On Tuesday, August 15, 2017, it is 101 days and counting, since President Muhammadu Buhari relinquished his duties to his vice, Yemi Osinbajo, in order to attend to his ailing health in the United Kingdom.
The president, who embarked on the impromptu trip on May 7, 2017 barely 57 days after he returned to the country from London, is getting treatment for an undisclosed illness.
The president’s long absence from the country has gained diverse reactions from Nigerians who barely have information on the progress of his health.
Although, the president claimed that he was fast recovering, politicians in the likes of the Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, insisted that the president was hardly surviving as he was on “life support”.
Recent visits by different delegations in Buhari’s government to the Abuja House, London have however proved otherwise, as Nigerians were served pictures and short video clips of the president.
The most recent visit by his media team was more reassuring to Nigerians as the president, dressed in a white kaftan, seem to be recovering quickly as he happily received his aides.
He however stated that he was uncertain as to when he will be returning home. “I feel I could go home, but the doctors are in charge. I’ve now learnt to obey orders, rather than be obeyed,” Femi Adesina, Buhari’s spokesman, quoted him as saying.
“I’ve learnt to obey my doctor’s orders, rather than be the one issuing the orders. Here, the doctor is absolutely in charge.”
Concerned Nigerians have reacted to Buhari’s long absence and the fact that there are still no clues as to when he would return to the country or resume office.
Mr. Asemota Uyiosa, speaking with the WHISTLER, described the present condition of the country as “challenging”.
He lampooned the president’s media aides over their inability to manage the public perception around the health of Buhari.
According to him, Buhari has failed on his many promises and should step aside for the common good of the country.
He said, “In my candid opinion, the situation is more unfortunate than it is supposed to be, especially being that it is occurring at a time when the country is going through the most challenging period all around.
“The managers of the president’s health and information have really done badly in managing the public perception around the health of the president and this has opened many avenues for the various diverse public views on the president.
“Another point that is stimulating the public negative reactions is on the premise that this same President and his party made serious promises to the people, one which include transparency, accountability and abiding by the rules of laws, but as it stands none of such promises are being followed.
“In sane societies, when a person at the helm of affairs is not fit to continue with the vital duties of managing the outfit, the best thing to do is stepping aside for the common good of the entity, this is what I expect of a president of a nation going through a rebuilding.
“Please don’t remind me that he transmitted power to the vice president; that as we have seen already is shadow dressing. Summarily things are not working.
“I wish the president speedy recovery and really hope he relieves himself this big burden by stepping aside, concentrate on his health and get fully recovered.”
Continuing, Mr. Asemota said Buhari’s “absence has affected the already failing economy. What do you expect, when even the management team are not even sure of what to do or being scared of doing a thing that could be seen as not being supported by the president?
“Have you noticed the body language of the president of recent has changed this time compared to the first time the president traveled when he was everywhere working to fill the vacuum and the corresponding praises that followed?
“Now so many are left to wonder who is in charge of the country, is it the acting President, or the ailing President in London, or the much talked about Cabal?
“You will agree with me that confusions like these is enough to douse the flame of progress of an entity called Nigeria.”
Mr. Samuel Adewuyi, who also spoke with this medium, worried that there have been no improvement in the economy since Buhari’s absence.
He claimed that although Osinbajo took over the reins of government, the powers of an Acting President are still limited.
“Although Osinabjo has been handling the country quite well in Buhari’s absence, I guess that in advanced countries he would probably have stepped down or they would probably have invoked the 25th amendment,” he said.
“Fortunately Nigeria is a bit lenient and I doubt if we’d follow such except something tragic happens.
“As for the economy I don’t think there’s been any improvement despite the massive sum of money they claim was returned by the former minister of petroleum,” he added.
Also speaking to the WHISTLER, Mrs. Elizabeth Sanmi said that the president’s absence has left the country on a “standstill”.
“His absence has left the nation on a stand still because the Vice President isn’t allowed to carry out any productive project in my opinion.
“Social vices has been on the increase and many more negativity.
“With the down line in the economy, so many people want to survive and many have lost their job. As the saying goes ‘man must survive’ thus, people want to survive by any means.
“Just last week, you will recall that two kidnappers’ hide out was found in Lagos. Theft has been on the increase and Badoo issue has been a cause for concern.
“All these are worrying to every citizen of this nation. If the president was on board, hopefully, things wouldn’t have escalated as it has!”
On the state of the economy, Mrs. Sanmi said, “I think the Vice President’s hands are really tied right now.
“Remember the first time the president left the country, the country was booming in his absence, we all felt the nation’s growth and dollar was falling as well. But unfortunately, the story has changed.
“The acting president is being monitored by some political cabal. This has made Buhari’s absence hazardous to the economy.”
Another Nigerian, Mr. Iji Ina Dickson, said the office of the president requires one who is physically, mentally and emotionally capable to occupy.
He said, “A sick person can hardly deliver efficiently hence they are commonly not employed to work. It is nothing different with the office of the president and in fact it is an office that requires absolute stamina mentally, emotionally and physically to occupy.
“So for me, it simply sentimental to keep allowing a sick person to occupy the office. The result is 100days off from duty every now and then for medical attention at tax payers’ expense. The country obviously don’t need such now….not at all.”
On whether the President’s absence has affected the economy, Mr. Dickson said, “I don’t think so, because even while he was present the economy was in shambles. So his presence or absence has no remarkable effect economic wise.”
As days turn into weeks and weeks into months, the growing calls for Buhari to relinquish his hold on the throne in order to better deal with his faltering health keeps thickening.
Nigerians, have therefore called on Buhari to either resume office, or resign so that the already dwindling economy does not end up in total shambles.