On January 19, 2017, President Muhammadu Buhari travelled to the UK. What is coterie of befuddled aides said was a jaunt segued into a long stay. It was after a fusillade of inquisitions that the presidency capitulated to the truth that its nucleus – the president – was on a medical vacation.
However, the spokespersons of the president still tried to play possum – they insisted that Buhari was as fit as a fiddle. But risibly, he came back to say that he “had never been this sick in his life”, and even divulged the unexpected – that he had a blood transfusion.
At the time, the president was away for 50 exasperating days – January 19 to March 10! Nigerians recoiled; they did not protest or wield the bat – except for those on social media kvetching and brick-batting. And there was no form of citizen action to demand, in pristine details, the health status of the president.
Also, instead of puncturing the air of uncertainty clouding Buhari’s health with vital information, his handlers violated the sensibilities of Nigerians with mocking pictures of the president guffawing with some “important” men in London.
As a matter of fact, I cannot recall in Nigeria’s political history when a president left his operational garrison for 50 days without a citizen backlash, outcry or action. But Buhari got away with murder because he is “Buhari”.
Not surprising, just a few weeks after the president returned to the country he left again on May 7. Sadly, Nigerians have become lobotomised and broken to take the excesses of Buhari. I must add, the problem is not the president’s ill-health, but the lies and deception hedged around it.
Again, considering the fact that the president is an employee of Nigerians, he must report to them in full breadth, and not deviously.
Last Sunday, the presidency, as if struck by voodoo, released a picture of the president clanking forks and knives with some leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abuja House, London. This was obviously to pulverize the speculation that he was in a vegetative state. Despite the optical misfiring that action was, the point is, the president is still not home after 83 days! It would have done some good if the picture was mated with news of when the president would return. The fact is, speculation about the president’s health will continue; if it is not even ossified.
And then again, on Tuesday, seven governors left Nigeria for London to join the feast, and to perhaps, have their pictures with the president flashed in the media. Yes, it will buy them some pints of publicity.
In addition, it is disturbing that Nigerians have carried on as if the president’s absence is normal. We have become clowns in the ball of civilised nations. Though I once wrote that Buhari should not be compelled to resign – out of empathy – on the grounds of ill-health, but I think Nigeria needs serious work now that it appears the country may slide into a violent vortex of recession. Yemi Osinbajo is a titular acting president; knotty national problems need an “absolute” president to solve them.
But I wonder why Buhari‘s flaws and indiscretions are ignored – when juxtaposed with those of his predecessors who faced threshold-shattering mass action. This is a president who did not appoint ministers for six months. Nothing happened. The national assembly is now trying to preclude this anomaly from becoming the locus by amending sections of the 1999 constitution. The legislature wants, going forward, any president to appoint ministers within 30 days.
In conclusion, it is really disheartening that some Nigerians have built a factory of excuses for the president. To this scrum of rum citizens, if one takes an obverse position or criticises their idol; one is either a hater or a wailer. They inexorably suspend the afflatus of their reasoning or rationality when it comes to Buhari – little wonder he is always getting away with murder.
The national assembly has done well to amend some antiquated sections of the 1999 constitution. I am particularly pleased with the provisions in the amended constitution report which seek to make local governments independent of state governments. But work is not yet done, the legislature must go further to give every state control over its resources; that I believe will end the virulent ethnic bickering.
Osinbajo swears in new ministers
On Wednesday, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo swore in Stephen Ocheni, from Kogi state, and Hassan Suleiman, from Gombe state, as ministers of the federal republic. This was months after the confirmation of their appointment by the senate. Why? Osinbajo had to wait to get the approval of Buhari. In fact, before any executive decision is taken, Osinbajo who is supposed to be the acting president must get the approval of Buhari who is sick, fatigued and holed up in London. Please is Osinbajo not titular?
Twitter: @FredrickNwabufo; Facebook: Fredrick Nwabufo; Email:[email protected]