The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, is reportedly sick and has been flown to London, United Kingdom for treatment, SaharaReporters reported on Sunday.
According to the online newspaper, Atiku was flown from Dubai, United Arab Emirates to the UK.
This comes less than two months before the presidential election which is scheduled to hold on February 25, 2023.
“Atiku is not feeling fine; he is in the hospital receiving treatment,” a PDP Presidential Campaign Council source told SaharaReporters on Sunday.
“That’s why he is not back in Nigeria for the presidential campaign. He was in Dubai but has now left Dubai for London for treatment. He has been flown to the UK for treatment. That is why he is still abroad.”
However, SaharaReporters could not confirm the nature of Atiku’s ailment.
Last year, Atiku also visited Europe and at the conclusion of his European trip, the PDP presidential candidate visited Dubai.
The trip came about three weeks after Atiku met with Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike in London.
A statement issued by Paul Ibe, his media adviser said the trip was a continuation of an earlier business trip made three weeks earlier.
“He will be travelling immediately after his meeting on Friday in Lagos, with the leadership of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) alongside the PDP vice presidential candidate, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta,” the statement reads.
“Today’s trip is in continuation of an earlier business trip of three weeks ago.
“At the conclusion of his European trip, the former Vice President will also use the opportunity to visit his family in Dubai.
“His trip is for business and family purposes and has nothing to do with medicals as being insinuated in some quarters.”
Atiku is known for spending most of his time in Dubai. For instance, he left for Dubai after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Muhammadu Buhari the winner of the 2019 presidential election.
The PDP presidential candidate was absent at the pre-Atiku Freedom March press conference held for him at the state Secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Iyaganku, Ibadan, last Tuesday.
The press briefing was jointly addressed by a former Minister of Federal Capital Territory (State), Jumoke Akinjide; former Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Wole Oyelese; former Deputy Governor of the state, Alhaji Hazeem Gbolarumi, and another PDP chieftain, Engineer Femi Babalola.
The Freedom March was held last Wednesday in Ibadan, the state capital.
In July 2022, Atiku reacted to a viral social media video suggesting he was ill, saying that he was in good health.
A viral video showed Atiku limping during his return to Nigeria ahead of the Osun State governorship election.
But his media aide, Ibe, dismissed claims, saying nothing was further from the truth.
A statement issued by Ibe read in part: “Our attention has been drawn to a report and a video in a section of the media purporting to be of an “ailing” Atiku Abubakar being helped strapped to his car seatbelt by an aide.”
“Nothing can be further from the truth. For the records, the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is in robust good health.”
“We would not ordinarily have responded to this mischief, but for the impression that it will create in the minds of Nigerians, which is exactly the objective of the purveyors of this fake news.
“We wish to state that Atiku is not averse to scrutiny because of the consequential nature of the 2023 elections. However, it is our position that such scrutiny must not be predicated on a slash and burn rogue journalism as is the case with this contrived report.”
Also in October 2022, the spokesperson for the PDP Presidential Campaign Management Committee, Dino Melaye, released a video showing Atiku dining in Europe to dispel reports that his principal was ill.
Atiku had flown out of Nigeria amid the campaign for the 2023 presidential election.
In a tweet, a former aviation minister, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, earlier alleged that Atiku collapsed after arriving in Abuja from his rally in Kaduna State.
He said Atiku was flown to Paris, France for medical care after complaining of pain all over his body.
“After his outing in Kaduna yesterday @atiku fell ill. He complained of dizzy spells & severe pains in his head & all over his body throughout the flight to Abuja. After landing at Abuja airport he collapsed. He was flown to Paris for medical attention immediately. God be with him. For the purposes of damage control they took pictures of him with others the following morning from Paris but please do not be fooled.
“There is something very wrong with the PDP presidential candidate in terms of his health & they don’t want the Nigerian public to know. Pray for him,” he wrote.
But Melaye countered Fani-Kayode, saying, “See person wey dem say he de hospital. This place look like hospital? Him de here de chop him food, de relax, de enjoy himself, holding meetings and you say….mehn! God go help people wey.. stomach infrastructure na problem oo, hunger na problem oo, make God provide for our needs ok.”
Fani-Kayode is the Director of New Media of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council.