The needless hysteria over Buhari's health

By Editor on 27/01/2017

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A picture is currently trending on the social media purporting President Muhammadu Buhari sitting in a room somewhere in London with Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, with two other unidentified people, a man sitting beside Amosun and a lady, sitting beside the President.

That picture is apparently the trump card supporters of the President want to use to truncate the current frenzy by Nigerians and to some extent, foreigners alike, over his present health condition, which has at best, become a subject of somewhat laughable posturing, conjectures and innuendos and at worst, a demonstrable evidence of how far the human heart could go in deep resentment, hate and barbarism.

From the outset, condemns this visit and others that may either have been done or are being planned with the vehemence it deserves. This is unnecessary and complete waste of resources on the part of Governor Amosun and the President that allowed it.

What is in issue here and how did all these begin? On January 19, a terse statement signed by presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, informed the nation that the President would be embarking on “a short leave, which is part of his annual vacation.

He went on: “He is expected to resume work on February 6, 2017. During the vacation, the President will also undergo routine medical check-ups. In line with Section 145 (1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the President of the Senate, and Speaker, House of Representatives, have been duly communicated. While away, the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, will perform the functions of the Office of the President.”

Now, this was supposed to have ended the matter, all things being equal. But in Nigeria, where that expression could not be safely used, it is a complete bizarre situation that the entire country and the world is witnessing, one that shows the level of distrust, mistrust and outright bitterness in the system.

In the first place, on the part of his minders, it is totally out of place to expect that Nigerians, who voted the President into power with such fanfare, just under two years ago, would suddenly go to sleep and care less whatever happens thereafter. For goodness sake, this is the number one citizen, whose word, in the Nigerian situation, can move mountains and in some cases, means life and death. This is even more so, with the excruciating pains currently besetting the people as a result of the current recession.

To now expect that the citizens would not want to know where the President is at each and particularly this moment, is to say the least, unreasonable and even to an extent, infantile. Even for curiosity sake, that expectation of filling in the gap, ought to be fulfilled.

We have seen other Presidents take their own vacations. We have seen American Presidents posting their pictures at golf courses or mingling with friends and acquaintances at such occasions. In the first place, it is unthinkable for an American President to choose another country for vacations. There are so many locations and resorts they could enjoy themselves, deliberately built for that purpose. But that is a totally different matter for now.


Image result for amosun visits buhari in london

Amosun and Buhari

Let us concede the fact that health issues are not matters to be toyed with and needed to be attended to in the best way anyone could, thus necessitating that the President travels abroad because there are no facilities here (which is not supposed to be, given the enormous resources Nigeria is blessed with), but what is so difficult with the President being pictured on his hospital bed, giving the V-sign to Nigerians and assuring the people that all is okay?

He would not be the first to do so. Former Military President, Ibrahim Babangida, who owed nobody any explanation because nobody voted for him, still had the presence of mind to let Nigerians into his health problems, at a point when he was in power, which necessitated his traveling to Germany for treatment. Rather than wishing him evil, most Nigerians were appreciative, and it turned out one of the highpoints of his rather populist show of humanness and connect with the people.  

We were also witnesses to the case of former South African President, Nelson Mandela, and how the world knew each time he checked into a hospital to treat common flue. Pictures of him and those at his bedsides, were always out in the public dormain. Even the last time the President was out to treat an ear problem, Nigerians were told. So, what is different this time?

Besides, the drama that accompanied the case of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua is still fresh in the minds of Nigerians, for them not to become instantly suspicious, knowing that a child stung by a bee, is always apprehensive at the sight of the housefly.

It is a fool who would mock anybody who takes ill, because even new-born babies do. It is also imbecilic for anyone to talk glibly about somebody’s death and the height of depravity for someone, unsure of the facts, to manufacture an unfounded story and post on social media, about anybody’s death, not the least the President of the country, just for entertainment. boldly condemns this sort of depravity as wicked, inhuman and unAfrican. Who says that the death of President Buhari would bring about the sort of Nigerian these people appear to clamour for? After all, did Jonathan not “benefit” from Yar’Adua’s death. In the end, how did it go? Was he not derided, pummelled and harried by day and haunted by night by the same people, who rolled out the drums for him in the belief that his would be their own Eledurado?

But just as it is condemnable that there should be any sort of orgy or rejoicing in any quarter about the possible death of Mr. President, so it should also be condemnable that a situation would be created in which a state governor, would abandon state matters and pressing issues thereof and take a trip at the expense of his state, using the money that could have been employed in rebuilding an entire school – for a single trip of a governor abroad takes that much in most cases – just to go and prove that our President is alive, something that could be done by just a simple means that would cost next to nothing in this era of technology.

Perhaps it may be late in the day to do what ought to have been done, or remedy the damage fully, but the situation is not fatal yet for the President’s aides to do some needful. The blacksmith that doesn’t know how to fashion a gong, should look at the shape of a kite’s tail. We must learn from other climes what to do in times like this.

Besides, February 6, the return date of the President, is just few days away. The remaining period could be used to attempt some remedy, even if just mitigation – the President and his team being more forthcoming with cogent and verifiable information - and those that had wished him ill or done anything unennobling, including many bearing false tales, to carry out enough penance for their sins. Enough.




Posted on January, 28 2017

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