PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari departed Abuja House in London on 19 August for Nigeria after a 105-day medical vacation. On arrival, all nooks and crannies of the country were lighted up in euphoria, pirouetting and funfair particularly the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and All Progressives Congress, APC-controlled states.
His arrival irrefutably changed the mood and created unusual cavalcades right from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja to the Presidential Villa akin to where Nigeria successfully dared Argentina or Brazil in a World-Cup competition.
Indeed, it was a heroic welcome to the President. Those who mischievously peddled frightening rumours as bad as living on a life-saving-machine and other terrible conjectures were chagrinned, ashamed and reduced to nothing. Angrily, they cleverly opted for soft-landings as their grievous deceits expired on Buhari’s arrival. For normal persons, the psychosis ought to padlock their mouths for eternity. Unfortunately, no sooner had the President concluded his national address as scheduled than they started the raucous attacks simultaneously as robots fighting over nothing, fumingly misconstruing every line to either a blunder, gaucherie or misused opportunity.
To start with, do these folks truly have blood running in their veins? The truth is that President Buhari’s return disappointed their malicious deceptions, how much more resumption. How could any right-thinking person expect a President or anyone resuming from a medical vacation to outline economic blueprints on the first day? Interestingly, the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo since inauguration has been the chairman of the economic team of the administration which indicates that if President Buhari didn’t embark on the medical vacation, the same policies Professor Osinbajo continued with as the acting President would have been in progress. This therefore deflates the quarrels of the roaring critics believably over fears on anti-corruption battle. If everyone attested that Prof. Osinbajo performed outstandingly throughout the period as acting President with the administration’s economic policies, why then the commotion for new economic directions?
Emphatically, the presidential address was principally designed for gratitude to the people over prayers, inspirations and love extended to him while out of the country. Overwhelmingly, the President didn’t mince words to state that while in London, he was following events at home. The evil alliance is worse than that of cantankerous, pugnacious and primitive women at the village markets.
How does rat invasion of Presidential Villa amount to issues of national importance that a President worked from home office rather than main office be blown out of proportion? Did Americans run away when similar incident; rats at the Whitehouse was reported some years ago? The tracing of 56 exquisite houses in highbrow areas to a public officeholder and many other aberrations meant nothing to them. In a nutshell, these desperate tetchy doomsayers; from ill-health to speech, now rat invasion, requires maturity and perseverance to handle.
Seemingly, ignorance is responsible for the irritating dispositions particularly, the distinction between a Vice President standing in for the President when on official trip outside the country and the Vice President operating as the acting President; thus, leading to the pandemonium over the medical vacation. Clearly, the two scenarios are not the same. When a Vice President is representing the President by informal arrangements albeit on official matters, he cannot perform the key functions of the President such as signing or endorsing documents requiring presidential assents. He can only act as any other government official mandated by the President to represent him.
However, where the Vice President stepped into the office of the acting President in compliance to Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, the acting President, has unfettered powers to perform all the functions of the President. By implication, no vacuum existed in the office of the President throughout the period of Buhari’s vacation. The Constitution consciously and proactively paired the duo in view of such developments. Thus, the Vice President serving the nation for three months as acting President is constitutionally no strange development. Thumbs-up to the federal government for introducing Civic Education in Basic Education Curriculum lately.
The dramatis personae even failed to call to mind that the President already presented economic blueprints at the beginning of the year which the administration is tenaciously working with, and will on October 1 still address the nation in commemoration of the Independence Day celebration about a month away. In other words, the brief address presented by the President was not only apt but unique. If after the handover and briefing by Prof. Osinbajo, the President alongside the Federal Executive Council, FEC, after evaluating developments, have cause to modify some policies, certainly, the nation will be abreast of them. The greater but bitter truth is that anyone whohas not come to terms with the present administration’s determinedly laudable efforts in fixing the rotten system is either naïve or biased irrespective of prominence. With the mammoth crowds that jubilated uncontrollably during Buhari’s return, it is logically clear that overwhelming majority of citizens are not deceived by these detractors. Thus, ride on Mr. President.
Or perhaps, the clique naively misconstrued medical vacation as vocational trip that provides new strategies and know-hows. Should that be the case, literally note, that President Buhari travelled for medication, ill-health and therefore couldn’t have learnt new economic policies from his physicians. Sadly, all in the ranting gangs were part or beneficiaries of the previous administrations’ excesses that never thought of the future of the country except to divert public funds as no-man’s land taking advantage of the lacunas and poor legal justice system to maneuver. Simply, the commotion is borne out of antagonism, pessimism and witlessness. To have a strong opposition is, apart from being a democratic norm, a desideratum but where it is misconstrued as nuisance, loquacity or farcicality, it abysmally becomes a gargantuan problem.
Carl Umegboro, a public affairs analyst, wrote from Lagos.