February 24, 2015
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, yesterday, confirmed that he met with All Progressives Congress, APC, presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari (ret) following which he resolved to meet with President Goodluck Jonathan.
The confirmation of the meeting with the country’s opposition leader rubbished speculations that Buhari was in the United Kingdom for medical reasons.
Blair, however, did not disclose the time of his proposed meeting with President Jonathan, just as he refused to be drawn into the nature of his discussions with the APC presidential candidate last Saturday.
Buhari’s campaign office had stated that the former head of state was in the U.K. on a working visit.
Rianne Buter, Senior Media Manager at Blair’s office in London had in response to Vanguard’senquiries on the meeting between the former prime minister and Buhari said: “Mr. Blair had a private meeting with General Muhammadu Buhari in London,” adding “Mr. Blair hopes to visit Nigeria shortly when he will see the President.”
Buter further noted in an e-mail response to Vanguard on behalf of Blair, that “the meeting between Mr Blair and General Buhari was a private meeting and therefore we cannot disclose what was discussed. The photograph was taken during that meeting”.
Buhari to address Chatham House
Meanwhile, in continuation of his working visit to Britain, the APC presidential candidate is expected, Thursday, to deliver a lecture at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (RIIA, also known as Chatham House) in London.
The development followed a confirmation of the speaking engagement by the institute yesterday. Chatham House on its website disclosed that Buhari will speak on the topic— “Prospects for Democratic Consolidation in Africa: Nigeria’s Transition”.
The programme would be chaired by Sir Richard Gozney, former British High Commissioner to Nigeria.
“The postponement of Nigeria’s fifth election since its return to civilian rule in 1999, together with fierce political competition, a security crisis and severe economic challenges linked to the drop in oil price, have thrown into sharp relief the challenges of conducting this essential process in such a complex environment. While there is widespread speculation as to the reasons for the delay, there is also widespread acknowledgment of the necessity that national elections do not take place as scheduled on March 28,” Chatham House said.
According to Chatham House, Buhari “will discuss the importance of democracy for Africa’s future, and in particular why delivering dividends of elected government matter both to Nigeria and internationally.”
The statement added that there would be a live stream of the event commencing at 10am GMT.
GEJ group heads to court
Meanwhile, the Presidential Campaign Organisation of Goodluck Jonathan, Ogun State, has vowed to approach the court to ascertain what it claimed, yesterday, as Buhari’s real health status.
In a statement by its Director, Media and Publicity, Steve Oliyide, the group said: “We feel concerned about the well being of our fellow citizen and more about a man who had served this country in the Army but history has taught us that the Presidential position comes with lots of physical challenges and huge mental demands and as such a proposed occupant of such position must be at least 90 per cent healthy and of a very sound mind.
“We wonder why the opposition party is spending so much time and resources to conceal the true state of health of the former dictator. Moreso, we find it rather ridiculous and a grand insult to Nigerians, that the opposition party has continued to play “hide and seek” whenever the issue of General Buhari’s health comes up.
“We love General Buhari and we will not stand idle to watch some greedy, self-centered and selfish politicians push such man around all in the process of actualizing their egocentric lust for power. We will not also fold our hands and allow these few take the already progressing country into constitutional crisis and needless doctrine of necessity.”
Source: Vanguard NG