This disgraceful London pilgrimage must end

By Editor on 17/02/2017

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Buhari, Saraki and Dogara

On Thursday, January 19, 2017, President Muhammadu Buhari left Nigeria to London, where, according to his spokesman, Femi Adesina, he was supposed to spend a “short leave.”

Adesina had informed in a short statement: “President Muhammadu Buhari leaves for the United Kingdom today on a short leave, which is part of his annual vacation. He is expected to resume work on February 6, 2017." 

Of course, once the medical aspect was mentioned, Nigerians began to read in-between the lines. Thus, it did not take more than a few hours before the rumour mills became quite suffused with various and varied speculations on the President's health. It became worse when the Presidential spokesman announced that his boss was extending his leave, for the same medical reasons.

Now, this was when the President’s handlers would have done the needful by providing adequate, cogent and verifiable information on the true situation of things. But, this was not to be, regrettably and to add, predictably, because in our clime, governance and all that comes with it, is a totally different kettle of fish.

Image result for buhari with saraki and dogara in london

Buhari, Saraki and Dogara

In Nigeria, unlike where we copy our democracy from, it is a matter of absolutes, with the President, and of course, helped and gingered on by a retinue of praise-singers, adept at stringing together all manners of subterfuge, half-truths and outright lies to impress so much on him, believing that his powers cannot be questioned.

That is what has brought us to this sorry pass, in Nigeria today, where we now act like jesters on a large world stage, regaling saner societies with, at the best, laughable episodes and at the worst, galling and outlandish doses of macabre dramatics over what ought to be a simple matter.

Repeatedly, very sensible people, have wondered what the fuss is all about with Buhari's case, since every human being is meant to be born, live, get old and die. In fact, many die at their infancy, many at their youths and others at very old age. But the common denominator is that everybody must die. So, what would anyone be hiding about getting ill? Even Neman, one of the strongest soldier in Biblical times, was struck with leprousy. It becomes even more disturbing when it is the President that we are talking about.

A President is not just an ordinary person. He embodies the entire country. In fact, he is the body and soul of a country. Even in countries with developed institutions and highly calibrated division of labour architecture, the influence of the President, still counts substantially, not to talk about countries like Nigeria where the President personifies government and nothing happens without him.

Besides, unlike the US where President Donald Trump, would have to buy his own toiletries, pay for his own food and drinks at the White House, President Buhari, has everything provided for him including as little as local delicacies like kunu and nunu by the Nigerian tax-payer. Just take a look at the national budget to see how much the ordinary Nigerian is providing for the President’s personal upkeep.

Now, these are the same people the President rewards with so much scorn and disdain as depicted by his inexplicable and inexcusable silence, apparently because he believes that he owes them nothing. What could be more condemnable?

What could be more condemnable than the same Adesina the President appointed as his spokesman, who ought to be his eyes and ears, is cast away into the crowd of onlookers and sideliners, where by his own admission, he has to be second-guessing or at the best, handed down second-rate, well sequestered and totally sterile information that are contradicted the next minute?

Definitely, this is happening because the President, obviously believes that there are some people who ought to know and those that must be kept at bay, ostensibly, because they cannot be trusted, the same clannish phenomenon seen in some quarters as the major albatross of his presidency.

All that would have been required to quieten the deafening noise everywhere, would have been some short video clips of the President engaging in one activity or the other, such as playing host to the Nigerian High Commissioner in London and perhaps some embassy staff, at the Abuja House, since he was said not to be hospitalised.

Since his vacation was laced with the medical side, nobody was expecting him to be at a golf course or engaging in serious other activities, but that would not mean that he could not do other things that would make Nigerians see and monitor him on daily basis. Is that too much to ask of from a person that owes his total upkeep to the Nigerian taxpayer?

What is more? His conversation with Donald Trump, this week, depicts that the he could have done this, but apparently chose to ignore Nigerians, because he feels or is listening to the narratives that make him feel quite irritable at such a request.

Because this did not happen, it is now a delegation after the other visiting London at the expense of the same taxpayers and releasing tonnes of still photographs, in order convince the people that the President is hale and hearty. What an irony!

To underscore the wackiness of the whole situation, none of the delegations, starting from Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosu to the President’s wife, Aisha, the duo of former Lagos State Governor, Ahmed Bola Tinubu and former National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), and more recently, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, who led the leadership of the National Assembly, including Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara to take their own turn, would have travelled light.

They must all travel first class or on chattered flights. Put the expenses in hard currency and convert it to Naira and Kobo to clearly understant the futility and even irrationality of the entire show.

Back home, Nigerians on the two sides of the divide, have practically drawn their swords and are bloodying themselves once again as they haul all manner of invectives against each other over what is supposed to be a non-issue in the first place.

On the side of the President, ready attack dogs ready to pounce on anybody, who as much as ask the most benign and harmless questions, who are easily dubbed wailers and Buhari haters or those who wish him dead, once they perceive them as coming from outside their camp. On the other side, accounts of the most outlandish stories about the President are daily dished out in a futile attempt to satiate the palates of the consumers of the ghoulish tales.

This is what we find untenable and tragic., has always argued that no country can run the basis of them and us demoracy, as has become evident in the Buhari government.

This is why we condemn what is going on in the country today most strongly. It is needless. It can never be cowardice to bow to the wishes of the people who put you in a position. You cannot do enough to do so, even when it appears foolish to bow to their wishes. That is what democracy is all about.

On the contrary, it shows massive strength of character to do otherwise. It is this character that we urge President Buhari to exhibit, even with the blood of a General running through his veins. It is not too late.

This bizarre drama must end. Period!        




Posted on February, 17 2017

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