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Yar’Adua’s Health: Take politics off it

By Kunle Oyatomi
The nation’s political atmosphere is heating up unnecessarily over the issue of President Yar’Adua’s ill-health. This is putting the entire question into a negative perspective altogether.

It has assumed a political dimension which it shouldn’t afterall, giving the fact that if anything untoward happens no sensible person would go out jubilating in the streets. So why are some people taking undue advantage of this tragic event to gain political capital?

On both sides of the divide, if we are to rely on statements made so far, nobody is expressing joy at the hospitalization in Saudi Arabia of our president. The concern is that his condition should not impair governance at this critical time when the country most requires dedicated leadership.

Some say leadership has not been impaired in any form whatsoever to warrant the call for his resignation. Those who think differently want the baton of leadership at this time to pass on to the Vice President – at least pending when the president would be well enough to be in charge; otherwise the best thing to do at this juncture would be for him to step down.

These are extra-ordinary positions to take although they very well represent elements of the truth. But the worry now is that the whole expressions given to these positions tinge too heavily with implicit and explicit politics bothering on the selfish and the extreme.  Nobody is thinking per-se how their expression of sentiment  would impact on the polity.

As things stand, there is a polarisation of the citizens over the president’s health on political (almost ethnic) lines which is totally unacceptable, and at some point intemperate and could cause serious division in the polity.

The politics of greed and corruption are already divisive enough, and they pose serious threat to the very existence of the country. To now add the spectra of succession would be plain suicidal for this country, all in the name of what we have to do about the health of Mr President.

If I were in a position to enforce  it, I would have ordered that further comments of what to do about his office be stopped. It will make a lot more sense if we allowed things to take their natural course. If we cannot shout our prayers in the halleluyah style, then we pray in silence that the president should get well quickly, and then leave the rest to God knowing fully well that only his will can prevail.

The general tendency for politicians to use inclement words against their opponents and vice versa is totally ill suited to the present condition of the president. I am not very sure either that asking for his resignation from his sick bed is proof of sympathy even if expressed in the process.

A week in a nation’s life to be without an effective, healthy leader is dangerous enough; but if the appropriate thing looks impossible to do, as in this unfortunate circmustance, then it is advisable to commit the nation and the sick president to God in prayer. That, I think is the wisdom in calling on fellow Nigerians to pray.

Mr President did not make himself sick at this moment. If one can see into his heart, he probably is as anxious as ourselves to give his best to Nigeria. That he now suffers the double tragedy of being incapacitated and unfulfilled is enough pain for a man to go through. It is therefore almost hard on him that he should be advised to resign. If I were to suggest anything at all, I would have asked the politicians to bid their time and see how this sad situation unravels.

Now is when perhaps discrete silence would be golden, and ardent prayers wise to engage in.
The Peoples Democratic Party should not over-react to expressions of concern and worry by citizens who have a legitimate right to demand that they be led by a healthy President.

The opposition party need not make it seem as if the only solution here is to throw out the sick president. We must be capable of demonstrating compassion for our fellow man at all times even when we are doing so at some painful expense.

We all must have it at the back of our minds that we get only in kind as we give. The less compassion we give the less we receive. So why not do the alternative for this situation to leave us more united than we were. For foe and friend alike, the current condition of the president should unite every one rather than tear us apart.

The president’s ill-health is not and should not be made a political issue. The stakes are very high no doubt, but we also have to match the enormity of the stakes with equally high level of maturity, which unfortunately is beginning to be in short supply.

Personally, as an individual my earnest wish is for the president to recover as fast as possible to resume work at his desk in Aso Rock. I am sure that’s what the majority of Nigerians want also. We don’t want to be reminded how often Mr President has been forced out of his desk, but how quickly he is recovering.

That should be the focal point of our prayer. Pray, Nigeria pray!!

As Another Year Goes Bye

Soon, it would be Christmas. And just like yesterday, the year 2009 has come, and is almost gone.
In retrospect what has this year done for us?

What are the hopes realised and those unfulfilled? How much have we been able to move our nation forward and what have we individually done, that we can point for the love and progress of our neighbour, community, society or profession?

We are prone to look back at our lives and ask how well have we fared? But in the process we often forget to ask how much have I given to make other people’s life happier?

These and other matters arising will form the thrust of a series of comments that should occupy my thoughts in the coming weeks. Happy reading.


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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.