From Paul Orude, Bauchi and Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari’s planned visit to Bauchi, to commission the newly-established Nigeria Airforce Base in the state, has, for the second time, been postponed.
This time, it was due to bad weather.
In an apology via a telephone call, in Hausa, yesterday morning, president Buhari told his host, Governor Mohammed Abubakar: “I am not able to visit Bauchi because of poor weather conditions this morning (Thursday) in Abuja. Based on the advice of experts and meteorologists the poor visibility made flying impossible. This is the reason why the visit had to be postponed.
“I wish to express my gratitude to the people and government of Bauchi State for mobilising and trooping out to welcome me. I am praying that this would turn out to be the best for the people of the state and soon, by God’s grace, I shall make the visit to the state.”
The president, in the recorded phone call, which was played to Governor Mohammed Abubakar, and some top officials of government, the All Progressives Congress, and the media, expressed his heart felt appreciation to the people of Bauchi State for their unwavering loyalty and support for him.
Abubakar, in a state broadcast appreciated the president for showing concern and sending an apology on his absence. He saying it has never happened in the history of Nigeria.
From Abuja, Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu said the Commander of the Presidential Air Fleet, Air Commodore Hassan Abubakar had warned that Abuja’s weather was not conducive to fly even though the presidential aircraft was in perfect condition and the weather in Bauchi was alright.
Shehu reiterated that Buhari’s visit was postponed as the bad weather prevented the take-off of the president’s plane for the trip to Bauchi.
“Technical information received from the weather station showed that visibility as at Thursday morning was 600 meters, 200 metres short of the 800 metres minimally required for a safe aircraft take-off.
“According to the information available, the visibility was expected to drop to 300 metres before improving to permissible limit later in the day.”
The second failed visit to Bauchi State, like the first one that was cancelled, left hundreds of supporters, horse riders, motorcyclists, traders among others who thronged the streets and the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa International Airport, to welcome him stranded in the scorching sun and disappointed.
Buhari’s visit first to Bauchi earlier billed for Tuesday, December 13, was cancelled after immense preparation to receive him by governor Abubakar and the people, including erection of larger than life billboards across strategic location in the state capital.
The Presidency was said to have cancelled the first visit, which was on the invitation of the Nigerian Airforce, when the president travelled to The Gambia to mediate, alongside other country leaders, in the political impasse in that country.
Buhari was billed to commission the new airforce base in Bauchi and the 60-bed airforce hospital in the state.
The state government had planned to seize the opportunity of the president’s visit to ask him to commission the Fadama Mada Road and Tirwun Housing Estate projects.
“The President action has confirmed his love for Bauchi State and its people. We will continue to give him the necessary support for his administration to succeed,” he said.
Governor Abubakar who was in company with his deputy Nuhu Gidado, Chief of Staff then apologize for the aborted boat and promised that a new date would be announced soon.