One of the national leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on Tuesday returned to the country from his overseas trip amid multiple media reports raising concerns over his state of health recently.
Tinubu, also a former governor of Lagos State was seen in viral pictures arriving at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, accompanied by some of his aides.
Speaking with newsmen, Tinubu’s spokesman, Mr Tunde Rahman, stated that his principal just “came back into the country today after a trip overseas”.
He, however, failed to disclose the purpose of the trip or since when Tinubu had left the country, as well as the country he had journeyed to.
But SaharaReporters had reported that the APC Chieftain, who has not hidden his 2023 presidential ambition, was in French capital, Paris for medical treatment.
The online medium quoted a source who claimed the former Lagos Governor, whose campaign posters recently flooded parts of the nation’s capital, Abuja is currently battling some old-age ailments.
“Tinubu is in Paris, France for a medical checkup. His health is deteriorating due to old age,” a top source told SaharaReporters.
Tinubu’s last public appearance was on May 25, 2021 when he led other APC leaders to meet President Muhammadu Buhari in State House Abuja.
The meeting with President Buhari came two days after Yoruba APC leaders had declared their support for the ban on open grazing by the Southern Governors.
The notable absence of the political heavyweight during the one-day working visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to Lagos where he inaugurated the Lagos-Ibadan Railway project fuelled various concerns and speculations.
Many APC chieftains including Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, amongst others, were all present at the event.
Tinubu’s unusual absence at the major function became an instant talking point, with many saying the relationship between the former governor and Buhari might have gone sour.
However, the presidency has since refuted the claims, saying there was no rift between the former Lagos Governor and the President.
The New Diplomat recalls President Buhari had in an interview with Arise TV said: “The hope of this administration is to see APC last beyond it. Therefore, we should allow the party to decide. You cannot sit there in Lagos, for instance, and decide on the fate of APC on zoning.”
The President’s comment has been interpreted as the one referencing Tinubu who calls the shots for the APC in Lagos.
Clarifying on Buhari’s comment, presidential spokesperson, Mr Garba Shehu quickly issued a statement, saying: “The Presidency wishes to distance President Buhari from a malicious campaign aiming to drive a wedge between him and a staunch ally, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
“The ruling party, the APC, unlike others before it is a popular political party owned by its entire membership, hence Mr President was making the point during the 45-minutes interview that neither he nor anyone in the leadership could impose their wishes on the party.”