By Louis Okoroma
It was no small relief for many Nigerians across the country in the past couple of weeks over the health situation of President Muhammadu Buhari. Many well-meaning Nigerians have been on edge and have been involved in prayers for the quick recovery of President Buhari who has been in London for more than six weeks on medical grounds.
The anxiety was made thicker by the fact that this is the second time that the president would go for medical leave this year raising fears of what would become of the nation and the Presidency in the event that the he (Buhari) is unable to continue to discharge his duties.
As an honest and straight-forward person who does not pretend about things, and a man of integrity, qualities which are related to his long sojourn in the military; it was PMB that gave Nigerians an insight into his health status. On his return from his first medical trip, President Buhari told Nigerians that he could not remember being sick the way he had been in recent days. Thus, the President confounded his critics who were notorious for asking for disclosures of what was the ailment that bothered the him.
Having disclosed that he was very sick unlike his medical history showed all through his life till he became a septuagenarian, those who continued to pester Presidential aides for a full account of what ails the President, cannot but be trouble-makers who seek to disturb the peace of the nation.
Thankfully however, in the past couple of weeks, all negative speculation about the health condition of the President has been put to rest, following the twin visit of selected political leaders and government officials to London to see the President who is fast recuperating.
The pictures and testimonies of the governors of the two leading political parties who were in to London to meet with PMB told a lot of stories. It is the story of a man, who loves his country, but who has suffered from an undisclosed ailment. It is also the story of a man on whose head, the creator of heaven and earth heard the prayers and supplications of millions of his countrymen for his quick recovery. PMB is so admired and loved and Nigeria, held in high esteem despite its shortcomings that prayers for the recovery of our President was commissioned and carried out in foreign countries by friendly leaders.
The take-away from the issue of PMB’s health issue and the happy story behind it is that, the life of everyone is in the hands of God and not in the hands of his fellow men or his detractors or those who delight in bad or fake news. By giving him his healing to the point that he is now resting to gather energy for his return according to Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the creator has vindicated PMB as an innocent man, a righteous man, whom he would not allow to shed tears or tears be shed in his name.
The period of absence of PMB has been trying for most Nigerians including the Federal Government which has to keep running without the Commander-in-Chief, a major factor for national stability and confidence. However, credit needs to be given to Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo who has tirelessly kept forte for President Buhari all through this period.
Unlike what the nation experienced in the past with ailing Presidents, Buhari displayed his innocence and integrity by voluntarily transmitting a letter to the National Assembly, as required by the Constitution to the effect that he would be absent and that the Vice President, should hold fort in his absence.
While Professor Osinbajo has discharged the role of Acting President with maturity, candour and humility, the good working chemistry between the two men means that the ship of State has been in proper gear despite PMB’s absence to the admiration of Nigerians and the international community. Even while in far- away London receiving medical attention, the patriot in Buhari has often compelled him to rub minds with his deputy, the Acting President on matters of State, to ensure that the right decisions are made with the support of presidential authority.
It is to the credit of President Buhari, and a testimony to his charisma and influence that in his absence, government has been working smoothly. This shows that PMB’s body language fame is real and has staying power. Critics of the President would surely not like this situation and would surely have wished otherwise.
Another remarkable attribute of PMB, which his health status controversy has brought to the fore, and which is part of the reason for his staying power, is the fact that the man holds malice to no one and with no one. While sensational characters on social media and those doing the bidding of opposition elements have done everything in the books to provoke the President and draw him into a public exchange of insults, as revealed by Mallam Garba Shehu, a ranking media adviser to the President, the amiable leader has always remained his jovial self, finding reasons to look at the bright side of things and doing his utmost with the loyal support of committed aides, to revamp the ailing national economy and get it out of recession.
PMB did not choose to be sick and the fact that the country is doing well under his guidance is a testimony to the fact that he enjoys the favour of providence. The statistics of economic performance in the country continues to inspire hope and optimism. A recent report in the authoritative Business Day newspaper shows that Nigeria is still a favoured destination for international business. Interestingly, more than any African country, foreign investors continue to make inquiries about investable opportunities in the country buoyed by the stability being witnessed in the hitherto unstable foreign exchange market.
That Nigeria is pulling through despite present challenges should be a source of pride to all Nigerians. Those who wish the President ill, and the US-based Cable News Network (CNN), who think the fact that the leader of a country is sick and has not set foot on the country in two months, are downright ignorant and childish. The US like Nigeria, had once had sick leaders and the country had come out strong and did not go under.
Thus as the nation looks forward to the imminent return of a medically-fit and freshly energised President, it behooves on all Nigerians to be thankful and look forward to the future with confidence.
Louis Okoroma, a political analyst and media consultant, wrote from Abuja and can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org