- Bola Tinubu travelled to Europe to “take a rest” from the hectic election campaign.
- Concerns over his health and fitness to hold fitness are mounting.
- It has since emerged he went to seek medical treatment in Europe.
After a contentious electoral season in the highly populous Nigeria in which the electoral results were sharply contested, the president elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu travelled to the United Kingdom to “take a rest” from the “hectic” electoral campaign.
Tinubu travelled to the UK on March 21 for a “rest”. His spokesperson Tunde Rahman confirmed this development to the BBC, without precisely stating when Tinubu will return to Nigeria.
Rahman confirmed that Tinubu took trips to London and Paris, France. He said that Tinubu will come back to Nigeria “soon”.
He was quoted at the time saying, “The president-elect decided to take a break after the hectic campaign and election season to rest in Paris and London, preparatory to going to Saudi Arabia for Umrah (Lesser Hajj) and the Ramadan fasting that begins [on] Thursday (March 23).”
Bola Tinubu’s victory in the just-ended 2023 Nigerian elections makes him the 16th president of the country – after the swearing-in ceremony – thus taking over from the outgoing Muhammadu Buhari, his long-time friend.
Nigeria’s elections were tightly contested, and the results were bitterly opposed by the losing presidential candidates.
Tinubu – who just turned 71 – ran for the elections on the ticket of the ruling All Progressives Congress Party, garnering a total of 8.8 million votes. Coming behind him was Atiku Abubakar with 6.9 million votes, while the youthful and popular Peter Obi got 6.1 million votes. Both runners-up launched a legal challenge to oppose the results in an atmosphere of futility.
Serious questions as concerns the suitability of Tinubu to hold the highest office in the oil-rich country have been raised time and again. Tinubu appeared visibly frail, with slurred speech, during the electoral campaign.
The former Lagos State Governor often flows out of the country – usually to France and the UK – to seek medical treatment over his ailing physical fitness.
Tinubu, with the typical obduracy of African political leaders, maintains that he is suitably fit to run Nigeria – a country grappling with myriad socio-economic problems, soaring inflation, and ubiquitous inequality and poverty.
Although the official version of his travel to Europe is based on taking a much-needed rest, it appears that he has travelled there to seek medical treatment.
SaharaReporters revealed that Tinubu fell ill immediately after the election. He was attended to by local doctors, but later left for Europe. Initially, he wanted his European doctors to be flown into Nigeria. The outlet also revealed that “a video went viral on social media showing Tinubu with pee stains on his attire during a visit to the Awujale of Ijebuland”.
Tinubu underwent several surgeries in France and the UK between 2020 and 2022. In July 2021 he was hospitalized in Maryland, United States. On 24 March, The Africa Report said that Tinubu was at a Paris hospital for a medical check-up.
What is apparent in all of this is that his travel to Europe soon after the election, at a time when energies should be poured towards the swearing-in ceremony, is more than a “rest” or “break”.
It is clear that African politicians have little faith in their own systems, yet they paradoxically voice their enthusiasm to lead the same, promising (in vain) better fortunes for the people who vote for them. The proclivities of African leaders towards using taxpayers’ money to fund their foreign trips are insufferable.
This persists while public social services at home are neglected and left to crumble, thus prejudicing the immense poor majority. It is obvious that Tinubu’s presidency does not portend any significant change for Nigeria.