Femi Fani-Kayode Northern Nigeria, EFCC, Osinbajo, Egmont
President Muhammadu Buhari arrived Nigeria after 103 days on medical leave in London on Aug 18, 2017 | Reuters

A bizarre attempt by President Muhammadu Buhari to score cheap political points over the illness of former Vice President Alex Ekwueme has failed going by reactions on social media.

On Friday, November 3, 2017, the former military dictator announced that he had “ordered for” Ekwueme, who has been diagnosed of chest infection, be flown abroad for medical treatment.

A family source, who spoke with The Trent, on Wednesday, November 1, 2017, told our newspaper that the former vice president was scheduled for a medical trip in the UK the next day.

According to the law former presidents and vice presidents of Nigeria are entitled to medical treatment anywhere in the world and there is no limit to their medical coverage. So there is nothing for a president to “order” or “approve” for him to be treated abroad. It is an entitlement and it is at the discretion of the former leader.

According to a statement by a spokesperson of President Buhari, Garba Shehu, the “president gave the order after he received a brief on Ekwueme’s medical condition”.

He said the approval covers cost of chartering an air ambulance for the journey and the cost of his treatment.

But Nigerians quickly took to social media platforms like Twitter to expose the hypocrisy and propagandistic nature of the presidential press statement.

Many said it was was an attempt to attract favour in the South East, where Ekwueme comes from and where Buhari has high unfavourable public relations standing.

A number of them pointed out that this move by the president was not a privilege, but a right of past leaders. One of them pointed out that former military president, Ibrahim Babangida from the North, had received such “presidential approvals” without any announcement.

Other activists also reminded the president that he had also received medical treatment on the bill of the Nigerian government approved by former President Goodluck Jonathan without a media statement being made.

Below are some of the tweets by clearly displeased Nigerians.

Then the humourous…

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