Why Buhari Is Right To Conceal His Health Status
Nigeria News examines the protest against President Muhammadu Buhari’s long stay abroad and why he may be right for doing so.
For two days now Civil Society Organisations comprising of four groups have been marching on the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja calling on the return of President Muhammadu Buhari from London or his resignation.
Their grouse is that it is unconstitutional that the president of a country would leave for more than three months without the country’s legislature taking any step to redress the anomaly.
President Buhari has spent over 90 days in the United Kingdom on medical holiday and twice the delegations of governors had visited him with the comment that he would soon return.
The delegations noted that Buhari had recuperated well and would be home as soon as his doctor certify him well to return to Nigeria.
Since the president fell sick and began the regular medical trip to London, he had refused to disclose his type of ailment.
Sometimes, the Nobel Laurette, Professor Wole Soyinka challenged him to open up and tell Nigerians what ailment he is suffering from, Buhari will not.
The president aides had said severally that Buhari had the right to keep his ailment secret in as much as he had not breached the constitution.
However, on Monday and Tuesday, the Civil Society groups, one of which was led by Charles Oputa, also known as Charley Boy staged a protest and requested the National Assembly to set up an investigative panel to probe Buhari’s health status.
They posited that the president must return now or resign if he is incapacitated to perform his duty again. The groups asked the NASS to either take between the masses who voted them into power or the cabals in the Buhari’s cabinet who are currently holding the country to ransom.
Though the protest was disrupted by armed policemen who shot teargas at the protesters and injured one person, the groups stood firm against the law enforcement agents as they demanded the resignation of Buhari.
Nigerians had expected the arrival of the president last week, following the return of his wife, Aisha but she only stayed in Nigeria for 3 days as she hurriedly left for United Kingdom on Monday to meet the recuperating president.
Reacting to the protest, Senior Special Assistant to the president on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu described it as irrational assault to the nation.
His argument was that the president had done the necessary thing by transferring power to his vice, Professor Yemi Osinbajo before proceeding on medical holiday in the UK.
True, Osinbajo had been holding the forth since Buhari left, many Nigerians believe that the president absence had created dichotomy in the presidency and that some cabals had compromised with the NASS to frustrate the effort of the acting president Osinbajo.
Defending her boss, one of the president’s aides on social media, Lauretta Onochie said that Buhari could not disclose his type of ailment since he is more like a private citizen now.
According to her, since the president had transferred power to Osinbajo, Buhari is more or less of a private person who has the right to either keep his ailment secret or tell the public.
As she put it, “I have no idea why anybody should disrespect another by asking for the details of their health status. As we speak, we have an acting president, President Buhari seems to be like a private citizen at the moment. We have no right and it is very disrespectful for anyone to ask for his health status. “
Reacting, Lagos constitutional lawyer and human rights activist, Femi Falana (SAN) said that the constitution is silent about how long the president could stay away from the country.
According to him, the 2010 scenario in which late President Umoru Yar’Adua was away due to his ill health is different from the situation at hands.
He explained that in the case of Yar’Adua, the president failed to transmit power to his vice, Goodluck Jonathan before journeying out of the country for medicals and it became unconstitutional for him to remain in power after 21 days.
The senior lawyer said that in the case of Buhari, the president transmitted power to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, making him the Acting President.
And since Buhari’s absence, Osinbajo had been holding the forth.