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On Buhari’s vacation

By Editorial Board   |   07 February 2017   |   3:55 am

President Muhammadu Buhari

While the storm over President Muhammadu Buhari’s ‘medical vacation’ abroad rages and has been compounded by his request for an indefinite extension of same, it is important for all Nigerians to wish the President very robust health and pray for his safe return to the task of leading Nigeria.

While Buhari’s decision to go abroad for medical check-up has understandably generated a heated debate and sometimes harsh condemnation, his action is not really an exception. Nigerian leaders have, for decades, as a matter of lifestyle, always sought medical treatment abroad while the case for developing the health-care delivery system at home gets more compelling. Indeed, practically every Nigerian who can afford it does the same.

This, of course, is the shame. And there may be no end to this medical tourism at the highest level until the country’s leaders see reason to develop the healthcare system to a level good enough for them and for all Nigerians.


Making so much fuss about Buhari’s physical health and vacation is an unnecessary distraction. He is human and prone to illness like anyone else. However, the secretive disposition of the President’s handlers and their poor judgment seem to have fuelled the wild speculations about his condition.

It is certainly not a crime for anyone to be indisposed but in the case of a sitting President, as much information as possible must be given to avoid rumour mongering and unnecessary speculations. On this, history should have even been a guide. This same drama played out each time the late President Umaru Yar’adua made trips abroad for treatment until he passed on. And the same shoddy information management system was responsible for so much tension in the land.

If there is any good to be taken away from this current drama, it is that the need for the country’s healthcare system to be improved in the public interest is even more urgent.

On Thursday, January 19, the government announced that President Muhammadu Buhari was proceeding to the United Kingdom on vacation, as part of his annual leave, to resume work on February 6, 2017, and added that he would also undergo routine medical checkup during the trip.

In line with Section 145 (1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the President himself had said the President of the Senate and Speaker, House of Representatives, had been duly notified and while away, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, would dutifully perform the functions of the Office of the President.

So, all the right steps were taken to ensure that the business of government would not suffer. And, to the best of anyone’s knowledge, that business has not suffered.

This notwithstanding, many Nigerians are understandably offended that their President travelled abroad for routine medical checkup in spite of the huge amount of money allocated to the State House Medical Centre, Abuja in the 2016 budget.

This is even more painful when it is considered that such an action seems to have cast Buhari in the mould of those leaders who would not improve their nations’ health-care system but travel abroad at the slightest affliction of a flu. Many, of course, expect him to lead or follow the example of leaders of other nations who hardly seek care abroad but use their own countries’ facilities not just out of patriotism but as an advertisement of how their systems have been well developed.

More worrisome, however, is that one of the tragic fallouts of the trip has been the apprehension over the President’s state of health, culminating even in rumours of his death. Indeed, so feverish have been the speculations that they have taken on the air of a death wish for the President. Suffice to say that Nigerians of all tribes and tongues are renowned for their respect for life and reverence for their leaders. Nothing should ever be said or done to suggest a deviation from or repudiation of this age-long noble virtue. President Buhari is a leader, father, and brother with responsibilities not only to the country but also to his family. It is therefore, unacceptable for anyone to wish him dead. He is not only the current leader of Nigeria, he is the symbol of the nation’s being and stability.


It is however, important for the managers of the president’s communication system to endeavour to stem undue speculations with better ways information management.

In all of these, it is important to reiterate that the state of health-care delivery at the moment is horrible and a combination of factors interplay to force people to seek medical attention abroad. Among them are epileptic power supply; poor attitude to work by the medical personnel, leading, sometimes to negligence; wrong diagnosis; lack of critical equipment; non-availability of prescribed medication; poorly motivated medical personnel and frequent industrial action by different healthcare groups.

Consequently, a lot of medical cases have been mismanaged due to one problem or the other. The way out is for government at all levels to rise up to this national crisis and give the country a better health-care delivery system. In which case, President Muhammadu Buhari has his job well cut out for him after this period of rest.


In this article:
President Buhari


  • pajerow

    This is silly , quite defensive of an established fraud, sentimental too in a cheap blackmail . This cow banned medical travels for other ‘executhieves’ while he incessantly grabs the national treasury and the presidential fleet flying to London for medical treatment initially termed ‘rest ‘by liar Mohammed group of shameless bastards .

    The senate by now should elect a visiting team to visit him next Monday if he doesn’t return by weekend and a doctor should be among them to assess his current health and make recommendation of his capacity to rule.
    No medical tests in UK takes and indefinite period of time to comeback.

    • Adeniyi Kazeem

      Why must u call a fellow human being cow. Why have we lost our sense of decency. U can make your point without being abusive

      • pajerow

        But he is , a human being with records of killing other human beings ruthlessly even when there are no evidence of conviction and who is able to jail and maim , and who has declared war in the past should he lose an election is animalistic .He is very close to cows so I thought maybe he may have passively transformed to a cow by proximity .What does yourself now at all about decency anyway? .

    • Aj Umusu

      That was wrong to call our dear President a cow! Is not at all proper!… refrain from insulting or denegrading our leader!?

      • pajerow

        Lol. He is a leader to 2 groups
        1)The wise northerners who want an islamic leader by all means whichever way as long at the president of Nigeria is from the north-Alhamdulilai.These group of Nigerians are ready and eager to break Nigeria into tinny pieces if their primary interest is jeopardised .They don’t want roads -they trek In the bush rearing animals for the rich and they live there .They don’t want any infrastructure as long as a perceived leader buys kunu and tuwo for them in an islamic ‘sakat’ principle These almajiris constitute the bulk of the north and they are happy and ready to battle any one that opposes that system
        2)Idiotic southerners which are majorly yourubas(I’m a yoruba man o) are liars,thieves ,traitors but very ambitious, they want infrastructure and good things of life .They enthrone clueless elderly bastards who may have ruled or participated in politics before that failed and go back to them for advice.Here a complete rogue can lead a “change” revolution without him first being brought to book

        • Aj Umusu

          Well,you’re entitled to your candid opinion/ views…. but to be heard,you ought to refrain from insults,in order for your views not to be seem as bias… I believe the interest of Nigeria is best served, if a leader is elected,who has the entire country’s growth interest at heart,despite coming from a particular ethnic region or religion… and until such leader is found, the country would be in a dismal state as it is now… bearing that in mind, I don’t think Buhari is such a leader and this we all can see from the sorry state of affairs that we find ourselves right now… come 2019,he should be overwhelmingly voted out of power,to send an unequivocal message that Nigeria deserve better!

          • pajerow

            Thanks
            Maybe we will get there but certainly not in this formation .
            The point is, if he was actually truely voted in, in the first place .The northern census figure of fake population figures can win any election it is seeded to today if that doesn’t change.
            They played the southerners out in voters card distribution to further reinforce the assurance of their victory.
            We need first to raise Nigeria down first and rebuild it .

  • vincentumenyiora

    [It is however, important for the managers of the president’s communication system to endeavour to stem undue speculations with better ways information management.
    In all of these, it is important to reiterate that the state of health-care delivery at the moment is horrible and a combination of factors interplay to force people to seek medical attention abroad. Among them are epileptic power supply; poor attitude to work by the medical personnel, leading, sometimes to negligence; wrong diagnosis; lack of critical equipment; non-availability of prescribed medication; poorly motivated medical personnel and frequent industrial action by different healthcare groups.

    Consequently, a lot of medical cases have been mismanaged due to one problem or the other. The way out is for government at all levels to rise up to this national crisis and give the country a better health-care delivery system. In which case, President Muhammadu Buhari has his job well cut out for him after this period of rest.]

    And I said of Nigeria is in a QUANDARY afflicting even the PhD holders! Gov. Rotimi Amaechi boasted about building specialist hospitals in Port Harcourt when he was the CEO for River State where are the hospitals folks? And we heard about a private diagnostics Center in Imo State – 1st of its kind in Africa South of Sahara we were told at the launching – all very boastful in Nigeria! Moreover in Akwa-Ibom State Gov. Goodswill Akpabio built a fantastic Stadium never seen its kind in Africa yet no medical center to look after your President and Governors – not least we just heard Mr. Arthur Eze on NTA promise to deliver ‘Specialist equipment for the University Teaching hospital in Enugu – all of these speculative, folks! I bet that specialist Nigerian Doctors and nurses must be in the hospital where President M. Buhari is receiving treatment in London or in Germany attending (or barred to) attend to him, yet they cannot return back home in Nigeria to serve their country! And they are padding budgets in Nigeria for constituency projects – you can see the malady in Nigeria, folks!! What more IBB just returned from Switzerland we are told after seven weeks on medical treatment all at the behest and cost To the people! Behold IBB urges NIGERIANS TO ALWAYS PRAY FOR THEIR LEADERS TO KEEP IN GOOD HEALTH ALL THE TIME!!

  • vincentumenyiora

    HERE IS A GAUNTLET: Folks, in these two events about Nigeria (THE CJN AND BUHARI’s MEDICAL PROBLEMS) we shall know how clever or intelligent the leadership for Nigeria is – 1st the appointment/ cofirmation of the CJN and 2nd the President’s medical predicament if it’ll lead Nigeria to have, for the first time, a truly SPECIALIST HOSPITALS – at least two for Nigeria considering her population and in particular, going by the obvious fact that Nigeria has by now a good number of trained and experienced hands in the medical field (profession) to work in the complex! So, here we are folks, a test of not only wisdom but also an understanding of what leadership is all about for humanity!

  • vincentumenyiora

    THINK ABOUT THIS ASPECT OF YOUR DEVELOPMENT and the population of Nigeria is on the fast growth lane and your leaders are not ‘civilian’ trained politicians to know or be able to comprehend what it is all about politicking!

    What more, IBB just returned from Switzerland we are told after seven weeks on medical treatment all at the behest and cost to the people! Behold IBB urges NIGERIANS TO ALWAYS PRAY FOR THEIR LEADERS TO KEEP IN GOOD HEALTH ALL THE TIME and all that you suffer in Nigeria today, politically and economic, is as a reult of the bad and shortsighted managenet of the affairs of the people in Nigeria – I don’t need to remind you about what these are, starting from 1984 to 2007 when those with military background and training rulled this country!! If you’re in doubt or disagree about this obvious fact I fear, then you’re part of the ignorant ‘educated’ persons and also cowards I talked about Nigeria going by that obsequious characteristic of the people!!

  • Aj Umusu

    What are we saying? The task of running the affairs of this State is no easy fit ; and I think the President health is taking a big hit as it seam,without much ado. Be that as it may,i believe, the right and honourable thing to do,is for the President to step aside and hand over the reign of power to his vice President. This I believe is the proper thing to do! Think about it, the economy is in a bad state of recession, that the country has ever faced,in our whole existence, and we have a war we are desperately prosecuting in the north east, restiveness in the south East, killings by so called herdsmen, that needs proper investigation by the authorities, and the niger delta crisis. My country men, is it not tasking on our president to say that he should come back home and still be seriously involve in running the affairs of a vast and populous State as our dear beloved country? Let’s call a spade a spade,without seeing it as an agricultural equipment!? I think it’s obvious what he should do when he returns from this medical vacation of his, that he should do the proper and honourable thing and step aside for the love of the country,the well being of its citizens and for sake of his well being!… need I say more!?…

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