By, Israel A. Ebije
If many Nigerians were in doubt over the state of President Muhammadu Buhari health, the voice broadcast across media platforms on the occasion of Eid celebration has only made a resounding statement of his fragile state of health after spending more than fifty days on medical vacation in London. Once again, another antic by the presidency to silence “political” enemies have gone terribly wrong.
Buhari will not be the first president in recorded history to fall sick while holding the reigns of power, and Nigerians will not be the first to demand updates of health status of their president. In the United States of America, four presidents died of natural causes. William Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Warren G. Harding and Franklin Roosevelt. President Roosevelt suffered from polio, while America was at war with the Axis forces in the Second World War. He ruled his country for more than ten years before succumbing to health challenges. Sickness is therefore not a problem ordinarily, but the its seriousness or the manner it is managed is important.
The charged atmosphere in Buhari’s first medical vacation has dissipated and the need for a shabby media stunt is not necessary. Nigerians have come to terms with the fact that their president is managing health related challenges. Nobody is pressuring the presidency to produce Buhari. Only a few are asking feebly the cause of the ailment and the cost implication to the country. The horridly packaged Sallah message is an all time low, a desperate attempt, which may have landed Nigeria extra meters deep in its socio-political miasma.
Now enemies of Nigeria within have received proper coordinate on the possible extent of his ailment. This position throws the nation to the precipice as governance weakness rating plunges to an all time low. Once governance is perceived as weak, tilted to favor a region or religion, agitations, threats become the treasured occupation of enemies of the country. We must realize that some people profit from Buhari’s absence, while another group would benefit from his presence.
Those who would profit from PMB’s absence are already digging in to loot the treasury, positioning themselves and cronies politically. Already some politicians are entrenched, holding regular meetings, appointing themselves to replace our ailing president in 2019. These class of individuals see the fortune in Buhari’s feeble health. If they were careful before now, the broadcast has further motivated them to spread tentacles and explore measures to push their ambition to reality no matter whose ox is gored.
I am very certain, the media managers of the president are not in the picture of the horrible media spin, which has violated the norms for a president to make national broadcast in the official language of the country. Speaking Hausa language to address the nation on the occasion of the Eid celebration is seen as slight on other Nigerians who feel more convinced that the president is indeed championing a leadership aimed at promoting his religion, region. Amidst secessionist agitations, skepticism, suspicion of marginalization and Islamazition agenda, it is indeed a terrible mistake even a roadside media manager will flinch away from at this time.
Whoever is behind the broadcast has simply gone beyond the limits to ridicule the administration of president Buhari by projecting severity of his health status and presenting him as promoter of ethno-religious cleavage based Nigeria. No leader, even in peacetime Nigeria has ever made national broadcast in his own ethnic language except for governors and regional governments managed by Premiers. For the records, Northern Hausas are not the only Muslims in Nigeria. The Igbo’s, Ijaw’s, Nupe’s, Tiv’s, Igala’s, Anga’s, Jukun’s, Calabar’s, Ikwere’s, others have Muslims in their midst who would have felt better if the president had spoken in a common lingua acceptable under our multiplicity.
It is sad, the fragmented camps in the presidency deliberately hid the president, restricted him from speaking on national matters when it would have been instructive for him to do so the first time he left on medical vacation. The only time he spoke was with governor Ganduje of Kano at a prayer session organized for his speedy recovery. This would have been the right time to keep the president out of the spotlight, knowing he would sound very painful, labored and exhausted. They have actually alluded to media reports of voice impairment. Instructive to state that impairment is not only when an individual cannot speak.
It’s really not cheery news as the good, the bad and ugly of the society are abreast with near true health position of the president. Nigeria is still operating on the fuel of grace and not on the will or might of leadership. Already speculations are high that the October Igbo quit notice deadline is programed to unsettle the nation and pave way for military to takeover government. As ridiculous as the speculation is, one can no longer wave it off especially as the weak system cannot pick the hate-speakers or the secessionist warlords. While the political hawks are busy offering back ups for the war songs of the so called “youths”, the situation could be exploited counter productively.
Once again, those behind the broadcast have only made a bad situation look worse. They have presented Buhari as an ethnic champion. They have exposed Nigeria to a more vulnerable height as a country bereft of strong leadership. The presidents goodwill message would have been transmitted as a statement or left at the level of interview fit for a Hausa transmitted radio station. Converting to a nation broadcast is a sad error.
Ebije lives in Abuja. He can be reached via: [email protected] or @ebijeisrael.com