By James Ibechi
I am not one of those who have an opinion to express about our President, Muhammad Buhari’s medical odyssey. I preferred to join the ‘siddon look’ politically that is. That’s why I refrained from making comments on the issue. But today I have already broken my silence, earlier.
On the human angle of Buhari’s health condition, I pray for him as a father, husband, uncle, cousin or a member of the traditional African extended family system.
He is a President but still he is a human being first. No human chooses to be sick.
We all strive to be healthy in different ways. Some human beings live their lives fit as a fiddle, go to sleep and die. Some are born with different genetic ailments. Some acquire ill health along the route of life but in all these, we have little or no choice.
In the light of the above, it is mind boggling how some so called politicians in the cloak of civil rights protesters, or real and pseudo-human rights activists, arm chair critics and political jobbers with Charley Boy Oputa as egghead have seemingly made a mockery of both the president and the nation through reckless politicizing of the President’s travails, by ask asking him to abandon his course of treatment at London hospital and return to his duty post or resign being President there in London.
Granted that the Federal Government under his administration has not really delivered on all the campaign promises of the APC, but the President has not also chosen to be sick in addition.
Buhari might have been afflicted with some human flaws of judgment but we should not throw the baby away with the bath water.
We should not allow ourselves to be deceived by political turncoats who want to feast on the carcass of a system that is flawed politically.
We have seen ethnic jingoists in action from some parts of the divide. We have heard all those who have bungled their political opportunities to seize the moment. We are faced with selfish predators that pretend to love us more than ourselves while seeking to divide us in the most violent forms.
We have heard from political jobbers who want to seize the moment to get from the back door what they could not get from the front door. Hehehe! Nigerians leave matter.
In all these, while everyone agrees that a healthy president is the best for any nation, the predatory bent of some arguments that have filled the political space is typical of our politicians. Seize every opportunity no matter how obnoxious to be relevant.
This is why many argue that we should build a strong political system devoid of the cult arrangement we have at the moment. From the federal, state to local councils, many Lilliputians believe that they ought to ‘own’ governance; it is either they are there or their proxies are there.
All over the world, nations have had presidents with one form of ailment or even disability or the other. President Roosevelt ruled from the wheelchair, ex-Prime Minister Gordon Brown of Britain was partially blind in one eye but the opposition had never feasted on that.
Former Republican presidential candidate in the United States, John McCain had skin cancer and had problems with his left hand as a result of his travails as a former prisoner of war in Vietnam.
Senator Bob Dole, a former Presidential Candidate in the United States was paralysed in one arm.
In all these, the dignity of the human person has not allowed political opponents to make mincemeat of these individuals.
While we all desire the most cerebrally vibrant, physically and mentally fit president, I really do not appreciate the way our President’s health is being tried to be made made a child’s play by the Likes of Ayo Fayose of Ekiti, former Aviation minister Femi Fani Kayode as well as Charley boy’s protesting group to the global arena.
Really where does political mischief stop and where does patriotism start in all these?
Governor Samuel Ortom urged prayer for our president and urged him to not to hurry home when he’s not yet recovered, many Nigerians hurled scorn on him.
Just today I commented on the same topic and chided Charley boy over the protest, come and see hard comments against me.
When did we start being crassly insensitive, who are those predicting the president’s death, who are those playing the replacement, resignation, North and South ethnic card?
When and where do the personal ambitions and pecuniary interests stop and where does the love of country start? Are we not being faced with individuals who want to seize the moment and put their knives on the ‘national cake’?
Come to think of it, we are supposed to be running a federation, how many of these ‘healthier-than-the president’ are productively contributing to the development of their states and local councils? Why the emphasis on Abuja even when we know that a strong center is desirable?
It is this focus on Abuja that is stalling our development. Why can’t these politicians and do-gooders contribute to their local councils and states?
It is only in this country that the so-called political elite is so predatory on the federal treasury in a diversity of ways. They heat up the polity and make the country a laughing stock in the international community.
A sense of patriotism if it exists in these individuals playing up the political and ethnic cards in different hues should make them strive rather to build a strong system that would make things work out properly and the best candidate gets to do what ought to be done.
Our President is sick but it should not in my mind bring the system to a total halt with debates and puerile political permutations about North-South supremacy lest we tread the former dangerous part to perdition.
Let all these idle channel noise be channeled to productive activities.
Democracy is not deepened with idle chessboard politics; let us do our individual best while praying for the president’s recovery.
No living being no matter how seemingly healthy should wish another dead because as the saying goes, any man’s death diminishes all of us.
Let our political predators be more productive and re-channel their energies to the development of the country. If the ailing president is unproductive, mass unproductivity cannot aid our march to the Promises Land. The world is watching and taking note.
*James Ibechi is a Nigerian journalist and commentator on public affairs, firstname.lastname@example.org.