Nigeria’s ‘president-elect’, Bola Tinubu is yet to arrive in Saudi Arabia to participate in this year’s Lesser Hajj five days before the celebration of Eid-l-fitr.
This is in contrast to what his media aide, Tunde Rahman, told the public four weeks ago in a statement reacting to an exclusive report by SaharaReporters that the ‘president-elect’ was ill and had travelled to Europe to seek medical treatment.
It was earlier reported that Tinubu travelled to Europe to seek medical care after the “hectic” electioneering that led to his emergence as the ‘President-elect’ and the tension that built up ahead of the March 18 Lagos State governorship and House of Assembly elections where he also voted.
Responding to this, Tunde released a press statement where he claimed that “President-elect, Asíwájú Bola Tinubu, has travelled abroad to rest and plan his transition programme ahead of May 29, 2023 inauguration.”
Explaining the reason for the trip, Rahman said, “The president-elect decided to take a break after the hectic campaign and election season to rest in Paris and London, preparatory to going to Saudi Arabia for Umrah (Lesser Hajj) and the Ramadan Fasting that begins Thursday.
“While away, the President-elect will also use the opportunity to plan his transition programme. He has directed all the senior aides and campaign staff to also go and observe a short rest. He is expected back in the country soon.
“We enjoin the media to stop publishing rumours and unsubstantiated claims and to always seek clarifications from our office.”
Last Wednesday, one of his loyalists, Sam Omatseye tweeted a picture of Tinubu and President Muhammadu Buhari with the following caption: “ASIWAJU TINUBU. PRESIDENT ELECT AND PRESIDENT BUHARI AT MECCA, SAUDI ARABIA TODAY, APRIL 12, 2023.”
But when fact-checked, it was discovered that Omatseye had posted an old picture. It was taken in 2019, in the Presidential Villa in Abuja when Buhari hosted Tinubu for fast breaking. It was also in the month of Ramadan.
However, SaharaReporters further observed that Tinubu’s aides have been silent about his current location despite the fact that the 2023 Ramadan Fast is only five days away.
The former Lagos governor was not seen among several Nigerian dignitaries, including politicians, who travelled to Saudi Arabia for the pilgrimage, nor was there any publication from his team regarding his purported trip to the holy land.
When SaharaReporters called his aide, Tunde Rahman, on Monday morning to ask why his principal couldn’t be in Saudi Arabia as stated in the previous press release, he said, “I would get back to you on this.”
Meanwhile, at the press time, he had not answered follow-up calls and text messages sent to him, seeking further comments on the matter.
The presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) in the 2023, Omoyele Sowore, had also noted that Tinubu did not go to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, during the Ramadan celebration as claimed by his handlers
Sowore on Saturday said that Tinubu’s handlers lied about his going to Mecca, saying that Tinubu was never with Buhari and was not seen anywhere in Mecca.