Friday, July 7, 2017

Buhari’s Health And A Divided Nation

By Paul Orie
From the on set we have developed a culture which has made us irredeemably poised to be at war at any moment. This is a nasty culture Nigerians inherited from the founding fathers of a troubled nation to distort obvious facts. It does seem we are not bothered if Nigeria is tom into shreds.
This is the situation this ugly culture has placed us today with our political leaders not even thinking of reversing it with a culture of consensus building to help the nation grow politically and economically. President Muhammadu Buhari’s ill-health has indeed provided a platform for Nigerians of all shades of opinion, demonstrating how divided we are over critical national issues. Indeed the President’s health has created another source of cleavage among Nigerians especially the political class. There is no doubt that President Buhari  is sick.

His few public appearances shortly before he flew to London to see his medical doctors, attests to this. His picture while receiving the rescued Chibok girls is evident of Mr. President’s ill health. But no one knows exactly what ails him. Is it cancer, brain tumor, kidney or liver problem? What exactly is wrong with the President? Only his Nigerian and London medical teams can answer this question. As the needless debates over the President’s health condition simmers, he is temporarily not on the driver’s seat driving Nigeria to her dream land because of his unknown ailment that has dragged on for almost half of the year 2017.

His refusal or failure to disclose the nature of his ailment has triggered controversy leaving Nigerians with no option but to speculate. The president’s silence has equally not helped. But the whole issue of the president’s health status is like a storm in a tea cup because there are examples for us to draw from in other climes. For example, late President Richard Nixon of the United States US, in a mild argument with his wife, said a politician’s life is like a fish in the bowl. An open book so to speak.

What is unusual about our leader been sick? It is equally baffling that eminent Nigerians especially politicians engage in  fruitless debate on whether he is sick or not rather than devoting their time and energy to proffering solutions for the ailing economy while UK doctors do their job of restoring President Buhari’s health. Without been told, the President’s health has cast doubt in the minds of  both local and international investors. Will the present state of affairs created by the this secrecy about Mr. President’s ill status not affect their investments particularly in Nigeria where policy inconsistency has continued to disrupt investments? This should be the primary concern of our political leaders and not the unpromising polemics they stir daily regarding Buhari’s  illness.

As the President battles for the restoration of his health, eminent Nigerians are engaged in unproductive arguments over his undisclosed illness. Some confidently argue he will win the presidential elections in 2019. Aisha Buhari, his wife had assured Nigerians with soothing words that her husband’s health is not as bad as people speculate, suggesting that people paint false pictures of the president’s health. Aisha is also guilty of raising the hope  of Nigerians becaue their president can also be serious ill.

 The national leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu accused some commentators making comments capable of derailing the president’s progressive agenda, adding that Nigeria is in good shape. To discerning minds, the APC leader got everything wrong as regards the president’s illness especially his (Asiwaju’s) comments that the rapport or understanding between the President and his vice has stabilised the economy.

The president assuring Nigerians that, “there is no cause for worry” is neither helpful. Nigerians are visibly worried about their leader’s health particularly since he has not deem it fit to let them know what the problem is. This secret health condition which has kept him off his seat is sending wrong signals to all categories of Nigeria’s including both local and international business community.

This is the truth. It is worth stressing that Nigeria, as a nation cannot achieve stability and meaningful growth in the absence of national consensus. Our political leaders should note this point and start the process of consensus building. Mr. President’s unknown health condition should not balkanise us.
Mr. Orie, a public affairs analyst, wrote from Lagos.  

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