrahim Abdullahi, said in a phone interview that Tinubu’s trip was ill-timed, given the insecurity and the economic woes facing the nation.
He said, “The feelers we are having are that he (Tinubu) has gone for medical treatment as usual because that is where his doctors are. So, we challenge the Presidency to come clean and explain to us the details of his ailment.
“Though he’s been around for some time. We commend his decision to stay back, but we also would want it to be sustained. For now, we are wishing him well but we are asking his handlers to come clean and tell us what exactly is disturbing him, what he has gone for, and how he intends to avoid incessant trips because the machinery of state and the life of over 250 million Nigerians are in his hands.
“We will be concerned as Nigerians because the state of the nation is appalling economically, politically, security-wise, the nation is under siege. This is the worst time for a leader who understands his responsibility or mandate requires of him. These are not the best of times for Nigerians, they are living on imagination first of all from the economic angle. Nigerians are also in palpable tension from the security angle. Nigerians are equally disturbed about even the uncertainty from the political angle.
“What is the state of the nation? What is their presidency, going to shun out for them? How is the implementation of the budget? All of those things are shrouded in mystery. And at a time that we need our president to be around and discharge the functions of his office, as he has sworn to do. We’re not getting him at any time we want him.”
The LP 2023 Presidential Campaign Council spokesman, Yunusa Tanko, also accused the President of having a hidden agenda for his trip and hinted that he was sick.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, said in a statement titled ‘President Tinubu travels to France’ that the President would return in the first week of February, 2024.
This was Tinubu’s third visit to France since he became President eight months ago. He had previously attended the Paris Summit for the New Global Financial Pact in June 2023 and the 78th United Nations General Assembly in New York, USA, in September 2023, before returning to Paris for five days.
The LP spokesman, Tanko, described President Tinubu’s travel as unacceptable.
According to him, “We are back to another Muhammadu Buhari, who prefers to travel than to lead. The fact is that President Tinubu has a health challenge and they are trying to cover up the health issues. The last time we saw him was when he was in Imo. And I noticed that his hands were shaking. That is to tell you that probably his state of health called to question.”
He continued, “So the fact remains that when you see it shady exit of the President without detailed information, then you must question it. That means that there’s a hidden agenda somewhere.
“So as far as we are concerned, this is completely undemocratic and it is unacceptable. Nigerians deserve to know details about his travels. And at the same time, he must transmit power considering the level of insecurity in the country at the moment.”