Absentee President Muhammadu Buhari returned to Nigeria this morning from a “medical vacation” in the UK that was originally scheduled for 10 days but ended up lasting from 19 January until 10 March.
Most reasonable people knew, especially after seeing pictures of the emaciated president in London and the 49 day delay in returning, that he was suffering from some illness, but from his departure to his return today, his handlers carried on insisting he was on “medical vacation”, his return had to be delayed due to “tests”, he was “hale and hearty”, and contradicting all this by asking Nigerians to pray for him.
Lagos-based Channels TV toed the official “vacation” line even today as it broadcast pictures of Buhari’s return, but newscaster Amarachi Ubani seemed to deviate from the script when she wished the president a “speedy recovery” at the end of the report. “Speedy recovery” from what?
However, the president didn’t seem to have got the memo that he was not meant to have been absent due to sickness. A Nigerian newspaper reported that he told a meeting of government officials when he arrived in Abuja: “I couldn’t recall being so sick since I was a young man, including in the military with its ups and downs”.
Buhari later addressed the nation, telling Nigerians that: “I am feeling much better now, there may, however, be need to have further follow-ups within some weeks”.
So it is likely that another round of “medical vacation” could be on “within some weeks”. This will be coming after Buhari’s senior officials, including Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, told Nigerians he was “hale and hearty”, was just in London for “routine tests” and the president had returned and said he had never been this sick. You would think these people would coordinate their lies with their principal that they were lying on his behalf.
Buhari still hasn’t disclosed what was wrong with him. But it was also sick that his people continued to lie to Nigerians about the obvious fact that he was sick. It was sickening to watch them insult the intelligence of the people they are supposed to govern. Their sick minds mean that they fail to recognise credibility is vital in any government. And the best ways to gain credibility include honesty, transparency, consistency and showing respect for the people you deal with. But these people lack common decency and their first instincts are to lie, deceive and take Nigerians for granted just because it suits their selfish interests.
The president is back and has said he was sick and it is likely he would need further treatment, which may or may not cure him of that illness that must not be named. Even if he is cured, Nigeria still needs to find a way to rid itself of the plague of locusts that have surrounded the president.