By: Kenneth Kaunda Adamu
Only in fiery tales or movies one confront superhumans or some weird creatures that have conquered sickness or display incredible strength. In Hollywood movies, you can always see the character -hero imbued with the extra-ordinary strength or capacity to act marvelously. Even Nigeria’s Nollywood movies are adopting this trend. And some Nigerians, addicted to it, are erroneously beginning to think their leaders should be that prodigious too.
In movies, one could throw himself into the jungle and solely wrestle any animal that dare challenge him for trespass on the land. He could jump into a deep gully and come out unharmed. Such is the power of fiction, the strength of arts which only belong to the realm of metaphysics.
But man in the reality world has no such luxury or strength. His body composition is structured to respond to external stimuli and inhales everything, whether good, bad or dangerous. So, he becomes vulnerable to assorted attacks by bacteria and viruses. Also, when he eats a badly cooked “eba” or “amala” with ewedu soup, he is bound to have a running stomach.
In Africa, even hunters of wild animals, who by the nature of their trade are exposed to all manner of herbs, from which drugs are derived also fall sick. Medical doctors who heal others also fall sick and sometimes, die from the ailment.
That’s why in palaces of Kings and Queens around the world, there are Sickbays, nurses and physicians because they know, one day, the King or queen must become ill. In Aso Rock, the seat of Nigeria’s number One citizen has a clinic because they know the occupant of the Villa inhales foul air from politicians constantly and is vulnerable to ailments at intervals.
Even framers of the Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution acknowledged the frailty of human system to the menacing and consuming power of disease, sickness or ailments. The Constitution makers knew that in spite of the enormous powers some power-drunk Nigerian Presidents flaunt sometimes, they are susceptible to sickness.
In order that the Constitution made provision for the President to take care of his health and defined in floating details how he can temporarily relinquish power to his vice or deputy while absent. The procedures are clearly spelt out and need no recounting here. It is written in a simple, conversational language and so, down to earth that one does not need to be a lawyer to decode it.
In the case of the office of Mr. President, the law begins with an order, directing him to transmit a letter to the National Assembly, requesting their approval to proceed on annual or medical leave, and further, it directs him to clone his Vice President with the power to function in the capacity of Acting President pending his return and blabla… It explains why Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is Nigeria’s acting President now in the absence of Buhari and so, there is no leadership vacuum.
President Muhammedu Buhari (PMB) Nigeria’s most pragmatic leader is ill. His ailment is eloquent testimony of the power of nature over man. Sickness is no respecter of persons. It has no tribe or religion. It does not fete friends and scorn at foes. It has no political party or loyalists. It would not open its doors for aunties and ignore uncles. As far as it is concerned, both men and women are prone to its attacks any day, anytime.
Therefore, in the last two weeks, sickness lodged its unchallengeable power on President Buhari, who initially took 10 days vacation to attend to issues of his personal health in London. At the expiration of the first 10 days, Buhari’s doctors said “he’s not good to go yet,” hence he has to collect results of series of medical tests conducted on him; the outcome of some, might still require fresh tests.
As a President amenable to the rule of law, President Buhari again transmitted to the National Assembly a second letter requesting the extension of his vacation. And the National Assembly obliged by granting Buhari vacation extension. No man or institution would ever reject such a request and besides, it is his fundamental human right, just like every other Nigerian.
All public servants and indeed, those in the private sector, stampede their bosses to grant them medical vacation each time they fall sick. And employers have a moral, religious and official duty to grant it. These are plain, bare facts at the disposal of everybody.
But some strange uproar has trailed the absence of Buhari, whom Nigerians know is receiving treatment in London. The interest in Mr. President’s health condition is understandable. For millions of Nigerians, it is inspired by the genuine love for their President; but for a few mischief makers, it spurred by satanic inclinations and lust for power.
Unfortunately, what they have failed to realize is that the health status of serving high profile personalities or leaders globally is not easily divulged. It is not only peculiar to Nigeria. What every Nigerian deserves or ought to know is the fact of the ailment of their President and the progress of recovery. This much has been officially released. But demanding to be intimated with graphic details of the health afflictions of President Buhari is untenable.
Even in private capacity, some Nigerians conceal their ailments from certain people. They even hide it from family members. What logic makes them think, the case of Mr. President should be different?
As it is customary with Nigerians, who always prefer the odd and grotesque, speculations have rented the air predicting Buhari’s severe health afflictions. Some have pronounced him dead on social media. Others have started jostling for the leadership vacuum his likely death might create. These are banal thoughts with no bearing with the reality, near President Buhari’s condition currently.
It is startling to know that the motivation of some misguided elements in Nigeria by declaring President Buhari critically ill or dead is how to fill the vacancy, in the event he is incapacitated or even dead. The plot of these unconscionable charlatans is to propagate the message of a sick and incapacitated President Buhari to Nigerians in order to dissuade them about his ability to lead Nigeria. They aim at truncating the possibility of his contesting re-election in 2019, citing health reasons. But it is a baseless wish and God Almighty will never allow it happen according to their desires.
But that’s the expression of the evil heart of men. It is the dark side of forces aligned with the devil. Anywhere in the world, a sick person invokes sympathy. This empathy flows naturally in words and prayers from both friends and foes, for his quick recovery.
And for this reason, why must the case of Buhari be different? Why would some Nigerians celebrate the fake severity of the President’s illness or his death? Why would some Nigerians intentionally cleanse themselves of any humanism about Buhari? Did President Buhari also say he was superhuman in any of his campaign promises and so, has violated any social contract with Nigerians by falling sick?
But wishes are not horses. If they were, even beggars would ride. So, President Buhari is neither severely sick as insinuated nor dead as speculated. Enemies of Nigeria who have proclaimed his death are rather unknowingly praying God Almighty to prolong his life on earth. That’s the irony they hate to hear, but it is irreversible because they cannot control his destiny.
Leadership of a turbulent Nigeria alone is a sickness of its own. No Nigerian president or leader has ever spent his entire tenure in the Presidential villa without intermittently visiting the hospital within or abroad and Buhari’s case is no exception.
Mr. President, don’t be perturbed by the discordant voices of detractors in the country. You need to be healthy, sound and strong to continue with your laudable task of rebuilding Nigeria, a crumbled nation unapologetically still being messed up in its ruination by the devilish monks of power. Millions of the Nigerian masses beseech Almighty God minutely to grant you quick healing and safe return to Nigeria soonest. Nigerians anxiously look forward to this day.
Adamu, is a public affairs commentator and contributed this piece from Lokoja, Kogi State.