Tuesday, 7 June 2016

OPINION:-----Why presidency is lying about Buhari’s ill health

Why presidency is lying about
Buhari’s ill health

Editor’s note: President Muhammadu
Buhari has embarked on ten-day medical
leave on June 6, Monday to treat ear
O’Femi Kolawole in this piece for
TheCable explains why the presidency lies
about Buhari’s ill health.
President Buhari on his way to London
Blatant lies of the president’s team
With the news to the nation by presidential
spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, that President
Muhammadu Buhari will begin a 10-day vacation to
the United Kingdom on Monday and during the
period, seek medical attention for a “persistent ear
infection”, the lid has clearly now been blown on
the contempt and disrespect some members of the
president’s team have for Nigerians in the blatant
lies they tell.
This is because just 24 hours earlier, it was the
same Adesina who told the media that the president
is “as fit as a fiddle ” as well as “hale and
“Didn’t you see pictures of him receiving Anglican
bishops yesterday? Did he look sick? The president
is as fit as a fiddle. Anyone who says he is sick is
telling lies. That is a figment of the person’s
imagination. Just yesterday he received the Primate
of the Anglican Communion and Archbishops at the
Presidential villa. He also received former President
Olusegun Obasanjo. He is hale and hearty. The
imagination of whoever says that is on overdrive,”
Adesina had told TheCable last Saturday.
Even The Nation, a newspaper sympathetic to the
APC, the President’s political party, also published a
news story on Sunday, “Presidency: Buhari is not sick”
in which the President’s spokesman further dismissed
and described as false media reports that the
President was ill and treating an infection in his
left ear known as Meniere Disease. Adesina told the
newspaper that Buhari was fine and discharging his
duties as President of Nigeria.
But it’s obvious the man lied!
Now, what is wrong with being sick?
Anyone can fall sick anytime just as President Buhari
himself rightly said. So, why on earth would
Adesina lie about the president’s health? In whose
interest is it? Why make such statement when the
winds of time would expose such hypocrisy? Why
the deceit? Just why?
Mr. Adesina said anyone who says the president is
sick is telling lies. With President Buhari off to the
UK, it’s now apparent who the liar is! Verily, verily
I saith unto you, Nigerians, lying is corruption!
For a leading editor and columnist whose writings
many Nigerians loved to read while he was at The
Sun, it is surprising and shocking to see what being
at the corridors of power is turning an otherwise
distinguished journalist to. If he doesn’t already
know, Mr. Adesina must realise his fans are seriously

When he told the country that President Buhari was
as fit as a fiddle, he knew it was a lie. It wasn’t
correct information. Yet he chose to deceive over
170 million Nigerians about the true position of
things as if he didn’t know that if a lie travels for
20 years, the truth will catch up with it in just a
single day.  In his case, the truth caught up with
him just the next day.
How much is the life of the poor worth
in Nigeria?
But be that as it may, President Buhari’s medical
trip to London again raises the question about our
health care system in the country and particularly
the fate of sick but poor Nigerians who are neither
privileged to get state-sponsored care abroad like
some of our leaders and politicians nor can even
afford self-paid treatment for their illnesses and
diseases at home. Really, how much is the life of
the poor worth in Nigeria?
And why do we allow problems that can be
addressed promptly to fester and degenerate out of

For instance, Nigerians now know, through the CBN,
that a significant portion of the increasing forex
demand in the country is because many of our
citizens go for treatments in hospitals abroad and
enjoy spending summer holidays overseas. Why do
we continue to encourage medical tourism abroad?
What stops us from bringing at least other Africans
to Nigeria for the best medical treatment when our
doctors and nurses are doing wonders in other parts
of the world? Where are our thinkers and visionaries
in government like the fantastic guys doing wonders
in the United Arab Emirates?
Meanwhile, we are a people who seem to forget
things so easily and this pattern, despite persistent
lamentations by concerned patriots, evidently hasn’t
changed. We also don’t quite learn from history. I
believe the tragic death of former President Umaru
Musa Yar’Adua in Aso Rock back in May 2010 six
months after he was hurriedly flown to Saudi Arabia
for medical attention where he was diagnosed of
having pericarditis, an inflammation of the lining
of the heart, should have taught us some
unforgettable lessons as a country.
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For instance, after President Yar’Adua’s death, did
we bother to even ensure that the federal
government build truly-world class hospitals and
medical institutions across the country so that
leaders and citizens no longer need to spend scarce
resources flying to Germany, India, London,

Switzerland or Dubai for treatment of ailments that
can be handled here if the right equipment are
available? And who says state governments in each
of the six geopolitical zones of the country cannot
pool resources together and build at least a state-
of-the-art medical complex that will provide very
advanced care for Nigerians in their various zones?
And back to President Buhari’s trip, would it not
have even been cheaper for the president’s handlers
to fly his doctor and medical consultants to Nigeria
than for the president going there to meet them
with the number of aides who have to follow him
and the associated costs to the country?
Nigerians deserve to know about the
true state of Buhari’s health
In all of these, there are enough evidences of how
Mr. Adesina has talked down on Nigerians in the
last one year. But with embarrassing lies and
rigmaroles that have now been discovered from his
mouth as the president’s spokesman, it has only
gotten worse. I expected that a media leader like
him would have acted better in the circumstance
and understood that the president is no longer a
private citizen and Nigerians deserve to know about
the true state of his health with the scenario one
of his predecessors in that office, Mr. Olusegun
Adeniyi, THISDAY columnist and chairman of the
newspaper’s editorial board, confronted six years
ago during the Yar’Adua saga. Adesina has the duty
and responsibility to tell Nigerians the truth at all
times in his position. I believe he ought to
apologise to Nigerians if he won’t resign.
As humbling as tendering an apology may be for
him, it’s an action he owes the country and himself
because there will be life after being presidential
spokesman. The country needs to set a standard
which no one must breach whoever such is. It’s for
Nigeria’s overall good. And lest I forget, as
patriotic and godly citizens, we must always pray
for our country and leaders. I wish President Buhari
soonest recovery and more grace in the task of
rebuilding our fatherland. God bless Nigeria.
Kolawole is an award-winning Nigerian
journalist and author based in Lagos. You
can reach him via
ofemikolawole@gmail.com. Twitter:
This article expresses the author’s
opinion only.