Behind Buhari’s Euphoric Return


Michael West

It is gladsome that President Muhammadu Buhari is back, looking recovered and strong. Every Nigerian, I mean every well-meaning Nigerian, is happy to see him return alive. His long absence from the scene, expectedly, had created shades of opinions, legal, moral and subjective pontifications in public discourse. The fact remains, however, that nobody ever wished the President dead. Contrary to diverse fabrications and lies being spread on the social media and which are being ascribed to persons in the opposition camp, there’s no iota of truth in the unfounded stories that anyone wished the President dead. Those asking to know the true state of the President’s health made a legitimate demand which didn’t translate to wishing him dead.

A lot has been said, written and discussed about what should be the next line of action for the President in the media. Therefore, I won’t recapitulate the ‘hit-the-ground-running’ calls on the President; rather, I’m persuaded to rightly situate the plots that led to the hurried arrival of President Buhari back home ahead of the ‘appropriate’ time for discharge based on his physicians’ approval. President Buhari, indeed, hurriedly returned home consequent upon suffocating pressure at home and lately in London.

There’s no doubt that the President was seriously sick. His feeble voice on the Hausa BBC during the last Ramadan festival attested to this. While Information Minister Lai Mohammed, APC national chairman John Odigie-Oyegun, and presidential handlers were busy shouting he was “hale and hearty” during his first medical vacation early in the year, the President came back to put a lie to their sycophantic utterances by publicly confessing that “I have never been this sick.” Similarly, I won’t be surprised if some folks will disagree with our position here until, perhaps by another chance later, Buhari himself acknowledges that he actually hurried home “in the interest of the nation.”

Like I stated, Buhari’s return was a product of pressure. Until Ekiti State’s Governor Ayodele Fayose insisted that the President was, at a particular time, on life-support, no visit to the President was captured either on photographs or video until almost a month after Fayose’s claim. Till date, there’s no official rebuttal of Fayose’s claim. As soon as the President’s health improved significantly, visits were arranged and Buhari was now seen in pictures with selected audience. This, no doubt, was in response to Fayose’s claim, however outlandish it may seem in some quarters.

A caller on a newspaper review program on radio in Lagos recently said a man in his church gave testimony of how he was placed on a life-support machine in the morning to regain stability due to his frail health condition. To the glory of God, he said the man was discharged later in the evening and he had since been improving. This story shows that being on a life-support machine does not mean an ‘out-of-hand’ situation. And one could stay on life-support machine for a short or long period depending on the seriousness of the condition. Shrouding the President’s health condition in mystery or secrecy gave room for diverse insinuations.

Buhari’s euphoric return apparently was not on the card as at last week. A national daily reported that the President was even laughing at the #OurMumuDonDo protest being staged in Abuja. This goes to show that the President was apparently unperturbed about the protest back home. When the atmosphere became hostile to the Charlie Boy-led protest, it was suspended for the organizers to re-strategize. But the real heat that hurriedly forced Buhari out of the Abuja House, London might not be unconnected with the permit granted by the Metropolitan Police in London to Nigerians to stage ‘siege protests’ in front of the building. This is in addition to the mockery of the whole scenario trending on the international media. Unconfirmed reports claim that there had been media pressure on the British government about Buhari’s indefinite medical vacation in the United Kingdom. Having considered the global attention and the attendant loss of goodwill the London protest would generate, it was therefore expedient for the President to leave before it became too late.

Snippets in respect of this narrative are squarely based on available facts. One, if they knew ahead that President Buhari would be home soonest, Pastor Enoch Adeboye of the Redeemed Christian Church of God would not have belaboured himself flying to London to see the him. Buhari was airborne barely 18 hours after the Pastor visited him. Two, Femi Adesina, the President’s chief spokesman, issued the statement announcing the arrival of the President at the early hours of Saturday, precisely at 12.30 am; the same day the president returned. Three, it was alleged that the Vice President got wind of his Principal’s imminent return at daybreak on Saturday. These, in my opinion, are salient proofs that our President indeed hurriedly returned home; not based on his physicians’ advice as we were made to believe. And to cap it all, the fact that he would be working from home goes beyond the surface. Our President needs more rest; his recuperating health condition can’t withstand the rigors of the office. Working from home is a good idea but the official reasons adduced for it were too disdainful to the presidency and our national image. If there are no pressures demanding his resumption or resignation, President Buhari would still have been in London as at now. My fear, however, is that the President’s health condition is still frail.

It is not patriotic for anybody to advance the nest of division on account of our President’s health. Like he noted in his widely-criticized address, it is mortal to fall ill. Nobody should cry more than the bereaved in this matter. Most of those hauling insults at other people, making false allegations and pretending to be more Buhari than Aisha or Daura should please cease fire. Many of those who regale themselves as ‘direct descendants’ of Sai Baba as if only their votes enthroned the man should please take it easy. Social media platforms steam with hate, despicable and highly divisive posts, comments and opinions for no meaningful reasons whatsoever .

May God grant our President the strength to navigate the ship of the state to safe harbor by 2019. May his health be fully restored and may he govern with the sense of a pan-Nigerian leader that he was elected to be. Like he promised in his address, he should go about reversing the trend of ‘Born to Rule’ and autocratic military mentality that had tainted his previous two years in office through equitable distribution of juicy appointments, compensate APC leaders left in the cold for so long with board appointments, reconcile warring elements within his fold, dialogue with legitimate agitators and quell resurgent Boko Haram, kidnappers, ritual killers and armed robbers. Prejudicial actions of some government agencies should also be looked into. Re-jigging his cabinet is as needful as food. I wish our President well.

–Michael West, a Media Consultant, wrote in via