IT is an unkind cut but if I don’t make an unkind cut about the president, who will? Buharideens?
Here is the unkind cut. Nigeria’s finest hour under the current administration happened when President Buhari spent months receiving medical treatment in London, boosting the British economy by pumping into the British medicare system Nigerian tax payer funds that could at least have revamped his own moribund Aso Rock Villa medical centre.
I call the period of President Buhari’s medical exile Nigeria’s finest moment because even the toughest critics of the current administration had to admit that the country experienced a sharp, positive turn around occasioned by the augury of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s leadership. Suddenly, the country appeared to have a renewed commitment to a collective sense of purpose. Osinbajo was providing a symbolism that people could log into, warts and all, across all our fractious divides. They were imperfect, baby steps but every aspect of the polity, especially the economy, responded to that unexpected infusion of leadership symbolism.
Nigerians praying for Buhari to hang on for a little much longer in London so that Osibnbajo could continue to steer the ship of state became the stuff of national wise-cracks and social media memes. I must confess that I began to nurse personal fears for Osinbajo at the time. The cabal is deadly, and he was outshining their man, his boss…
Anyway, while Osinbajo provided leadership and a national sense of purpose on the ground in Nigeria (Buhari would return and swiftly roll back Nigeria to the 17th century), how did President Buhari and his handlers handle the question of his medical safari in London? How did they relate to the Nigerian tax payer who was picking up the tab of President Buhari’s treatment? The answer is summed up in one persona: Femi Adesina. When the history of the Buhari administration is written, Femi Adesina will go down as one of the principal villains: hubristic, arrogant, condescending, and intellectually empty.
Femi Adesina’s illiterate philosophy of his job boils down to one simple notion: President Buhari is too good for Nigeria and Nigerians. He is, in fact, doing them a huge favour when he deigns to be their President. Therefore, citizens ought to be perpetually grateful for this uncommon favour and unparalelled privilege. They should shut up, ask no questions, do as they are told, and praise-sing perpetually. How dare Nigerian citizens ask questions about President Buhari’s health status and history? What nonsense?
The notion that Buhari is doing us a favour and we are in perpetual peonage to him for being unworthy beneficiaries of such a privilege – a notion Femi Adesina wholly incarnates – accounts for the behavioural framework of Buhari’s service as President. He is in fact Nigeria’s most reluctant President, doing the right thing with great reluctance and only if he is dragged kicking and screaming to do it.
This is the perspective from which to understand the insult of a President asking for a second term when we still know very little of his health situation. Many of the ignorant Buharideens being enlisted and unleashed to fan across social media, intimidating citizens, shouting them down, ramming down our throats the idea of Buhari as a favour for which we ought to be perpetually grateful, watched the last American elections. They know that Hillary Clinton had to produce her comprehensive health report. They know that, ever the rule breaker, candidate Trump tried to dodge that bullet but eventually had to fulfil that obligation by going on Dr. Phil to release a letter from his doctor attesting to his good health and fitness to serve the American people in high office.
Now, you may claim that Donald Trump’s was a wuruwuru, arrangee letter and you’d be right. However, the important detail here is the obligation to the American electorate that he could neither dodge nor circumvent. You are applying to them from a job and they have the right to know that you are healthy and fit. Giving out that information is not a favour you are doing them.
So much is wrong with and in Nigeria. Otherwise knowledgeable people are subscribing to and helping to spread the moronic narrative of a Jubril Al-Sudani in Aso Rock, doing us a monumental disservice by diverting attention from the real issues. The real issue is this: President Buhari has dared to ask you for another four years without first providing a comprehensive health audit from his Nigerian and- yes – foreign doctors. This is rudeness to you, the Nigerian people. You hired somebody for four years and he spent a huge chunk of that first term of his appointment junketing from one foreign hospital bed to another. Without providing you a comprehensive health report, he comes to you and says, hey, Mister, I need another four years. Sorry, my health status is privileged information.
Who does that? Where is this rudeness coming from? What enables this disrespect? What underwrites it? Before he declared #NEXTLEVEL – and even had the audacity to corral supposedly apolitical Service Chiefs to the event, never mind the silly spin – the only basis for approaching the Nigerian people ought to have been a declaration of his #HEALTHLEVEL. Then we assess your finances. Only then would you, Buhari, have earned the privilege of entering our presence to present your candidacy and your plan.
Some of our citizens will assess you and support you. Some, like this writer, will say, sorry Ogbeni Buhari, I gave you a chance, but you flunked it. Go back to Daura. Others still will say, we never even gave you a chance in your first appearance. We have not changed our minds.
No matter where a citizen belongs in these three categories, you owe all of us respect. You are applying to us to keep your job. You disrespect Nigerians because you and your handlers know that we do not have critical mass of citizens who are sophisticated enough in civics to know their rights and entitlements.
President Buhari, where is your comprehensive health report?
This admonition applies to all the other non-establishment candidates – including my own candidate whose endorsement statement I am preparing and will release mid-week: Moghalu, Oby, Sowore, Durotoye, et al. All of you are junketting all over the place. None has deemed it necessary to start with a comprehensive health audit, so we know you are fit. How do we change the paradigm if we behave like the establishmentarians we want to sweep away? Respect the Nigerian people: release your health reports.