Nigeria’s ex-President, the late Umaru Musa Yaradua, was on the sick bed when Nigeria’s current President, Muhammadu Buhari, called for his impeachment on the grounds of incapacitation. He was right. Then, it was not honorable for a country’s leader to spend taxpayers money overseas on an ailment he will not disclose to his countrymen. It was also honorable for an ailing President to take a rest.
The statement was seen as one born out of patriotism. It was applauded in various quarters and so many of us with a progressive and rational mind agreed with him. It was simply the RIGHT THING TO DO. It is 2017 and the man who made that statement is now the country’s President. The scenarios are the same except for the fact that unlike Late President Yaradua, who went AWOL, his was official. He transferred power to the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, and his medical vacation has the support of the Senate.
Today, those words we thought, or better put, some persons thought, were words of a patriot, are placed in the trashcan. Not only has President Buhari refused to tell us what exactly is wrong with him, he has also refused to resign. The same persons who applauded his statement in 2010, have risen to his defence now. Today, whoever questions why the President of over 140 million people, receiving treatment on taxpayers money and resident overseas, is called corrupt.
Today, whoever asks that a man who advised others to follow the path of honour if the body is weak is called an Enemy of Progress. Who exactly is corrupt in this case? The man who demands that a man sticks to a statement he made yesterday or the man who insists that yesterday’s words don’t hold any water?
Let us get this first. There is no law in Nigeria that compels a President on medical leave to step down. There is no law that envisaged such scenario. The 90-day period that was peddled in the media was a misconception and does not hold for the President of Nigeria. On that basis, those calling for his resignation on legal grounds are getting it wrong. He can choose to stay in Abuja House in London for as long as he wants and nothing will be done about it. Nothing.
The power to intercede are only vested on the National Assembly who could impeach on grounds of irresponsibility and/or incompetence or incapacitation. That tells you the wisdom of what we call the Nigeria Constitution. Legally what he is doing is not wrong but what about morally? He alone can decide if he wants to resign or continue ruling this country when he comes back.
This is not a call for the man to obey the constitution but a call that the man acts on what he advised(what actually really is) is morally good. This is a discourse on honesty, hypocrisy, truth and the meaning of Patriotism. For a man who rose to power on the basis of integrity this is not a path of honour. No one approbate and reprobate at the same time and move around with an integrity garment.
The questions which anyone who claims ownership to a progressive and rational mind should ask are:
- Why was it right for late President Umaru Musa Yaradua to resign on account of poor health but not right and rational for President Muhammadu Buhari to resign on the same account?
- Why is it seen as Patriotic to call for the resignation of an ailing president in 2010 but seen as a support for corruption to call for the resignation of another ailing president in 2017?
- Why do the same persons who joined voices to call for the resignation of an ailing president in 2010 now call those who call for the resignation of another ailing president in 2017 evil?
- Who handles the work of the Vice President as he acts for the President? And most importantly, is it morally right(not legally, please) for an ailing president, who claims to love his country, to insist on remaining in power, spending tax payers money on a sickness they have no knowledge of?
It wouldn’t be unsafe or unpatriotic or morally wrong or false to say that the man has lost his integrity(or never had any) who posited that something which was right yesterday is wrong today. This thing was never changed or altered in any way. It still has the same properties it had when the man pronounced it true. But today, denigrating it is what it means to be patriotic and just while upholding it is a symbol of a contaminated mind.
The fact that the President has failed to pass his own test shows that he lacks that honour he demanded in others. He was asking others to live a life he cannot live. He was, in true and plain words, being hypocritical. Some persons who aligned with him in 2010 and also aligned with his new position are also guilty of this hypocrisy. They didn’t support what he said because they loved the truth or patriotic or because it was morally good.
Their support was based on selfishness and not love for their country, progress or goodness. They were simply men who were interested in what such statement brings to them and not what it does to the growth of the country. They were both self serving and hypocrites and still are. As the president is away on medical vacation one wonders who does the work of the Vice-President now Acting-President.
Since the VP left his post to function as Nigeria’s President, his job and position of Vice-President is vacant. Who covers for him now? Doesn’t that create a vacuum in governance? And if doesn’t, we may begin to consider ripping such position out for irrelevance. While we wish the president good health of mind and body, it is also important not to suck up to him because we love and/or worship him.
Like he said seven(7) years ago, the presidency owes the people an explanation and the honorable thing to do is to resign. But it seems it is easier for man to give advice than take it. It is easier to speak the bitter truth but hard to let it pass down our throats.
Corruption is not asking a man who came to a position on the mantle of change to respect his proposal. Corruption is not asking a man who is catered for with proceeds of our natural and human resources to tell us what exactly is wrong with him. Corruption is not asking a man who is sick to step aside to allow his healthier deputy take over.
Corruption is not asking that our honour, already striped by years of bad leadership, is trashed further as we officially become the clowns of the world. Corruption is not protesting on the streets and asking that our president DO THE RIGHT THING. Corruption is what happens when you are supposed to DO THE RIGHT THING but choose to do otherwise.
Corruption is what happens when protesters demanding that you DO THE RIGHT THING are sprayed with Water and Tear-Gas. Corruption is what happens when you said yesterday that the resignation of an ailing president is the RIGHT THING TO DO but you insist today that only rebels, paid protesters, opportunists and corrupt people think so. Why are protesters who are Pro-Buhari and Pro-Government never sprayed for constituting nuisance but the Anti-Buhari and Anti-Government protesters are sprayed? Just curious.
This last part is for the youths, men and women who swallow everything their heroes and idols command, say and do. First, you have a brain and the most important reason it was given to you by your maker is to think for yourself. Think for yourself. Men are highly fallible. Arguing and insulting everyone both offline and online for the sake of another fallible man exhibiting fallibility is not healthy for your mind and body.
Buhari proposed that an ailing President should make way for a healthier person to run the country. His words were common sensical, patriotic and above all, truthful. These were admirable standards and let him be judged by them. No one employs a worker who goes on medical leave, pays his medical bills and is still told that it is not in his position to demand for the exact ailment this employee is treated for.
When you support your heroes, when you worship your icons, when you make arguments intended to salvage your heroes and icons legacy, don’t ever forget to carry our brains along.