The long absence of the wife of the President, Aisha Buhari, from the Presidential Villa, Abuja, and the country became more pronounced on Wednesday, when she attained the age of 50.
Outspoken Mrs Buhari had gone off the radar around September 2020 shortly after the wedding of her daughter, Hanan.
An online newspaper, SaharaReporters, had reported that she relocated to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, citing security issues.
But shortly after, one of her aides, Kabiru Dodo, said Mrs Buhari was on a foreign medical trip.
Dodo said in Jalingo in December 2020 when he represented Mrs Buhari when her foundation presented some items to widows, “The First Lady travelled for her medical trip; she did not flee the country because of insecurity. She left her children, her husband and family in Nigeria.
“What people are saying is baseless and worth nothing to be considered.
“I want to tell the whole world that I do speak to her on a daily basis and she is ready to return to the country as soon as she is done with the medical treatment abroad.”
Since then, no word has been heard from the President’s wife.
Although she was initially active on her social media handles, Mrs Buhari was surprisingly silent on her golden birthday on Wednesday.
A check on her Instagram page, @aishambuhari, around 7.30pm on Wednesday showed that the last message she posted was on February 2, when she commiserated with the Chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, over the death of her mother, Alhaja Sadiat Erogbogbo.
There was also no message about Mrs Buhari’s birthday on the Instagram page of one of her daughters, @mrs_zmbi, when our correspondent checked.
Our correspondent also learnt that no activity was held inside the Presidential Villa to mark the birthday.
Some prominent Nigerians, however, took to the social media or placed advertorials to congratulate Mrs Buhari.
They included the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and his wife, Ibijoke; Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi; wife of Imo State Governor, Chioma Uzodimma; wife of Osun State Governor, Kafayat Oyetola; wife of Nasarawa State Governor, Silifat Abdullahi; SA to the President on African First Ladies Peace Mission, Mairo Tanko-Almakura; and former Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, among others.
A Presidency official, who did not want to be named because he was not authorised to speak on the matter, told our correspondent that the last he heard about Mrs Buhari was that she was receiving medical attention abroad.
The source said, “Your observation is valid. One would have expected madam to be around today to celebrate this landmark birthday but she is not here.
“Honestly, the last I heard about her was that she was receiving medical attention abroad. I have not heard any other thing.”