By Gani Kayode Balogun. (GKB)Jnr.
For the better part of his young presidency, Muhamadu Buhari has battled with ill health.
For a 74 year old man, and despite his spartan like lifestyle, he cannot run away from the reality of an aging body and the consequent age related illnesses.
As a member of the Buhari Campaign Team, I witnessed first hand some of the vigorous and energy sapping campaign the old general endured, sometimes campaigning in about three states in 24 hours!
His illness, and age, has deprived him of the capacity to perform at his optimum, but like every human, the lure of power and an eye on history would not allow him make an objective assessment of what his mind wants, and what his body is capable of delivering.
Unfortunately, political leadership in the Television and Internet age is visual driven. That means that the people want to see their leader as an epitome of human perfection, mentally fit, physically strong and oozing confidence.
They want to see him in action, chairing meetings, signing documents, inspecting projects, engaging stakeholders, and welcoming guests and being welcomed as a guest by his peers.
Now, due to Buhari’s illness, most of these visually stimulating images can be circumvented, even choreographed, but almost total absence from all functions of office is not the right strategy.
In the last few weeks, the President has been absent from FEC meetings, a constitutionally sanctioned mandatory meeting to review, preview and pronounce on activities of government through its organs, Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
Even more worrisome, he was even absent at the Jumat service, the only outlet for Nigerians to see their president!
Now, while I am not advocating for the president to resign, because I still believe his presence would save at least 200 lives, a figure given by one crazy cop in case of Buhari’s demise, as if Buhari is immortal. It will also ensure that he stays till 2019 to get the people’s verdict on his less than inspiring leadership.
But, he should, as a matter of urgency, take some time off to properly treat his ailment without the added pressure of governing 180 million Nigerians, an Herculean task for a fully fit man, not to talk about an old, sick man.
I have an old mother,on whom I have spent the biggest chunk of whatever wealth I have amassed in this life on, just to ensure that her dusk is prolonged for as long as it can, simply because I cannot bear to see her suffer, imagine how it will be for the children of the general, who have known him all their lives as a mean, lean ramrod straight disciplined soldier, waste away on the platter of political correctness, power games and a perceived loss of influence by those closest to him.
If Buhari were to be my father, he would be on indefinite leave by now, being taken care of by his doctors, far from the madding crowd of Abuja, until he has recovered sufficiently to resume as President.
It is not a novel idea. Presidents have been incapacitated before, and most of them recovered to finish their tenure. But the power he clings to jealously, even at the detriment of his health, belongs to God anyway, who can take it anytime.
Nigerians are suffering, there is a general sense of lack of direction from this administration. There are so much weekly diversions can achieve, sooner or later, people would see through the ruse.
The most patriotic thing the president can do is to set us free. We will continue to pray for his recovery, but not at the expense of our country.
I wish him well.
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