By Julius Oweh
President Muhammadu Buhari is not just a Nigerian from Daura and a retired general at that. There are other retired Generals that Nigerians do not give a damn about (apology to President Goodluck Jonathan). Buhari is the husband of Aisha and a father to her children. But Buhari is more than that. He is the president and commander-in chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and has the collective mandate of the people to be in charge of their security and welfare. And this is the most important reason patriotic Nigerians are concerned about his health status. Furthermore, the president enjoys tremendous goodwill among Nigerians because of his integrity and credibility credentials. And that is why some of us are disturbed that spin doctors and cabal are hijacking the health status of the man for their selfish reason.
This is certainly time to stand on the side of patriotism and tell such people the harm they are doing to the nation. As for prayers, the Christians especially of the Pentecostal hue are doing a great job, same for the Muslims and traditional believers for God almighty to permanently heal him so that the change mantra of his administration could be given physical ventilation.
That is why I am highly disturbed about the cold war between the chief security officer to the president and a correspondent of a national newspaper about that journalist style of reportage. The truth of the matter is that the president has not been so visible since the return from the London hospital and no amount of lies dressed up as truth will cover the reality of the situation. The president has missed a number of meetings with the ministers and the vice president is in charge. Nothing is wrong with that as long as the vice president has the mandate of the president.
But what is certainly wrong is the spin doctors and cabal taking over the running of the presidency for such people do not have the mandate of the electorate. The president and the vice president are given the electoral mandate to be in charge of the security and welfare of the citizens and anything from that is doing great justice to the spirit and letter of the 1999 constitution. The other day, the Information Minister said that the president would be working from his official residence and the files would be brought to that abode. Reading between the lines, one can decipher that things are not okay.
The journalists or members of the Fourth Estate of the Realm may be regarded as busy bodies. We do not feud over that label. We believe that it is the duty of the press to hold the government accountable to the people, the owners of electoral sovereignty. Some people may not like the reportage of some news organs but they are simply carrying out their constitutional duties. Those who expel reporters from Aso Rock, the National Assembly or any other place information about statecraft can be got are enemies of the people. Such officials are piercing the nerves of freedom of speech and all of us must stand against them. Press freedom is not about any individual or group of people. It is about the collective progress and development of the society.
Nigerians know that the president is not too fine and this information is in the international media. We daily pray for him to get better so that he can continue to exercise his mandate. This piece is against the exercise of that mandate by a cabal. The anxiety of most patriotic Nigerians is that we have passed this road before. During the Abacha era, his health status was shielded from the public. This was understandable because it was an absolute dictatorship and the rest is history.
It was during the reign of President Umaru Yar`Adua that the spin doctors and cabal took over the running of the administration and even the then Vice President was kept in the dark. Matters came to a boiling point that an air ambulance came into the country carrying a sick president without the knowledge of the vice president. The invocation of the doctrine of necessity saved the nation.
We continue to pray for the health of the president but not happy about the overbearing influence of the cabal and spin doctors manipulating the affairs of the state. Nobody is questioning the use of the multibillion Naira Aso Rock clinic and the medical tourism of our president to United Kingdom for treatment, which is a direct assault on buy Nigeria product campaign of the government.
This piece will not bother about the amount spent in treating Mr President in London. My concern is the health of the president and that the spin doctors and cabal should not do things which are in the interest of the president. In advanced climes of Europe and America, the health status of their leaders is not shrouded in secrecy. Today most Nigerians do not know what ails their president and the social media is agog with all types of information. The basic element in journalism is that once you put the truth out, the rumour millers are out of circulation. This I know that the presidential media team, a crop of talented journalists are aware of. May be the spin doctors and cabal are in charge.
President Buhari is a man of integrity and credibility and these are the virtues that made Nigerians to vote for him. It is the hope and prayer of this piece that this integrity credential shall not be rubbished by the cabal who are more enamoured with their parochial interest. My prayer point is that Buhari should get better to do his job and send the cabal giving his administration bad name from Aso Rock and out of political circulation.