President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday returned to the country after spending 49 days on medical vacation in the United Kingdom, sparking celebrations in the Federal Capital Territory and some states in the North, including Katsina, Bauchi, Gombe, Nasarawa and Kaduna.
Many well-wishers slaughtered rams, chickens and celebrated on the streets.
The Presidential Aircraft with registration number 001-5N-FGT, conveying Buhari and some of his aides, landed at the Nigerian Air Force 401 Flying Training School Aerodrome at exactly 7.47am.
Buhari, who alighted from the aircraft at about 7.55am, after exchanging pleasantries with top government and military officials, went straight into a waiting helicopter that took him to Abuja.
Wild jubilation in Abuja, Katsina, others
There was jubilation in the FCT following Buhari’s return to the country on Friday after a prolonged absence.
Hundreds of youths in the FCT, particularly in the satellite towns, trooped out as early as 9am on hearing the news of the President’s return.
In Maraba, a border town between Nasarawa State and the FCT, hundreds of youths were sighted along Abuja-Keffi Road, celebrating the President’s return.
Abuja-Nasarawa Road was also shut down as it had been taken over by some northerners celebrating Buhari’s arrival and chanting, ‘Sai Baba’.
In Nyanya and Karu, youths, particularly from the northern part of the country, were jumping up and shouting “Baba oyoyo, baba yadawo (Baba welcome. Baba has returned). 2019, babu chanji (2019, no change).”
As of noon on Friday, the celebration was still going on along Abuja-Keffi Road, thus causing traffic congestion, particularly at the Nyanya axis.
There was also jubilation by residents in Jos, Plateau State, particularly along Bauchi Road.
It was learnt that there was reckless driving by youths and commercial tricycle operators in areas on Bauchi Road and Murtala Muhammed Way.
In Buhari’s home state, Katsina, there was also festive mood for the better part of Friday as residents trooped to the streets to celebrate the President’s return.
Jubilant residents thronged major streets, including Sabo Line, Nagogo Road, IBB Road, Kofan Kaora and Kofa Waya, some riding on motorcycles and in private vehicles singing the President and Governor Aminu Masari’s praises.
Some of the residents also displayed posters of the President and the state governor.
One of the jubilant residents, Halheri Haladu, expressed happiness that the President was back in the country.
Also, in Daura, Buhari’s hometown, residents took to major streets to express their joy.
The state governor, Masari, in a statement through his Special Adviser on Media, Abdul Labaran, described the President’s safe return to Nigeria as the best gift Nigerians had received this year and commended the people for their love and support for Buhari during the time he was away.
Meanwhile, when the 74 year old retired General was leaving, he was looking frail but a bit stronger. Adorning a dark brown kaftan, he had a vest which might be interpreted to mean that he was cold.
But on his return, he looked leaner and tired. Decked in dark kaftan, the index finger of his left hand was carefully extended, suggesting a sample of his blood was recently checked. He wore a thicker turtle neck vest which could mean he was feeling colder than when he left Nigeria (older people usually feel colder).
The President admitted he had never been this sick, and the before and after pictures tell the story better…