As Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari was starting his latest visit to London more than a month ago, a brand new sequence of Massive Brother Nigeria was getting below approach.
A former army ruler identified for his no-nonsense model would seem to have little in widespread with a actuality TV present the place contestants have interaction in attention-seeking behaviour.
However each topics have been quickly producing headlines for a similar cause – neither of them have been in Nigeria.
It turned out that Massive Brother was truly being filmed in South Africa – a choice that led Nigeria’s data minister to launch an investigation.
Whereas the howls of protests from outraged Massive Brother followers quickly died down, the clamour over Nigeria’s chief’s prolonged medical keep in London shouldn’t be going away.
President Buhari’s absence comes as Africa’s most populous nation is gripped by its worst financial disaster in many years, and faces the specter of famine in north-east Nigeria, which has been devastated by the Boko Haram insurgency.
And in contrast to Massive Brother, there aren’t any fixed updates – the truth is, President Buhari, 74, has not given a single interview since arriving within the UK.
As an alternative, the Nigerian public is counting on footage – posted on Twitter – of their chief assembly senior UK officers as proof that he nonetheless is alive.
The latest statement issued by the government mentioned there was “no trigger for fear” in regards to the president’s well being however his medical depart was being prolonged.
Nigerians have now heard their chief’s voice for the primary time since he left for the UK after a telephone conversation with the governor of the northern state of Kano was performed out loud at a prayer assembly.
His month-long keep to date has angered some Nigerians after he promised to crack down on “medical tourism” by officials.
Final June, President Buhari spent practically two weeks in London receiving therapy for an ear an infection.
However the larger problem this time is that officers have repeatedly refused to reveal his sickness and usually are not saying when he’ll return to Nigeria.
In a rustic the place rumours are rife, the presidential statements have executed little to dampen the hypothesis in regards to the chief’s well being.
Nigerians are acutely delicate to leaders travelling overseas for medical causes after President Umaru Yar’Adua died while in office in 2010.
For months, the general public was stored in the dead of night whereas he obtained therapy in Saudi Arabia.
The interval of uncertainty created deep political instability within the nation.
The present president’s supporters say that’s emphatically not the case this time.
They level to the truth that President Buhari constitutionally handed over energy to his vice-president, Yemi Osinbajo, as he has executed on earlier journeys, fairly than governing from afar.
He did take one telephone name whereas in London, nonetheless, from the US President Donald Trump – the primary between the 2 leaders.
“There isn’t any vacuum on the high,” says political analyst Jibrin Ibrahim.
“President Buhari takes his constitutional function critically, and has not personalised energy, not like different African leaders.
Lack of authority?
“My chief criticism is that his authorities has been appearing prefer it has on a regular basis on this planet, when the truth is pressing selections wanted to be made in regard to the financial system.”
However, maybe, one of the crucial placing issues about President Buhari’s absence has been the go-getting model of the appearing chief.
Yemi Osinbajo is making ready to launch an financial restoration plan.
He additionally led a high-profile delegation to the Niger Delta to voice help for a authorities settlement with native militants teams which have critically disrupted the area’s oil manufacturing.
However critics say that regardless of all his exercise, the vice-president has no actual authority.
“He can not carry out as a result of ministers and different political appointments usually are not obliged to be loyal to him as he did not appoint them,” mentioned Isuwa Dogo, a political analyst, and a member of the opposition occasion.
“President Buhari is a public determine and there’s no want for him to cover behind his well being points.
“I need him to be again within the county. If there are successes, he’ll get the credit score. If there are failures, he’ll get the blame.”
So, whereas Massive Brother followers will know in April who has been topped the sequence winner, for now, no-one appears to know when Nigeria’s president will come again residence.