President-elect Bola Tinubu, yesterday, urged Nigerians to disregard the rumour about his health, saying he is strong and refreshed enough for the task ahead. Tinubu spoke in Abuja following his return from a month’s rest in France ahead of his inauguration as 16th President of Nigeria on May 29.
One of the top aspirants for the 10th Senate presidency, Senator Barau Jibrin in a short statement to welcome Tinubu back to the country, said Nigerians were glad to see him back after a well-deserved rest.
But in Rivers State, the All Progressives Congress (APC) said it had submitted the names of ex-Chief of Staff to former Governor Chibuike Amaechi, Chief Tony Okocha, and other leaders of the party in the state for suspension over alleged anti-party activities during the just concluded general election.
Tinubu had left Nigeria for France on Tuesday, March 21, to have a rest after a grueling presidential campaign. He returned yesterday to the transition plans ahead of his inauguration.
However, since he left the country, a series of conspiracy theories had surfaced, especially from the opposition parties, about his state of health, with many querying his whereabouts.
His return yesterday has certainly exploded some of the rumours concerning his health.
As early as noon yesterday, members of the ruling APC and Tinubu supporters filed out on the streets of Abuja to receive the president-elect. He arrived the Presidential Wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, at 4:30pm and was received by enthusiastic associates and supporters.
The president-elect was in company with his wife, Senator Remi Tinubu, and his son, Seyi Tinubu.
The former Lagos State governor, who was cheered by party faithful and supporters, headed straight to his vehicle after a brief stop to acknowledge the crowd that had gathered at the airport to welcome him.
His convoy left the airport about 4:51pm to the city centre.
While some supporters and party faithful waited at the Defence House in Maitama and the APC Presidential Campaign office at Central Business District, trying to lay siege to the president-elect, the convoy headed straight to his house in Asokoro.
In a statement by the Office of President-elect, signed by Tunde Rahman, Tinubu said having observed the much-needed rest, he was refreshed and ready to work.
He said in the statement, “I’m happy to be back. I have rested, I’m refreshed and I’m ready for the task ahead. Forget about what the rumour mill may have told you. I’m strong, very strong.”
Asked about his plans for the country, Tinubu said he had been consulting and planning with a view to putting together a strong team so he could hit the ground running after assuming office on May 29.
Among those at the airport to receive the president-elect were the vice president-elect, Senator Kashim Shettima; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila; as well as Governors Simon Lalong (Plateau) and Abubakar Sani-Bello (Niger), and former Borno State Governor, Ali Modu Sheriff.
There were also former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu; APC Deputy National Chairman, North, Senator Abubakar Kyari; Deputy National Chairman, South, Emma Enekwu; and National Woman Leader, Dr. Betta Edu.
Others included Jibrin and fellows senators Adeola Olamilekan Yahyi, Opeyemi Bamidele, Dayo Adeyeye, Sabi Abdullahi, and Adelere Oriolowo.
Secretary of the recently-dissolved APC Presidential Campaign Council, Hon. James Faleke; Hon. Babajimi Benson; and Director of Media and Publicity in the dissolved council, Mr. Bayo Onanuga, were also at the airport to receive Tinubu.
Speaking with reporters at the airport, Barau said Nigerians were delighted to see Tinubu back, hale and hearty and ready for work.
He said, “We are all happy to see our leader, our president-elect back with his amiable wife, looking so fresh and fit and ready to hit the ground running.
“Nigerians are here in their thousands and you can see how happy they are right now. Everyone is excited to have him back. My campaign organisation and I are very glad to have him back. He has said he is back, fit and ready for the task ahead. We know and trust him to be a man of his words. We cannot expect less.”