By Michael West
President Muhammadu Buhari is back. Every well-meaning Nigerian is happy to see him return alive. His long absence from the scene, expectedly, had created shades of opinions, legal, moral and subjective pontifications in public discourse. The fact remains, however, that nobody ever wished the President dead. Contrary to diverse fabrications and lies being spread on the social media and which are being ascribed to persons in the opposition camp, there’s no iota of truth in the unfounded stories that anyone wished the President dead. Those asking to know the true state of the President’s health made a legitimate demand which didn’t translate to wishing him dead.
A lot has been said about what should be the next line of action for the President. Therefore, I won’t recapitulate the ‘hit-the-ground-running’ calls on the President; rather, I’m persuaded to rightly situate the plots that led to the hurried return of Buhari ahead of the ‘appropriate’ time for discharge based on his physicians’ approval. The President, indeed, hurriedly returned home consequent upon the suffocating pressure at home and lately in London.
There’s no doubt that the President was seriously sick. His feeble voice on the Hausa BBC during the last Ramadan festival attested to this. While Information Minister Lai Mohammed, APC National Chairman John Odigie-Oyegun and presidential handlers were busy shouting he was “hale and hearty” during his first medical vacation early in the year, the President came back to put a lie to their sycophantic utterances by publicly confessing, “I have never been this sick.” Similarly, I won’t be surprised if some folks will disagree with our position here until, perhaps by another chance later, Buhari himself acknowledges that he actually hurried home “in the interest of the nation.”
Like I stated, Buhari’s return was a product of pressure. Until Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose insisted that the President was, at a particular time, on life-support, no visit to the President was captured either on photographs or video until almost a month after Fayose’s claim. Till date, there’s no official rebuttal of Fayose’s claim. As soon as the President’s health improved significantly, visits were arranged and Buhari was now seen in pictures with select audience. This, no doubt, was in response to Fayose’s claim, however outlandish it may seem in some quarters.
Shrouding the President’s health condition in mystery or secrecy gave room for diverse insinuations.
Buhari’s euphoric return apparently was not on the card as of last week. A newspaper reported that the President was even laughing at the #OurMumuDonDo protest being staged in Abuja. This goes to show that the President was apparently unperturbed about the protest back home.
And to cap it all, the fact that he would be working from home after his return goes beyond the surface. Our President needs more rest; his recuperating health condition can’t withstand the rigors of the office. Working from home is a good idea but the official reasons adduced for it were too disdainful to the Presidency and our national image. If there were no pressures demanding his resumption or resignation, Buhari would still have been in London. My fear, however, is that the President’s health condition is still frail.
May God grant our President the strength to navigate the ship of the state to safe harbor by 2019. May his health be fully restored and may he govern with the sense of a pan-Nigerian leader that he was elected to be. Like he promised in his address, he should go about reversing the trend of ‘Born to Rule’ and autocratic military mentality that had tainted his past two years in office through equitable distribution of juicy appointments, compensate APC leaders left in the cold for so long with board appointments, reconcile warring elements within his fold, dialogue with legitimate agitators and quell resurgent Boko Haram, kidnappers, ritual killers and armed robbers. Prejudicial actions of some government agencies should also be looked into. Re-jigging his cabinet is as needful as food. I wish our President well.
*Michael West, a media consultant, can be reached via email@example.com