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Friday, 5 May 2017

Politics: The President Is Sick, So What?


Was written By Olalekan Waheed Adigun 


The trending news report for the third (or fourth) time in a row, President Muhammadu Buhari has missed the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting fueling insinuations that he must be “critically ill”.


The report gathered according to some online media platforms reported on Tuesday, May 2, 201, that the President in fact reported to his office holding meetings with some officials but this does little to refute doubts on his health because a day before, the president was expected to
address the nation’s hardworking workers on May Day which he failed to do. The efforts of the Wife of the President, Aisha Buhari, to “clear the air” on her husband’s health appeared to have added to the suspicions that things were not well with the nation’s Number One citizen.

Like most patriotic Nigerians, I wish the President well and hope he succeeds. But my fear for him today is simply those so-called “Cabals” that have exploited his failing health to take over his administration. The anti-corruption war appears to be tuning down. The “cabal”, allegedly, has been hiding the President and engage in looting spree. They have now arrogated powers to themselves that even the President himself does not have. This is what you get when people ask, “Who is the Presidency?” But, should the President’s health condition at any time be an issue? Is the President not just a mortal like any of us that can fall ill, or even give up the ghost at any time even without prior warning? What is the big deal in anyone falling sick? Let’s rid him of the status of President he is just human!

Why I am of the view that the President should just simply resign to attend to his health and make history as the first African to do so. But, in the case, he may choose (or not) to take my advice in which case both can be justified. I don’t know, for instance, an US president that have resigned due to poor health. I am also aware a total of eight out of 45 US president have died in office, out of which four were assassinated. Of those that died of “natural courses” none disclosed their health status publicly and none resigned. In this case, there is nothing really unusual about the President not declaring his health status publicly if the American presidential system we copy doesn’t allow for such!

It is understandable for people to play politics with the president’s health. In Nigeria, everything seems to be politics, including something as petty as Jollof Rice. In January 1992, 67-year old US President George H. Bush suddenly ill and collapsed at a state dinner being given for him on a night at the home of the Japanese Prime Minister, Kiichi Miyazawa a “big” as this news was, no responsible US politician made a political capital of it. It was normal for anyone to fall ill and at any time. No one told the President to resign due to his poor health. Buhari has not collapsed in a foreign country, yet some people are calling for his impeachment even though the Constitution doesn’t say so!

The President is ill, we all know. His handlers cannot hide that fact anymore. Like I said in a previous piece on the subject of the President’s health, his handlers should simply have come out clean on the president’s health status rather than this weekly drama as to whether the president will attend the weekly FEC meeting or not. If they have done that it will then have been the case of: I’m sick, so what?

When next anyone asks for the president’s health status, their response should be the following lines from David Aragon’s song So What?  Which goes thus (hopefully I will get the lines correct):

So what if I'm crazier than crazy?
So what if I'm sicker than sick?
So what if I'm out of control?
Maybe that's what I like about it
So what?
So what?

That the president’s ill is not a big deal. The big deal is how to handle such without necessarily creating an atmosphere of tensions!

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