Like handshake gone beyond the elbow, the rumours swirling around President Muhammadu Buhari’s health have assumed a life of their own. Despite the spirited rebuttals by the President’s spokespersons, and the update that the Presidency released on Sunday, some Nigerians would not just be swayed.
They have remained resolutely sceptical. Unless they see and hear the President address them, they believe all the photos, visits and conversation between the President and the Acting President. Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, are nothing but time-buying, face-saving gimmicks.
The suspicion over the President’s health soared higher on Tuesday with the BBC devoting that day’s edition of its interactive programme, Have Your Say, on President Buhari, and why ailing African Presidents don’t usually come clean on their health status.
Not a few respondents hammered the President and the government, for giving too little information on ‘what the hell is going on’, to borrow Donald Trump’s language. Even two callers from Malawi toed the same line of argument. Very few believe the Presidency had done enough to keep Nigerians, and the rest of the world, abreast of what actually ails the President, and what is really keeping him in London.
Personally, I believe the President is alive, even if he is not in perfect shape. In any case, how many 74-years-old are in ‘perfect shape’? How many 74-years-old strut about without anything eating them or they eating something? Yet, I don’t blame those who don’t believe the President is “hale and hearty”, and are insisting on daily bulletin on his condition. One cannot but excuse their scepticism granting the secrecy that tracked the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua health’s situation. Officials of that government were in perpetual denial.
Even when the man was already brain dead, officials were still maintaining that the President was just doing fine in Saudi Arabia, calling the shots and signing documents from his sick bed. They did that till the truth exploded on their face.
On the extant matter, I was a little disappointed when we were told that Buhari was no longer going to be at his desk on Monday, February 6, as earlier indicated.
But if we have to wait a little longer for him to “complete his cycle of tests”, why not? Nobody, and nothing, waits in perpetuity. Every problem has its expiry date; even situations like this. The only issue is that the elongation of the Buhari’s stay in London has provided further ammunition for the rumour mill.
I will not dwell much on that. Rather, I will reproduce a few letters that some readers sent in response to this column, on the matter, last week.
Please, read and draw your conclusions:
Death rumour: So what?
Shola, two sides of a coin principle, in line with all creations, spiritual or physical, is common to all professions, and that equally includes spokesperson’s job. Sad as the rumour of Buhari’s death would always be, a replica in Yar’Adua’s death-dramatics must have triggered and trailed the despicable act of the miscreants behind it.
Left to me, the media aides to the President should not work up their breath on that as long as their information on the issue is right.
If there are precedents, as stated in your piece, of such a rumour in the past, what the heck is the need for anyone to hype his heartbeats over its replica? Thank God you eventually dropped sentiments for provocative suggestions to President Buhari and his aides on what next to do. Death is a common end to all.
I wish Buhari long life with great accomplishments without the biased leadership stint in place now.
God save Nigeria.
–Lai Ashadele, 07067677806