It’s His Right, Says Oshiomhole
Following concerns expressed over the authenticity of the picture of Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State, purportedly taken with President Muhammadu Buhari in London last week, some Nigerian elders, yesterday, said the President owes the nation a genuine explanation on the state of his health.
They premised their argument on the fact that from his inauguration on May 29, 2015, he has become a ‘public property,’ whom the citizens should be fully aware of his activities and condition of health wherever he may be. Speaking in separate interviews, elder statesman and chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on National Conference, Senator Femi Okurounmu; Afenifere Chieftain Ayo Adebanjo; Lawal Kaita and human rights lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome said the President’s media team should keep Nigerians adequately informed about his health. “With the current technological advancement, the President’s PR people should arrange for him to speak to Nigerians say on Skype, such that we would hear him say ‘my people, I am hale and hearty.
Thank you for your prayers for me’. “When IBB, a maximum ruler, was sick and went abroad for a knee surgery, he returned to Nigeria, and told Nigerians. The disclosure pulled Nigerians together in sympathy and empathy for him, and that was one of the things that made him a populist and a listening President
“Also, when President Barak Obama was on holiday in Hawaii, he posted pictures of himself and family online daily for people to see and eliminate doubts. “The President’s PR managers are neither fair to Mr President nor to Nigerians by saying that the President may decide not to speak to Nigerians if he so wishes. That it is his fundamental right. It is not so. Under Section 38 and 39, it is only fundamental rights that have to do with his privacy in his room, his other rooms and sitting room. Not as regards public matters regarding Nigerians.
“One thing they should know is that a government that is transparent and responsible to the people must be scrutinised every day. I don’t want the President’s minders to reduce governance to drama in the mould of Alawada kerkeri, because governance is a serious matter. First, it was the missing Chibok girls, then missing budget and now the whereabouts of our President.”
Ozekhome also punctured the picture allegedly taken with the President by Governor Amosun as published in the papers yesterday, stating that it was a “crude imitation of the real thing, made possible by Photoshop, a similitude of the true situation, taken at a location in Nigeria a while ago, with former Vice President Atiku Abubakar in attendance when things were very yummy between them.” Also, Senator Femi Okurounmu, urged the President to immediately address Nigerians to put to rest the uncertainty surrounding his health and douse the tension enveloping the country.
The Afenifere leader and former member of National Assembly expressed dissatisfaction over the President’s penchant for foreign medical trips. Okurounmu argued that the secrecy that pervaded Buhari’s trip to United Kingdom and his refusal to talk to his countrymen had continued to give room for all manner of speculation. He said the President ought to be transparent in matters concerning his health, adding that the presidential system of government which Nigeria operates demands adequate communication to the citizenry.
His words: “The President himself is giving cause for the kind of reactions that we are having now because he is not acting as transparently as a President should act in matters concerning his health. “The President is supposed to tell the nation the truth and nothing but the whole truth about his health at all times so that there would be no room for guesswork or speculations.
“Anytime a President is going to the hospital outside the country, he should tell the nation about it. All details should be made known. This is what is done in all countries where we have presidential system of government. “But in our own case, his medical trips are shrouded in secrecy and this gives room for a lot of speculations. “I think at the earliest moment, either him or his officials should speak to the nation and let the nation know about his exact state of health.”
On his part, former Edo State governor, Adams Oshiomhole, has said he could not understand why there’s such a ‘big issue’ over President Buhari’s foreign trip for medical check-up — when even Nigerian doctors do the same.
Oshiomhole said as governor, he used state funds to sponsor medical checkups abroad for “farmers, villagers, politicians, ordinary people and the media”. The former labour leader said rather than spread unnecessary speculation, Nigerians should wish the president well. “I think it is unnecessary. Let us be honest,” Oshiomhole said, while speaking in his hometown in Iyamho, Estako West Local Government area during the House of Representatives bye-election on Saturday.
“As the governor of Edo State, we have had to sponsor and the records are there, first, Nigerian medical doctors, who requested for it in black and white that they had to be treated in India, the UK or US and they give me a variety of reasons why they need that foreign medical check. “I have seen villagers approaching me that they had prostate cancer.
They had gone to some local hospitals and they had challenges and they want support to go to India. I had used state funds to support very ordinary people and all kinds of people, including the media, politicians and farmers.
“I have had course to travel outside Nigeria for a comprehensive medical check, when I was in doubt. And the experience of Gani Fawehimi shows that if ordinary Nigerian labourers, medical doctors find course to go and do what we call routine physical check, why would anybody make it such a big issue that any Nigerian, including our president, should be denied the right for a thorough check.”
Elder statesman and prominent northern politician, Alhaji Lawal Kaita, on his part said: “The President is very healthy and that is the true situation. He is well and he is doing well with the governance of Nigeria. We do not even need to pray for him because he is well and ok.”
Afenifere Chieftain, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, said Nigerians should be content with the disclosure that President is alright. “He is just gone for medical check-up. The best is to wish him well.
A media aide of Amosun, on his part, said as far as he knew: “My principal is in London on a visit to the President. You should ignore what people are saying because they will always say something; speculate on anything, because it is all politics. But I know the man is in London.”