YNaija Says: Buhari if you can’t do your job, do the right thing

Today marks the seventh anniversary of the death of the second president in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in the Presidential Villa, Abuja. Until his passing away that morning, Nigeria went through one of the most tense political periods in its existence with controversy after controversy surrounding his illness, the refusal of his close associates to transmit power to his then Vice President Goodluck Jonathan, the “doctrine of necessity” that the National Assembly had to pass in order to make Jonathan the Acting President, his being snuck back into the country and so on and so forth.

The tension was so palpable that rather than the country grieve him upon his death, it heaved a sigh of relief. It was such a situation that many Nigerians swore “never again” that a cabal will hold the entire nation hostage on account of one man.

Today, we find ourselves in a similar situation with President Muhammadu Buhari, albeit much better managed. Besides the fact that both men hail from Katsina State, there are a lot of parallels between their situations.

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First, like Yar’Adua, the exact illness that is afflicting President Buhari is a closely-guarded secret. Also, the Presidency and other top government officials is unable to get its script right regarding his illness – when one official says the President is hale and hearty, the very next one contradicts him by saying the President is ill and in need of rest. It must have been a shame when the President himself said he had never been so ill since he was a young man and even revealed that he had undergone blood transfusions.

Of late, the drama has become one of the President not making public appearances and even missing cabinet meetings – he is so scarce that sightings of him are celebrated as though he was an apparition, this all the while when Minister of Information Lai Mohammed continues to insist that the President is “only resting.”

The remarkable improvement of the Buhari illness controversy over that of Yar’Adua is that there is no cabal trying to exercise power in his name while he remains indisposed as government has continued to trudge ahead without him. There is also the fact that each time he travels for medical vacation, he hands over to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

But one thing is an obvious fact: President Buhari is more ill than the Presidency is letting on and appears from all indications to be incapable of performing his duties as a president because of ill-health.

This leaves the President with one option: resignation.

This was the very advice that he gave late President Yar’Adua in 2010 to “resign honourably if his health can no longer carry him or tell Nigerians the true position of his health so that they can evaluate.”

While the passion President Buhari has for Nigeria is undeniable, the nation is much bigger than any one person that it should be held to ransom in such a manner. It is only proper that President Buhari let go of the reins of government so he can focus on nursing himself back to health.

It is best that he leaves the stage now honourably before calls for his impeachment on health grounds start, a call he himself made in March 2010 against President Yar’Adua.

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