Ordinary neck pain? | Nigerian hospitals not enough for Aisha Buhari

Aisha Buhari

Nigeria has had more than its fair share of colourful first ladies. Who could forget the glamour of Aisha Abubakar, or the global appeal of Maryam Abacha, or even the theatrics of Dame Patience Jonathan. But none is as controversial as First Lady, Aisha Buhari. She has undoubtedly created a media sensation around herself for almost anything and everything. When Aisha Buhari is silent, it makes the news, when she speaks, it makes the news and when she so much as travels to Dubai for medical attention for alleged neck pain, the media and Twitter can not miss it.

In recent news, First Lady, Aisha Buhari, has been reportedly flown to Dubai for medical attention over neck pain. Sahara Reporters reports that the neck pain peaked shortly after she returned to Abuja from a trip to Lagos in July where she had visited Florence, widow of former Oyo State governor, Abiola Ajimobi, who died of COVID-19 complications on June 25, 2020.  It is also interesting to note that Aisha Buhari had also traveled out of the country for several weeks last year to treat an undisclosed ailment.

The celebrated president’s wife is certainly not the only Nigerian politician that has been flown abroad for treatment. Fifty-four-year-old Ibrahim Bello, a former Nigerian lawmaker from Kaduna state, lost both his parents to diabetes. Afraid that the disease might run in the family, Bello went for a medical exam. Unhappy with the quality of care at home, Bello flew to India, like many Nigerian politicians. There have also been reports of the president traveling to the UK for ear treatment and some other cases that were not disclosed.

These medical tours by politicians have always raised questions among Nigerians. In 2015, the president vigorously spoke against medical tourism sharing that there would be no allowance of Nigerian officials for foreign medical care: “While this administration will not deny anyone of his or her fundamental human rights, we will certainly not encourage expending Nigerian hard-earned resources on any government official seeking medical care abroad when such can be handled in Nigeria..” – Buhari 

Like many policies and regulations, this one seems to have been overridden by the president’s wife herself over neck pain. On social media, Nigerians are berating the government, the first lady, and the stakeholders of the ministry of health in Nigeria following the report. The heat, however, seems to fall brutally on Aisha Buhari.

On social media, Nigerians are reiterating that Aisha Buhari has failed in expressing that she has the interest of Nigerians at heart. In times where there was a massive protest against social injustices and killings in the north, the first lady was quiet – the report that she has been flown abroad for medical attention seems to have riled Nigerians up again as many branded her as a selfish leader.

If politicians are now traveling abroad for something as ‘trivial’ as neck pain, Nigerians are questioning seriously: ‘what is wrong with Nigerian hospitals?’ While that question needs no answer to some level, it is quite embarrassing to note that for a country so greatly celebrated on some levels, our leaders are still leaving the county for a medical checkup for their ears and pain in their neck. This story is upsetting for many Nigerians who are debating that politicians keep spending unnecessary money for selfish reasons. It is also very shameful that in Nigeria today, we lack standard medical facilities that can handle minor issues like neck pain (for our politicians at least).

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