Thursday, May 4, 2017

USA Africa Dialogue Series - Fw: Prof Olukotun's Column

Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone.
From: Ayo Olukotun <>
Sent: Thursday, 4 May 2017 13:23
Reply To:
Subject: Prof Olukotun's Column

                             BY AYO OLUKOTUN

"The health of the leader is inherently intertwined with the health of the nation". Former Governor of Osun State and All Progressive Congress leader, Chief Bisi Akande , The Punch, May 2, 2017. 
      As the opening quote by Chief Bisi Akande, APC leader demonstrates, concern and anxiety regarding the failing health of President Muhammadu Buhari have risen fever pitch in the last fortnight. Akande, who claimed to have wept when Buhari did not show up at the wedding of his grandson in Kaduna last saturday, blamed the President's handlers for covering up serious aspects of Buhari's health condition. The ink had hardly dried on Akande's statement when a vigorous debate, regrettable for its North-South polarisation, broke out. Illustrative of the sharp tenor of the reactions is a statement by the Northern Patriotic Assembly which took Akande to the cleaners and went on to say that he was preparing Chief Bola Tinubu's protege for taking over the Presidency. In a less strident tone, the Arewa Consultative Forum publicly went on record as condemning those making " careless and unneccesary remarks" about Buhari's health. Countering the position of the Northern motley of civil right activists and human rights lawyers defended Akande's position and went on to suggest that Buhari should take time off the presidency to fully mind his health.
        Hence, what should have been an objective and edifying discourse on a topical national issue was lamentably and regressively assuming an unhealthy political and geo-ethnic colouration. Once again, as too often happens in our polity, partisanship and identity politics are trumping important matters of statecraft. The pro and anti Akande debate, also mirror the divisions, buried for a while, between factions of the ruling APC. Geo-politics apart, there is also division between those who say that Buhari's condition is not serious enought for him to resign or to step aside, and those insisting that the country is at an impasse and that Buhari should end the dangerous uncertainty by either resigning or handing over to the vice president, so that he can devote time to properly mind his health. 
          To a great extent, the facts speak for themselves. Since he returned from an extended medical vacation in London, Buhari has only been seen in public a few times. Apprehensions mounted, when for three consecutive weeks, he failed to be present at the statutory meeting of the Federal Executive Council, and failed to show up at the friday jumat service. The rumour mill and social media went gaga with speculations, with some asserting thay not only is the President bedridden but that he is being fed intravenously as he could no longer perform such elementary tasks as eating. True, public imagination may be on over drive but the fact remains that the tepid assurances and over worked explanations offered by the information department no longer suffice. This is even more the case in a context where these same handlers had been implicated in an alarming cover up and down playing of Buhari's health while he was away to London. More believable, but not entirely satisfactory is the assurance given by the wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari, to the effect that her husband's health is not as bad as is been perceived, citing as evidence his scheduled meeting with the Minister of Justice and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company. It will have been helpful if the statement included some hard data on Buhari's recovery , outside an indoor meeting with two state officials. Besides, the process of recovery as included zig-zags featuring some days of slight activity alternating with longer days of incapacity.
       In such a situation, only public appearances of a sustained kind, can convince a skeptical public that Buhari is on the verge of recovery. Some have argued that since the vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo is up and about, and apparently doing most of Buhari's job, there is nothing to worry about. This is true to an extent but it understates the degree to which strategic and important matters rest on the President's table, in a Presidential sysytem of government. Even an acting President, should Osinbajo take that mantle again Is not the same as a full President. What this suggests is that, to rephrase Akande's formulation, for as long as Buhari is ailing, and incapacitated, the nation cannot be made whole. It would have been better if the nation, having narrowly survived the late President Umaru Yar'adua saga had avoided the treacherous valley of land mines in which it now finds itself. Indeed, this columnist warned the political class during the campaign not to walk into avoidable disaster on account of Buhari's uncertain health. I then went on to suggest the current governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal or the current governor of Kaduna State Nasiru El-rufai, as younger or vibrant alternatives. In the hoopla and irascible mien of the campaign season, my advice was brushed aside with some insinuating mischievously that I was working for the People's Democratic Party. Two years down the road however, the folly of embarking on a journey wiithout maps or flying blind, has clearly revealed itself.
      Now, there are no easy answers and few soft landings. Even without the albatross of an ailing President, a measure of disillusionment had gathered around the much talked about change agenda.The current incertainty can only make the matter worse as far as governance is concerned. There is also the alleged activities of a cabal around the president, who may be shielding him from public scrutiny in order to prolong their proxy rule. Clearly therefore, there is no question of calling on the government to undertake fundamental reforms or take major decisions under the current lameduck President. The former Secretary to Government of Federation, Babachir lawal, inadvertently, threw light on the increasingly nebulous nature of the Presidency when asked to proceed on suspension. Lawal had reportedly queried, who signed the letter? In other words, a power vaccum of sorts, now exists at the highest levels of government, and very few authoritative decisions can be taken.
        For a country that requires not just routine but turn around leadership, such a dangerous drift is most disturbing. It is also not healthy that polarisation along ethnic lines is beginning to enter into the debate. 
      What then is to be done? There is the need to nip in the bud the degeneration of the debate into the flare up of ethnic animosities. That can only becloud the real issues. It is important therefore that those who feel strongly on the issues should carry others along, especially those from other ethnic extractions. That apart, a lot of the right and urgent initiatives rest with the first family whose decisions and indecisions will have bearing on the resolution . As many have counselled, if indeed a realistic assessment of the situation compels another round of vacation by Buhari, then that decision should be taken urgently and with minimum fuss. This will not resolve all the difficulties, but it will at least prevent the circumstance from careering out of control or from political handlers manipulating things in order to reap maximum dividends at the expense of the citizens.Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

No comments:

Post a Comment

Vida de bombeiro Recipes Informatica Humor Jokes Mensagens Curiosity Saude Video Games Car Blog Animals Diario das Mensagens Eletronica Rei Jesus News Noticias da TV Artesanato Esportes Noticias Atuais Games Pets Career Religion Recreation Business Education Autos Academics Style Television Programming Motosport Humor News The Games Home Downs World News Internet Car Design Entertaimment Celebrities 1001 Games Doctor Pets Net Downs World Enter Jesus Variedade Mensagensr Android Rub Letras Dialogue cosmetics Genexus Car net Só Humor Curiosity Gifs Medical Female American Health Madeira Designer PPS Divertidas Estate Travel Estate Writing Computer Matilde Ocultos Matilde futebolcomnoticias girassol lettheworldturn topdigitalnet Bem amado enjohnny produceideas foodasticos cronicasdoimaginario downloadsdegraca compactandoletras newcuriosidades blogdoarmario arrozinhoii sonasol halfbakedtaters make-it-plain amatha