The uncertainty about the state of health of Nigeria’s ailing president, President Muhammadu Buhari, who is rumoured to have been ‘held hostage’ by some Northern cabals in the Presidency has embolden the Yorubas who are major stakeholders in ruling All Progressives Congress, APC government of Nigeria to move swiftly to replace him with one of their own, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
In what appeared to be a coordinated attack against President Muhammadu Buhari, taking advantage of his alleged ill health and alleged incapacitation, the leader of the Yoruba political establishment and the national leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed
Tinubu appears to have unleashed his protégés against Buhari and the northern presidency led by President Muhammadu Buhari, a Fulani.
Recall that last week in France, Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, a Yoruba had berated President Muhammadu Buhari for not making his health status public. He argued that the president is a public property and should not hide his state of health. Many pundits had interpreted this to mean a call out on Buhari to know if he is fit to continue to be president. And on Monday, May 1, 2017, a close confidant of Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the pioneer national chairman of APC, Chief Bisi Akande in a statement entitled, “PMB’s Poor Health Is Already Taking Toll on The Health Of The Country”, indicated that the Yoruba was ready for a showdown over the battle for presidency. In the statement Akande warned that no attempt should be made to re-enact the 1993 scenario. Recall that it was in 1993 that the military junta led by northern military Generals annulled the presidential election in which Chief M.K.O. Abiola was allegedly poised to win and threw the country into political crisis which was not resolved till 1999. Hear Akande: “My greatest fear, however, is that the country should not be allowed to slide into anarchy and disorder of a ‘monumental proportion’.
“Let me warn today that those who wish to harvest political gains out of the health of the President are mistaken. This is not Nigeria of 1993. We are in a new national and global era of constitutionalism and order. We hope Nigerians have enough patience to learn from history”.
He reminded those in Aso Rock alleged to be trying to subvert the constitution that Nigeria is a country of nations that need to be handled with care. “”As delicately fragile the Union of nations making up Nigeria, so delicately fragile the democracy and the rule of laws governing the polity of the Union called Nigerian Federation. Certain Nigerian leaders, having been blindfolded by corruption, assume the possibility of using money in manipulating the national security agencies to intimidate, suppress and hold down certain ethnic nationalities or playing one ethnic nationality against the other with a view to undermining the constitution and perversely upturning the rule of law. ” To avoid the ugly consequences of letting President Buhari’s ailments throw Nigeria into confusion, I am urging all Nigerians to begin to pray for his divine healing and perfect recovery.”
The statement from Akande was yet to sink in when another Yoruba prominent lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Mr. Femi Falana led some activists to issue a statement same May 1, 2017, entitled, “President Buhari Should Take Medical Leave Immediately”. In the statement Falana and co said, “A few weeks ago, the Governor of Kaduna state, Mr. Nasir El-Rufai urged Nigerians to give President Buhari time to recover from his sickness. The plea was made after the Governor had visited and presumably assessed the state of the President at the presidential villa in Abuja. However, due to the apparent deterioration in the President’s health condition, he has neither been seen in public in the last one week nor attended the last
two meetings of the Federal Executive Council. His absence at the last Jumat service in the villa has fuelled further speculations and rumours on President Buhari’s medical condition.
“But instead of embarking on regular briefing on the actual state of the health of President Buhari, officials of the federal government have continued to assure the Nigerian people that there is no need for apprehension over the matter. In defending the absence of the President at the last FEC meeting and other state functions, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Garba Shehu stated that ‘the president’s doctors have been advised on his taking things slowly, as he fully recovers from the long period of treatment in the United Kingdom some weeks ago’.” It was on the same May 1, that The Nation, owned by Tinubu unleashed its most prominent columnist, Sam Omatseye, to attack President Muhammadu Buhari, relentlessly over his health. In the back page column titled, “Domiciliary president”, the author made mockery of the president over his health. Hear him “We are today at a loss to define the state of the presidency. But more worrying, we are in a fog on the
state of the president’s health. Is he asleep, is someone administering an injection, what sort of chemical, blue, red, green,
thick, light, aphrodisiac, soporific, analgesic? Or is he asleep buried in a soft, seductive row of pillows, or is he buried in a pile
“It is now a presidency that tasks the imagination. We cannot see him. We therefore imagine him. We imagine him in his sitting room, on a sofa. Is he having breakfast, or lunch, is he able to eat like other people? Does he remember or has he obliterated “the other room?” “Is he agile? Does he have a regime of sturdy exercises? Is he more fragile than we think, his breath raspy to the ear? Is it all just a joke? Is the president all in fine fiddle while all of us fiddle with ideas that don’t exist? Our imagination is in a state of flux. The president is giddy in our minds. He is well, standing, eating, dizzy, laughing, squinting, in pain, growling, without appetite, gormandizing, helped to stand, showering without aid. A surreal presidency that inflicts our imagination with phantasmagoria.
“It is sad that we as citizens cannot vouch for the state of the man who presides over our lives? Is he fit to decide where the army should go or whether there is an army? Is he strong enough to determine whether he is strong enough? All we know is that the president does not attend Federal Executive Council (FEC), does not have to see his cabinet. That means the
minister of labour can do his thing and the minister of agriculture can decide to abolish the plough. “So, we have a president who is essentially home alone, if his office will now be in glorified vacancy, the seat permitted to spin in a cobweb, if the cleaner decides to stay home like the boss. What we have is therefore the making of a domiciliary president.” The Yorubas quest to take over runs contrary to the gentleman’s agreement that the south having produced president for 13 years of Nigeria’s 16 year old democracy, should be allowed to hold on to power for at least eight more years ending in 2023, when it is believed that the South East may get the chance since 1999 to produce a president for Nigeria.
While all these Yoruba leaders are apparently scheming to take over Aso Rock citing constitutionalism and Buhari’s health, the Northern leaders are yet to comment. And the north has passed through this road before. Between 2007 and 2015 was supposed to be the North’s time at the Presidency. The 2007 presidential election was thus won by a northerner, President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. Unfortunately Yar’Adua was weighed down by ailment and on May 10, 2010, he died leaving North’s
dream of eight years in power interrupt by “constitutionalism”, as his vice president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan completed his tenure as the constitution demanded and even went ahead to contest and win the 2011 presidential which left sour tastes in the mouth of many northerners.
North’s quest to regain power brought the needed unity that made possible the defeat of Jonathan in the 2015 presidential election which General Muhammadu Buhari won. To avert the country being thrown into needless crisis most patriotic
Nigerians are praying to Almighty God to heal and restore the health of the President so that he could complete his tenure without power leaving the North for any reason. However, it appears some Yoruba leader are too desperate to take over mantle of leadership, which may bring it in conflict with the North at a time that the nation needs peace desperately.