Finally, President Muhammadu Buhari returned from his medical vacation in London United Kingdom. Contrary to all the reports from the villa and the Ministry of Information, indeed the president was ill. Then of course, contrary to very many reports of the president’s vegetative state or incapacitation, President Buhari was not any of those. Surely, he looked pale, a bit emaciated and older, but at least, he walked by himself after enduring a six-hour flight and a chopper commute from Kaduna to the presidential villa.
As they say, we eventually heard from the “horse’s mouth” upon his return last week Friday. The President as a brutally frank person finally admitted he is ill. Speaking during a meeting with his top officials, including the Acting president, ministers, and by some state governors and top officials of his party, the All Progressives Congress, Buhari said he had never been ‘so sick’ in his life. He revealed that he underwent lots of tests and even had a blood transfusion. The President also hinted that he would be doing some follow-ups on his health in a few weeks. Hear him, “I have rested as much as humanly possible, I have received I think the best of treatment I could receive. I couldn’t recall being so sick since I was a young man, including in the military with its ups and downs. I found out that technology is going so fast”.
Continuing, the president revealed what may be ailing him: “blood transfusions, going to the laboratories, and so on and so forth, but I am very pleased that we, when I say we, I mean the government and the people all over are trying to keep up with technology. I couldn’t recall when last I had blood transfusion; I couldn’t recall honestly I can say in my 70 years. I couldn’t remember this drug that Nigerians take so much, very common. I think one of our terrible things is self-drug administration. We have to trust our doctors more and trust ourselves more, the places I visited they only take drugs when it is absolutely necessary. They don’t just swallow everything.”
From the president’s comment during the meeting, it is easy for doctors to decipher what it is that troubled the former General. And to be sure, the advice he gave on self-medication is germane to us as one of the ills of this society. Nigerians pretend to know what ails them and even the drug or quantity to administer. As evidence has shown, our common analgesics taken improperly can lead to anaemia and complete loss of most of our vital organs. Anaemia is simply a state of having insufficient blood. His medical advisory should be used by the Ministry of Health to help create awareness around the country. But that is also to mean that there will be medical personnel, equipment and enough hospitals to go round.
After his 49 days of medical vacation, and looking at the fact that the president still looks frail, it is our considered opinion that he rests further. In fact, the president should not work till he goes back to the United Kingdom for a date with his doctors in a few weeks’ time. There is no need to exacerbate his health just to please the skeptics.
Surely, the country needs healthy individuals to pilot its affairs, but ignoring the frailty in all of us is hypocritical. Asking the president to resign because he came back from vacation looking frail will not work. We believe this president is honourable enough to know when the time is up. If after seeing his doctors in a few weeks’ time and they advise him to consider slowing on his schedule, surely Buhari will step aside.
Ours is a constitutional democracy. It is times like this that made the framers of our constitution to have the position of vice president as integral part of our laws. And this vice president, in Buhari’s absence has done very well. Little wonder the president unequivocally, in his first meeting, since his return that Osinbajo will have to continue in that role of acting president as he continues his rest. In his remark, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said it was satisfying for Nigerians and the Federal Executive Council to receive the President back in the country “hale and hearty”.
The vice president thanked the president for respecting the constitution and entrusting power to him before travelling, noting that it was a tough job “going around in borrowed robes”.