by Omolara Saheed
Nigerian Presidents are arguably the most frequent targets of death hoaxes. From President Obasanjo to the Late Yar’adua and now President Buhari, the death rumours continue to plague whoever occupies the seat of the Nigeria President.
In the case of the Buhari administration, the rumours are attributed to the “wailing wailers”. Those imaginary saboteurs of government who are still sore at having lost the 2015 elections and will stop at nothing to make the country ungovernable for Buhari.
The responses to the rumours are practically the same .Spokesmen put up hastily prepared press releases confirming their principals are well and alive. This time, the duo of Adesina and Shehu quickly rose to the occasion. “The president is well!” They pronounced. It was accompanied by a picture of the president apparently enjoying some tea while watching a local TV station. Garba Shehu even went further to throw a very low jab at Former President Jonathan whose supporters had claimed was in the U.S to attend Donald Trump’s inauguration.
The President and his team have done nothing right to help this situation. When the calls to ascertain the true state the President was in became intense with citizens demanding Buhari does a video and speak live to the country, Femi Adesina provided a response to this. Being his usual garrulous self, he stated that the president could not be forced to speak to the very people he is supposed to be serving to reassure them of his good health. Only in Nigeria will a media aide behave as though the President was doing the citizens a favour by even listening to news going on about his health.
Secrecy revolving round a Nigerian leader’s health crisis is nothing new though. From Yar’adua to Patience Jonathan, Nigerian leaders suddenly remember their claim to privacy when it is time to address issues concerning their health. Some may argue that he is an individual and has a right to privacy but not only did President Buhari come to power on the mantra of “Change” which connotes transparency but stated severally that he saw no need for government officials to go abroad for treatment. If there is a sudden need to go against what he supposedly believes in, aren’t the Nigerian people entitled to know the reason why? Uncertainty about the exact state of a president’s health has no place in a Democracy.
The question that should weigh heavily on Buhari’s mind is why his people quickly start the death rumours once he goes on his medical trips. Could it be connected to the fact that the country is in recession and the everyday people complain of untold hardships that they didn’t bargain for when they voted “change?” Do the people wish their leaders taste a bit of the hardship they go through also or do they wish to have an escape route so bad that they wish death upon their president? What could be the reason for this towards a man that won the last elections with a sweeping victory?
The earlier President Buhari realises that it is no longer business as usual, the better for him. His goodwill -whatever is left of it -is fast eroding .Taciturnity is not the strategy to adopt when nothing seems to be going as planned in his government. His government leaves citizens guessing as to the state of too many things or how certain decisions were arrived at.
Accountability is a key part of Government and yes, it includes where the president is, how he is and how he is spending the taxpayers’ money.
Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija