Buhari’s health: Matters Arising


THE CONTROVERSY surrounding
the health of President
Muhammadu Buhari is
gradually heating up the polity
and throwing up many
moral and legal questions. In
fact, the politics, intrigues and
of course blatant lies behind
the president’s health has
prompted eminent Nigerians
to clamour for the true state of
Buhari’s health.
It is quite clear to every Tom,
Dick and Harry that the president’s
health challenge is impacting
negatively on governance.
For three straight week
now, he has not been able to
preside over the Federal Executive
Council, FEC meeting.
The reason adduced for his
absence was hinged on the advice
of his doctors, according
to the Information Minister,
Lai Mohammed. In the two
previous meetings Buhari did
not attend, what Nigerians
were told was that the president
was taking the day to rest
and work from home.
Before the president returned
to the country from
his medical trip to London
on March 10, we were told
that Buhari was not sick; that
he was resting. Even the vice
By Dozie Emmanuel
president, Yemi Osinbajo said
the president was hale and
hearty. But to their disappointment,
Buhari came back and
said he was never this sick in
his life, thus dismissing all the
lies and falsehood told about his
health.
The fear and concern now is
not only that Buhari is sick, but
also that cabals in the Presidency
have since hijacked powers from
the ailing president, thus calling
the shots. It is even alleged that
as a retired military officer and
former Head of State, they have
prevailed on him never to resign
on grounds of his ill health.
It, therefore, did not come to
many as a surprise when the suspended
Secretary to the Government
of the Federation, Babachir
Lawal echoed this sentiment
when he said “who is the presidency”
when he was accosted
by State House correspondents.
Perhaps, at the time he made the
statement, analysts argued that
he may not have known that he
has been suspended.
Again, his response could be
seen from the prism of a man
larger than life; a man that sees
himself as the Presidency and
will never be suspended.
Those in the know posited that
the cabals might have teamed
up against the SGF and persuaded
Buhari to suspend him
and the DG of the NIA, Ayo Oke
so that the president’s anti corruption
fight will still have some
credibility, especially among
the Senators whose report had
indicted Babachir Lawal for his
role in the award of contracts on
the Presidential Initiative on the
North East, PINE.
Amidst the controversy, politics
and power play surrounding
Buhari’s health, the question
is: when will the president deem
it right to reveal his health status
to Nigerians? Again, will he take
the bold step and resign since
he no longer has the mental and
physical strength to continue as
president?
Legally and morally speaking,
what is expected of Buhari is to
tell Nigerians what is exactly
his health status. No doubt, this
measure alone will douse the
mounting tension in the polity.
Besides, keeping such vital information
to himself gives room
to all manner of speculation and
death wish.
Definitely, the job of leading a
country like Nigerian is indeed
a herculean task that demands
a sound mind within a healthy
body.
In view of this, there is absolutely
nothing wrong if the
president tomorrow decides
to hand over to his vice to continue
in his stead pending when
he fully recovers. Interestingly,
aside from exercising his powers,
the president must be seen
to be of sound mind. So the president
will not be doing himself
any good neither will he be doing
the people he is leading any
good if he keeps holding onto
power amidst his serious health
challenge.
Essentially, what it now means
is that, despite the economic
downturn, security challenges
and rising unemployment in
the country, Nigeria is having
a president in ‘absentia’ at this
critical time.
Expectedly, this ugly state of
affairs the country is sliding into
has prompted some eminent Nigerians,
Non Governmental and
Civil Society Organizations to
call for the president to disclose
his health status and resign if he
is unfit to attend to the rigours of
his office.
This call came from the national
caretaker committee of the
Peoples Democratic Party, which
alleged that a cabal is now ruling
Nigeria. It believes the health
challenge of President Muhammadu
Buhari has shown that
some individuals have taken
over the running of the government
from the ailing president.
The reaction of the committee
followed the inability of Buhari
to attend the weekly Federal
Executive Council meeting for
the third consecutive week. The
party said though there is nothing
unusual in the president being
sick, the former ruling party
submitted that what was bad
was the refusal of the president
to disclose the true state of his
health. The party argued that the
health of the president must be
bad to have prevented him from
attending the weekly Federal
Executive Council meeting consecutively
for three weeks.
Similarly, the Nobel laureate,
Prof. Wole Soyinka, has joined
other well meaning Nigerians
in calling on Buhari to reveal
the condition of his health after
spending nearly two months in
London on medical leave.
“He is ill, there is no question,
and I wish for heaven’s sake that
people in public positions would
just be honest. Illness is part of
our existence. Buhari owes it
to the nation and I don’t know
why he and his advisors are
being so coy about it,” Soyinka
said.
Also lending his voice, former
Chairman of the House
of Representatives Committee
on Appropriation, Abdulmumin
Jibrin, called on Buhari to
resign. Though he has recanted,
the controversial lawmaker
earlier said the president
should resign because of his
health, which has left many of
his supporters worried.
In his tweets, Jibrin said:
“PMB, time to let go: So many
issues are left unattended
even small issues that a presidential
cough can deal with
are left hanging”.
Unfortunately, for those eagerly
waiting for Buhari to
disclose his health status or
possibly resign may be disappointed
as the body language
from the Presidency reveals
that it may not be forthcoming
with such sensitive information
any time soon.
The Special Adviser to the
President on Media and Publicity,
Mr. Femi Adesina ruled
out the possibility of President
Muhammadu Buhari resigning
his position over his ill
health. He said the president
will not resign, adding that
those calling for his resignation
were merely expressing
their opinion.
But come to think of it, don’t
Nigerians deserve the right to
know the health status of the
president? Why is Buhari and
the Presidency denying Nigerians
this inalienable right? Is
there something serious they
are hiding?
In any case, as the people
that elected Buhari into office,
Nigerians deserve to know the
true state of health of the president.
A situation whereby Lai
Mohammed and Femi Adesina
continue to lie blatantly
on the president’s health will
slowly but surely spell doom
for the country.
As we pray for the quick and
speedy recovery of the president,
it is only wise that he
does what is right not minding
what his cronies are whispering
into his ears.



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