Abuja (AFP) – Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari faced a fresh call to quit Thursday, nearly two months after he left the country on indefinite sick leave.
“I want to say that it’s time that the president throws in the towel and resigns and allows his country to move forward,” Ekiti state governor Ayo Fayose told reporters.
Buhari, 74, has not been seen since May 7, when he left Abuja for London to undergo treatment for an undisclosed medical condition.
He had previously spent nearly two months in the British capital in January and February, returning to Abuja looking gaunt and frail, and saying he had “never been so ill”.
On Sunday, a recorded message purportedly from Buhari was issued to mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in which he sounded tired and weak.
Fayose, an outspoken member of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), took out newspaper advertisements before the 2015 election claiming Buhari would die in office.
He also said the former military ruler was too old to be president.
At a news conference on Wednesday, Fayose repeated unconfirmed claims that Buhari was terminally ill. The presidency has dismissed reports he was dying and even dead.
Imo state governor Rochas Okorocha, who heads the governors’ forum of Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC) party, on Thursday dismissed Fayose’s comments.
He told reporters in Abuja that the comments were “baseless” and accused him of “heating up the polity” by playing politics with Buhari’s health.
“We must at this point give every support to Mr President and we are hoping that very soon Mr President will come back to us,” he added.
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has officially been handed the role of acting president, in accordance with the constitution.
But Buhari’s absence has brought forward behind-the-scenes jostling for position for the 2019 presidential election at which the president is unlikely to stand.
In 2010, Nigeria was plunged into months of political turmoil after president Umaru Musa Yar’Adua died in office following months of treatment abroad.