I will return to my duties as soon as….
President Buhari will return to his official duties in Nigeria as soon as doctors advise that he can end his medical leave, according to a statement from the presidency on Tuesday, reports Reuters and Crusader Journal.
On Monday 24th, Governor Rochas Okorocha, a member of the delegates that met Buhari in London on Sunday said he expects Buhari to return to Nigeria within two weeks, according to the BBC.
As Rochas Okorochas is not among the medical team treating him, his intervention and optimism may well be ignored, as he did not have any valid medical basis for his two weeks timeline during which the president will return to Nigeria.
However, the statement from the presidency should be taken more seriously as it is the closest to an official statement and that form the basis of my opinion here.
The operating statement here is “as soon as doctors advise that he can end his medical leave”
The question is when?
There is that word in the medical world called ‘prognosis’ which is a forecast of the likely course of a medical condition. It is not an exact or precise science, but a lot of factors are considered to determine the prognosis of a condition and so it is often more correct than not.
Without a doubt, by now the doctors treating him would have discussed this with him? for this reason, the president must be aware of his chances.
The problem here is not that he is ill and had to seek treatment outside of the country, ignoring the state house hospital whose budget is bigger than most teaching hospital in Nigeria.
Anybody can be ill and if there are no specialists in the expensive state house hospital, it is fine to go to the UK for specialist treatment.
The problem is that his condition is shrouded in secrecy, and it matters.
To put this in perspective, Senator John Mccain, the former presidential candidate in the United State was recently diagnosed with cancer. No, not just any cancer, but an aggressive brain cancer, he promptly made it a public knowledge.
The duty to inform the public is probably not in the Constitution, but he felt a sense of responsibilities to his constituency of Arizona and to the nation at large.
Consider this, there are 100 senators in the United States, two from each state, this means that Mccain could easily secretly slip away from public view for treatment and may not even be missed, but he didn’t do that.
It may not be reasonable to compare Nigeria to the United State in terms of development and everything else, but in this particular respect, it is perfectly within reason to make such comparison. It does not take economic development to do the right thing and be upfront about your condition.
The debate whether he handed over to his vice fully or partially is immaterial, the daily cost of leaving the presidential plane at the airport is not the issue, the issue is the lack of show of principle from someone who won an election on the platform of integrity.
I said the debate of how he handed over power to his vice partially or fully is immaterial, well, it is immaterial as far as the principle of disclosure of his health is the concern, but it is certainly very important when the economics and stability of the country are considered.
The economic impact of his absence will be significant for an obvious reason.
The current cabinet members and various ministers were chosen by Buhari, their loyalty would be with him and in his absence, how far the acting president can hold them to account is unknown.
Another protagonist in this matter is the Nigerian people, the division along tribal lines would not allow appropriate and sensible demand for accountability.
Every debate is soiled by party, religious and tribal allegiances, everything else does not matter. What matter is “the interest of my person must be protected, even when their actions hurt me”
The worries are that a former president in not too distant memory went on a prolonged medical leave and unfortunately did not return, not only was his ailment kept secret when he was alive, even after his death, the country still did not know what happened to their president.
I hope he gets well soon and I hope he returns to his official duties as his office said, as soon as medically possible, or I hope we are not looking down the barrel of deja vu all over again.
This lack of sense of accountability, responsibilities and duties to the electorate should worry anyone, regardless of your allegiance.
Everybody goes to the same market, everybody suffers the same fate except the politicians and the rich that live on a different planet, thus everybody pays the price.