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Buhari and His Tinubu Frankenstein | By Festus Adedayo

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The news last week that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had begun a probe into the finances of former governor of Lagos State and All Progressives Congress (EFCC) strongman, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, literally shattered the Nigerian political airwaves. In the news, the EFCC reportedly wrote a letter to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) asking it to furnish the commission with details of Tinubu’s assets declaration form. Dated November 6, 2020, marked CR/3000/EFCC/LS/Vol4/322 and signed by its then Zonal Head, Abdulrasheed Bawa who is now the EFCC chairman, media reports had it that the renewed probe was predicated on petitions written against Tinubu under the chairmanship of Ibrahim Magu which he swept under the rug. Chief among the allegations in the petition was that of Alpha Beta, a company allegedly owned by the ex-governor. Tinubu’s alleged ownership of sundry properties and concerns, among a plethora others, donned the said petition.

By “shattering political airwaves,” I meant that the politically naïve were taken aback by this turn of events. In virtually all the states of Nigeria, the periodic rat race for 2023 has begun and only the fittest can survive the heat. We are entering Nigerian politicians’ own masquerade festival season and its insignia of festivity – multiple coloured dresses – is beginning to appear. Anyone in possession of a political binocular microscope which can see through the recess of the fetid minds of the Nigerian politician would predict with oracular certainty that Tinubu’s mess has begun and can only witness a metastasis.

In the mind of the Nigerian politician, all that is foul is fair. A Nigerian politician’s desperation for power is so pervasive that it can be likened to that of a man driven to the point of killing his mother and roping his father for it. Scruples, ethos and dignity a
re easily sacrificed in political permutations while, all things taken into consideration, it will seem that those whose hearts are carapace-hard and incapable of empathy and sympathy operate at the highest echelon of political decision-making. Ancient ethos of requiting good for good easily becomes a sacrificial lamb when the Nigerian politician’s political calculus and permutations are in full swing.

It was all the above pieced together, added to the austere national good that inheres in it, which formed part of the rationale for the previous pieces I wrote on Tinubu’s touted aspiration to become the president of Nigeria. With an understanding of the mindset of those who make political decisions in Nigeria, it was not difficult to appear like a Nostradamus on the projected travails of a man who, in close to 22 years of Nigeria’s Fourth Republic, has gradually grown to become a power octopod.

At the risk of sounding patronizing, no 1999 Class of politician has acquired Tinubu-type huge political muscles, majesty and political bravura in Nigeria. The culmination of his grits manifested when, in 2015, he literally single-handedly ensured the emergence of severally-scorned-at-the-polls Muhammadu Buhari as president of Nigeria. A source once told me that, on the announcement of Buhari as president, Tinubu was so literally intoxicated at the outcome that he announced to some group of people that what that meant was not only that all corporations and institutions of Nigeria were in his pocket but that Nigeria herself had thenceforth began to oscillate right on top of his thumb. As vast as he is about the temperature of power and power politics in Nigeria, never did it occur to him to factor into the equation the understanding that, requiting good with blood-curdling wickedness was the genetic component of Nigerian political chess-gaming.

During this time, the most potent weapon for Tinubu to achieve whatever he wanted as a political aspiration in a larger Nigeria was to, like Chief Obafemi Awolowo, tighten his hold on his western Nigerian base, become Awo-ly consequential therein and use this hold to secure a negotiation on administering the rest of Nigeria. Unfortunately for him, gradually, he lost grips of his base, so much that, if an election is conducted in Yorubaland today, Tinubu can scarcely win two states to his side.

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Corruption in Nigeria is indeed hydra-headed. Many analysts have imputed a genetic drift into it. Scholars have also submitted that Nigeria would continue to be the laughing stock of the world, even as it witnesses regression in all departments of statehood, until that national leeching spirit is exorcised. With this as the background, asking the EFCC not to do its constitutionally-assigned duty of smoking out malefactors, will tantamount to seeking nourishment and flourish for evil to continue its imperious reign in Nigeria.

However, the modus operandi of this EFCC searchlight on Tinubu appears very shroudy and bears every imprimatur of politics. Exchanged in hushed tones and whispers, information that Tinubu’s hold on its erstwhile chairman Ibrahim Magu, is akin to that of a Mandarin, has been oscillating in the public domain for a while now. It was even said that, aware of their incestuous dalliance, Buhari and his power apparatchik deliberately refused to confirm the Maiduguri-born cop’s tenure as substantive chairman of the commission as a way of exhibiting their disdain for Tinubu. Nigeria’s Attorney General, Abubakar Malami, is the legal anvil through whom the legal aspect of the equation is baked and served. So when the EFCC boss began to go through his long-winding travails that eventually led to his exit, those who were knowledgeable about power equations said that it was the first omen that the scaly hands of the Nigerian power establishment was on its way to getting the Lagos political principality. There was no way they could get Tinubu without first demolishing his hold which Magu approximated and an anti-corruption czar who is the establishment’s lickspittle surely appears a fitting icing on the cake to dismantle the Tinubu stronghold.

If the highly touted familial relationship between Malami and Bawa, newly appointed EFCC chairman, has any modicum of truth in it, then it may be justifiably said that Bawa’s main assignment could be to achieve the Buhari click’s end result of smoking out Tinubu. The desperation to push through the candidacy of the 40-year old young man and the apparent frenetic drive to adjust his eligibility cadre are pointers to this effort. Bawa had just spent 16 years in the commission. As a starter, what structured public service job would anybody do for just 16 years and would have acquired enough depth to sit at its zenith?
A last-minute shoring up of Bawa’s service cadre was curiously, and with cheetah speed, done before his appearance at the senate. An implementation of the Justice Ayo Salami panel’s alleged recommendation that police officers should be stopped from heading the commission was also haphazardly pushed through. The question is, is the white paper of the panel’s report out? If it is not out, was it not putting the cart before the horse to implement a recommendation before its white paper is out? The last we heard of the Salami-led judicial panel of enquiry report was that President Buhari had set up a four-man committee to review it.

Also in the news was that the committee would be saddled with producing the White Paper on the probe report whose main recommendation was the removal of Magu. Garba Shehu, the president’s aide, confirming this sequence, had said that “the judicial panel made wide-reaching recommendations which must be carefully studied and acted upon. A White Paper committee is working on the report.”

Again, the ongoing party re-registration being conducted by the APC is a direct rough tackle of Tinubu’s suzerainty in the party. The earlier registration was said to have had been his brainchild which he owned, including the company which conducted it, which was his proxy. He deployed this register to his advantage, especially in states of the country conducting governorship party primaries mid-season in the last few years. By asking for a fresh registration, party faithful know that it is an indirect jab against and vote of no confidence on Tinubu’s control of the party, again by the cabal that is remote-controlling the present Tinubu’s travails.

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The major reason why the presidency wants Tinubu roasted is unclear. Could it be revenge for alleged accusation of him sponsoring the EndSARSriot of October 2020? Tinubu and his lieutenants have spiritedly denied complicity in the allegation. If you look at the date of the correspondence of the EFCC to the CCB, you will realize that the state sprung into action to nail Tinubu barely a month after that seismic riots. Could it also be an attempt to cut the wind off his presidential ambition’s sail by putting EFCC spanners in the works? Already, actions have sprung up towards that presidential bid. A Southwester group, SWAGA, has been meeting in all the states of the west to give life to the aspiration and some northern states have been receiving lobbyists who promote the said Tinubu aspiration. What is however indubitable about this is that the attempt to probe Tinubu is a ooze out of the struggle for control of political space and the presidency is wielding its coercive cudgel to teach the Lagos political czar a lesson of his life.

If the second scenario was the enabler of the Tinubu hunt, it stands against reason that the Lagos octopod himself would not have gauged the resentment of the presidency to his presidential bid before now. There is no doubt that Tinubu made a fatal calculation in misreading the disposition of the people he backed for the presidency in 2015 to him. It is apparent that they are disdainful of him and believe he is worse than a pig in the mire. He was a whiff lucky to have had this pall now hovering over his head delayed for over six years of the Buhari presidency. Just about six months into Buhari being in office, the push to neutralize Tinubu began. The proposal to liquidate him was published as an opinion piece in the Sun newspaper of this period, with very scary propositions to get him probed. So many disparaging comments were made about his person that bordered on the libelous, with the conclusion that he be sacrificed by Buhari, not minding that he played a very significant role in the president’s election.

That fatal misstep of queuing behind Buhari led to a flurry of other missteps. The most cataclysmic of these was his sudden aloofness to the interests of his people. As the Buhari government’s policies became anti-people, Tinubu’s hands were tied to government and against his people. For instance, while the Yoruba agonized over the killing of Mrs. Funke Olakunrin, daughter of Afenifere leader, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, by people suspected to be Fulani herdsmen, Tinubu stormed the Akure home of the Yoruba leader and poured vitriol on the wounds of the people. “I don’t want to be political, but I will ask, where are the cows?” he had asked sarcastically, apparently deflecting arrows that pointed at the Fulani cow herders.

At several other junctures where his people felt the agonizing pinch of Buhari’s inhuman policies, mum was the word from Tinubu. On the sparse occasion that he spoke, he went so off-tangent that you would wonder how political aspirations can diametrically push people off the path of their people. The final nails on the coffin were Tinubu’s stance on the EndSARS protest which was again, a bonding with the Buhari government. So also was his loud silence on the recent spate of killings and kidnappings in his Southwestern home states.

Last week, at the commissioning of the 1.4km Lagos Agege/Pen Cinema flyover, Tinubu again lapsed into his proclivity for absurd and off-key thinking and got deserved flaks from Lagosians for his unfeeling remarks. While thanking Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for “not letting us down,” Tinubu pilloried his predecessor, Akinwumi Ambode, the visioner who envisioned the flyover project he had come to celebrate. If Ambode had not dreamt that dream, many wondered what the celebrant-in-chief would have had to celebrate. It is typical Tinubu to always sing at the feet of the deity that recently feeds his esophagus.

Having said the above however, the Buhari government would be making its own most fatal mistake if it thinks that it could demonise, criminalise and liquidate Tinubu by stealth due to his rumoured attempt to run for the presidency. Or for any politically motivated reason whatsoever, clothed with an apparel of running foul of the law. If he thinks the Yoruba will clap for him while he drags Tinubu in the mud, he has a think coming. He will face the stiffest opposition to this act from Yorubaland. At a moment like this when Nigeria has become this divisive, so much that any small tinder could make it explode, singling Tinubu out from the crowd of those pillaging Nigeria, among whom are multiple of northern rogues who have continually profited from the laxity of our system, will make a hero out of him and quicken the final explosion of Nigeria.

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Historically, Yoruba always stand behind the weak, at the expense of the strong. The famous Yoruba folklore of Tortoise and his In-law explains the attitude of the people to masters of the brawn that Buhari is trying to fashion himself from. Tortoise’s In-law had committed an infraction against him and as recompense, he had his hands and legs tied and, to put him to proper shame, had him tied to a tree where farmers going to their farms could see him early in the morning. As they saw him and asked Tortoise what his In-law’s err was and he told them, they were livid against Tortoise’s In-law. However, upon their return in the evening and still seeing the In-law in the same state, their anger turned against Tortoise. They prefixed their about-turn anger at him on what the wily animal would have done to the malefactor if he was not his in-law. This is represented in the Yoruba phrase, ototo yi, ana ijapa! When they are at the crossroads, the type that the Buhari government wants to place southwest, with his harangue of Tinubu, Yoruba also remember that Janus-faced wise-saying that Omo eni o ni se’di bebere ka fi ileke si’di omo elomin, translated to mean, parents will always be on the side of their child, no matter their imperfection.

Yoruba did same for MKO Abiola who in the Second Republic, because of the promise to make him president in 1983, turned full circle against his people and used his Concord newspaper as weapon to demonize Chief Obafemi Awolowo. It was the same stance they took when General Sani Abacha sentenced General Olusegun Obasanjo to death over what later panned out as a phantom coup. Even Professor Wole Soyinka, in spite of his highly-burnished dislike for the Owu-born General, and many Yoruba human rights activists, fought stridently to wriggle Obasanjo off the Kano General’s maniacal grips.

The Buhari government and Tinubu himself should accept that they are both Frankenstein monsters to each other. They are both each other’s 2015 mutually destructive inventions. Frankenstein’s monster, you will recall, is a creature, a fictional character in the 1818 novel The Modern Prometheus, written by Mary Shelley. She had compared the scientist who created the monster, an 8 feet tall and “terribly hideous” character in his laboratory, Victor Frankenstein, to Prometheus. While Prometheus moulded humans out of clay and imbued them with fire, Frankenstein’s ambiguous human being attempted to fit into the human society and when it was shunned, killed Frankenstein in the process. I hope the self-styled Mai Gaskiya is listening.

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Economic Empowerments Initiative : Another First From O’ First Group

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Saturday April 3rd , 2021 recorded another unusual event in the ancient city of  Ogbomoso in Oyo state when scores of people were empowered by the Ogbomoso First Initiatives (O’First Group) with economic tools worth N50million  for sustainability and wealth creation.

The group, which was pronounced the first community group  to have established a Behavioural Action Care Centre in Nigeria by the Executive Chairman of the NDLEA , Gen. Buba Marwa (rtd) also scored another first as a non political group to Empower people with items of such magnitude.

O’First Group is a group of professionals, kind-hearted people who are determined to use their influence, God given wealth and opportunities as well as knowledge to have  positive impact on the society and make it a better place for all to live. It’s major concern is not just about today’s healthy living  but the future of Ogbomoso and they are making frantic efforts to ensure that the ancient community is drug and crime free.

The leadership of the benevolent group are conscious of the fact that, poverty and crime has deeply permeated the society, hence, the need to reduce its unholy influence is by making provision for the vulnerable and putting in place facilities than can correct and control the effect of drugs which is the root of the increasing crime rates in the society.

Beneficiaries  of the economic empowerment programm are vulnerable members of the society including  widows, Artisans and aged people with a low  chances of survival in this the harsh economic situation in the country.

Items distributed at the event include, Industrial Sewing Machines, complete Unisex Saloon Kits, grinding machines, Motorcyles and bicycle Generator among others .

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Folakemi, a middle aged widow with four Children said , ” I am grateful, I don’t know what to say but I know this will boost my income and I will be able to feed my children and educate them with less  expectation from siblings and friends”.

Similarly, some members Ayotosimi Foundation Widow group were full of praise and appreciation to the leadership of O’first group for the support which they claim came at a time when its mostly needed.

Also, Ogbomoso South Police State and Ogbomoso Area Command were giving motorcycles to enhance movement of officers during surveillance and patrol for effective security.

President of the group, Barrister Olusegun Adekunle, a retired permanent Secretary from the Federal  Civil Service , in his remarks informed that what motivated the free distribution of valuable equipments to the beneficiaries was borne out of the group’s numerous aims and objectives which included poverty alleviation, discouraging youths to eschew drug abuse, to remake the undesirable elements back into the community with a view to allowing them be useful to themselves through various empowerment programmes and vocational trainings

He added that  the essence was to corroborate the efforts of the government to create wealth and tackle poverty in the country and as the name of the association implies ; Ogbomoso ‘First Group,  the charity begins at home

Adekunle, who identified a nexus  between poverty and crime and the need to tackle them said “we have a lot of people who are widows, helpless, vulnerable and we have to systematically uplift them in such a manner that it can lower the temperature of Insecurity and poverty. We can’t leave everything to government, the society, the Community must play its role, we must all come together”.

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Òtunba Báyò Babatunde, the Pioneer President of the group, also implored all the beneficiaries to make the best use of the items cheerfully given to them and equally enjoined them to emulate the spirit of diligency and hardwork being displayed by one woman who was empowered by O-First about three years ago with a motorcycle but who has now enhanced her business by purchasing additional three of such motorbikes, due to her perseverance and dedication to duty, saying that, what the group just did is to resurrect lives of the needy in the spirit of the resurrection of Jesus Christ..

Professor Sola Adepoju, DG Forestry Research Institute, Bishop Morohunfolu Moradeyo, Engineer Muftau Open Salawu, Aresa of Iresaapa and others who spoke at the event, jointly commended the group for their ingenuity in lifting people out of poverty, just as they urged the beneficiary to make best use of the working tools.

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Opinion: IBADAN, Honour to the undeserving | By Wole Arisekola

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According to an American lawyer and politician, who served as the 30th president of the United States from 1923 to 1929; Calvin Coolidge, said ‘no person was ever honoured for what he received but honour has been reward for what he gave.’

All over the world, conferment of chieftaincy titles on deserving personalities is a way of expressing gratitude for impactful gestures of individuals that have through their magnanimity and benevolence benefited the awarding community whereby gratefulness of the people is bestowed on the beneficiaries of such titles in recognition of their irrefutable impacts with anticipation of continued purposeful living to further enhance the lots of the title awarding community.

Invariably, for conferment of chieftaincy to be worth the while, there must be convincing evidence of the presence and stupendous proofs of positive influence of title beneficiary widely felt and appreciated by the members of the title awarding community, otherwise, such titles become a scam.

The above depicts is the current trend in the award of Chieftaincy titles by the exalted throne in Ibadanland, Oyo State of Nigeria.

Chieftaincy titles come in different worths and diverse values. Some may be taken for granted while others must worth the status. The title “Agba Oye”, which refers to “High Chief”, is supposed to be preserved for an individual of perpetual influence who has grown through the ranks relentlessly providing shoulders for others to learn on and bringing widespread soccur to all and sundry remaining unwavering and unflinching in his positive impacts on the community over time without being found wanting over a reasonable length of time.

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The Late Chief Harry Ayoade Akande, the immediate past Agba-Oye of Ibadanland, was known for enormous wealth. He lived in extreme affluence with a record of being rated one of the richest black men ever lived but never had any conspicuous impact on the community that awarded him with one of the most revered titles of the land.

As they say, once bitten, twice shy. If the most prestigious title of Ibadanland was given in error in the past, caution ought to be taken to avert the repeat of such a gaffe. A deserving personality for the esteemed title of Agba Oye of any community ought to be a man with a household name in the community with convincing impact and evidence of kind gesture is felt and acknowledged by all and sundry in the community.

Late Mufutau Ajadi Lanihun of blessed memory was never a big title holder but his name resonated with philanthropy, care for the downtrodden and peerless love for Ibadanland. Such is the worth of an individual deserving of a respected title in Ibadanland.

Curiously, the recent installation of Engr. Kola Karim as the new Agba Oye of Ibadanland leaves some questions unanswered – Who is Kola Karim in the social, religious, communal and philanthropic spheres of Ibadanland? What has been his credence in the Ibadan traditional council, his contributions to societal development of Ibadan city, his evidence of impactful living among the downtrodden not to talk of ingenious associations, the Olubadan palace itself and the central council of Ibadan Indigenes?

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The Ibadanland ought to have outgrown ‘titles for sale syndrome’ whereby only the highest bidder takes the weighty honour of the land. This makes titles become cash and carry.

Conversly, the award of the revered title of Agba-Oye of Ibadanland puts the beneficiary of the title under spotlight to prove his worth as deserving of the title, otherwise the title is considered awarded in error.

Consequently, in order to redress the hideous trend, all concerned stakeholders and prominent sons and daughters of Ibadanland must be involved in the selection process of whoever is deserving of titles from the exalted throne of Olubadan since title holders are not only subjects to the Kabiyesi but also have the sanctity of Ibadanland to preserve and the interests of all and sundry in Ibadan to protect.

 

 

Aare Wole Arisekola writes from Ibadan.

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The President Is A Sick Man: Buharis’ secret surgeries inside Oneida yacht 

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The President Is A Sick Man is the title of a book written by Philadelphia-born award-winning American journalist, Matthew Algeo. It is a chronology of the medical travails of President Grover Cleveland, lawyer, statesman and one of the most famous public speakers of his time. Cleveland was the 22nd and 24th president of the United States of America, from 1885 to 1889 and 1893 to 1897. The book chronicles how inexorably linked the health of a president and the health of the nation are.

Cleveland was America’s first and only two nonconsecutive-terms president in history. He was also the first democrat to become the American president in 28 years. Famously renowned for always speaking the truth, he was regarded as a very virtuous man, so much that his most memorable quotation, ramped up into a cliché, was “Tell the Truth.” Like Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari whose minders ingenuously chiseled out an alias, Mai Gaskiya, of out of his simple lifestyle which, unbeknownst to the generality of Nigerians, was a façade that covers gross latitude for egregious corruption by the people who surround him, America was later to find out that, wrapped up inside that Cleveland shawl of “telling the truth” was the most untruthful cover-up in American history, far more scandalous than Watergate. What revealed Cleveland’s real persona was his battle with mouth cancer and an extraordinary, even if political cover-up of this infirmity that lasted almost a century, garnished with a successful attempt to keep it from the American people.

Cleveland had assumed the American presidency on March 4, 1885 as the second bachelor president in her history, after James Buchanan. Critics called Cleveland debauched, due to his penchant for “bringing his harlots to the vicinity of the White House.” However, on July 1, the summer of 1893, Cleveland suddenly disappeared from the radar and couldn’t be found anywhere in the White House. Or anywhere in America. It was a challenging time when America was embroiled in what newspapermen labeled, in oblique vernacular, “The money question.” America was teetering on the brinks of financial and social chaos. The economy was threatening to kiss the canvass; unemployment figures were competing with the firmament in height; banks and factories were shutting their gates with reckless abandon and stock prices were in a free fall.

On May 5, 1893, two weeks shy of his 56th birthday, the second day of his swearing in at the Capitol for a second term, Cleveland noticed a rough spot on the roof of his mouth which, by the prodding of his wife, Frances, prompted the invitation of the president’s friend, New York surgeon and Cleveland family physician, Dr. Joseph Decatur Bryant, to look it up. Bryant diagnosed oral tumour, malignant in nature, “an ulcerated surface with an oval outline about the size of a quarter of a dollar.” He called it a “bad looking tenant” that should be evicted post-haste.

Right from the 5 BC, cancer had garnered the notoriety of the most dreaded disease in human history. America of the 19th century was no exception, nor President Cleveland himself. He was thoroughly afraid. The dread was such that, even Greek physician of the Age of Pericles, Hippocrates, also known as Hippocrates of Kos or Hippocrates II, who was renowned to be one of the most outstanding personalities in medical history, was quoted to have urged that “It is better not to apply treatment in the cases of occult (internal) cancer; for if treated, the patients die quickly; but if not treated, they hold on for a long time.” The fear was that, if the cancer afflicting Cleveland had gone into metastasis, the lower part of his left eye socket would be removed during surgery and thus permanently impairing his vision.

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On July 1, 1893, President Cleveland got lost inside the Oneida, his friend, Commodore Elias Benedict’s yacht. For five good days, he was declared missing. William Williams Keen, America’s most famous and celebrated surgeon of the time and a team of other surgeons, performed the surgery to remove the cancerous tumor that had grown dangerously and embarrassingly on the president’s upper jaw and palate. The most shocking aspect of it was that, one very enterprising newspaper reporter, E. J. Edwards, later got the information and reported the secret surgery. Cleveland’s Garba Shehus descended on the journalist with the highest acerbity ever. They even labeled him “a disgrace to journalism.” It was not until decades later that one of Cleveland’s surgeons exposed the startling disappearance.

I told this long story so as to be able to bring the Nigerian and African experience of the Cleveland disease – not the disappearance per se but the stunt of keeping ailments out of the people’s klieg by elected presidents, in focus. While some may argue that the Cleveland covert surgery legitimizes many similar equations in Africa, the fact that this happened in America, in the “dark age” of the 18th century, delegitimizes such argument.

Drawing shawls on the health status of African leaders today while they suddenly disappear to undertake their own surgeries inside Cleveland’s type Oneida yacht has a history behind it. It is the mentality of continuation of the great empires and monarchies of Africa where kings were perceived to be infallible, super-human and incapable of falling prey to the afflictions of plebeians and common people. African leaders, seeing themselves in same mould of kings and emperors, believe that they must not be heard having failing health, nor their health status made public. In what other way can it be said to them that, no matter one’s status in life, no one is immune to death and health failings?

This trend that I call the Kabiyesi mentality, has bred a pandemic of leaders of Africa who, almost like 19th century Cleveland, “abdicate their thrones” covertly to seek remedies abroad, without the knowledge of their people.

In October, 2016, that was how President Peter Mutharika of Malawi disappeared from the radar, at which time he was 76 years old, suddenly undertaking his own surgery inside Cleveland’s type Oneida yacht. He had gone to attend the United Nations General Assembly mid-September and didn’t come back until October 16. This provoked speculations in Malawi that he had died, with his cagey aides failing to divulge his whereabouts. There were later disclosures through the grapevine that he had vamoosed to some parts of Europe to attend to his health. Same was the story of Gabonese President, Ali Bongo, son of Omar Bongo. At a time in November, 2018, Ali was said to have been “seriously ill,” with speculations rife in the air that he had died after suffering from stroke. He was just 59 yearrs then. Findings however later revealed that he had not died but that was holed up in a Saudi Arabia hospice.

Oil-rich Angola’s Jose Eduardo Dos Santos, who ruled the country from 1979, also eloped to Spain to have his own surgery-inside-Cleveland-type Oneida yacht. He had sought medical remedy to an undisclosed ailment in May, 2017. It was after about three weeks of his noticeable absence from the public that his foreign minister, after pressure from the opposition, confirmed his unceremonious absence. Again, until his death at age 95, Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe was always dashing in and out of Singapore hospitals. In the same vein, Benin Republic’s Patrice Talon was perhaps one of the rarest breeds of that African leadership caste to make public disclosure on what ailed him. After the 59-year old president, who took over from Thomas Yayi-Boni, disappeared from the radar for about three weeks, his minders, on June 19, 2017, released the information that he had undergone two successful surgical operations in Paris. He said doctors had found a lesion in his prostate.This further necessitated another surgery in his digestive system.

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Last week, Nigeria took her own ample shares of African presidents’ unwitting communication of their superhuman status to the public. President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria had jetted out to the United Kingdom to undertake his own surgery-inside-Cleveland-type Oneida yacht, “for routine medical checkup.” In March 2017, the then 74-year-old president had suddenly appeared on the radar, after unceremoniously disappearing for seven weeks, from January 19. He had jetted to the UK to treat an ailment which till today is undisclosed, flakes from which stoked the general perception that his failing health had grossly been responsible for the ungoverned space that Nigeria had become for the period of his presidency.

It was so bad that some cynics wickedly alleged that the character that was flown back to Nigeria after the weeks of treatment in a UK hospice was a Buhari look-alike from Sudan and that the original had passed on. Buhari too didn’t help matters. Anytime his minders fail to put on the latch and he speaks ex-tempore, the president gives them public relations migraine, veering off course into irrelevances like a wandering spirit. This is why they only release him for photo-ops, taking care that he does not get any media engagement. For how long is this window-dressing going to last?

The only known communication of Buhari’s ailment by the presidency was the claim that he had an ear infection, an ailment that took him to the same UK in 2016. On May 7 of same year, Buhari went back to the UK for “further medical checks,” necessitating his before-now voluble wife, Aisha visiting him. His Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, acted as President during this interregnum and Nigerians, who had witnessed a previous Katsina kinsman of Buhari, Umaru Yar’Adua, dying in office, were wary of this continuous absence.

Whether he personally learnt his lessons from “the mistake” of temporarily dispensing power to his ngbati ngbati VP or that the Villa cabal felt threatened by Osinbajo’s superlative three months performance in office, it was obvious that they both dreaded such equation ever happening again. So, this time around when Buhari hopped into the presidential jet to his UK infirmary, his minders, seemingly emerging from sleepless nights of studying the constitution, obstinately announced that he would not vacate power to anybody, as the constitution allows him to spend his two weeks projected stay with medics in the UK.

There must be a genetic dysfunction in African presidents which necessitated them not disclosing their health status. Worse still, they try to hold on to power like an adhesive, in spite of and despite their failing health. Let leaders, especially African leaders, who have the tendency to be unduly secretive, disclose the facts of what ail them to their citizens. These citizens will in turn pray for their leaders’ recoveries. On the claim that the opposition would capitalize on the disclosure to torpedo them, let who is immune from sickness and death throw the first stone.

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If the health failings of the presidents are such that they cannot function in office effectively, since presidency is not a birthright, let them step aside and their deputies step in. Of course, those who profit from the power stagnation arising from the incapability of ailing leaders would fight tooth and nail to continue to pad them up. Don’t they know that there is a metaphysical and indeed, physical link between the health of the president and the health of a nation? No one needs any peep into the Ouija-board to know that since Buhari came back from the infirmary in 2017, he had literally and figuratively ceased to be capable of administering Nigeria.

The most germane question to ask is, why hasn’t Buhari constructed a world-class hospice similar to the one he visits periodically and shamelessly in the UK, in his six years of being president? Is it naivety, inability or sheer incompetence? The billions of dollars voted to resuscitate an abiku Port Harcourt refinery will no doubt build twice of such and stuff it with world class medics.

Those who argue strongly in defence of Nigerian sovereignty should well know that that same sovereignty is seriously bayoneted by the Nigerian president being a captive patient in a foreign hospital, subjected to the medical suzerainty of UK nationals, on their own soil. There is no doubting the fact that all information about Nigeria and what ails her president would by now be in the hands of the United Kingdom government. So what sovereignty are we talking about?
Administering Nigeria has since been done by proxies. This is why Nigeria has been very sick, from all ramifications.

Consequently, all manner of afflictions, ranging from security, social to economic, have been attempting to down the Nigerian ship of state. Now imagine how many Nigerians have died, literally and metaphorically, due to the absence of firm, knowledgeable and perspective Nigerian leadership and presidential power since Buhari took ill. This is why many members of the cabal who forcefully make Nigeria’s presidential corpse to walk are spending blood money and occupying blood-encrusted offices. The blood of those who die or get incapacitated due to lack of grits of presidential power, in that un-Godly process, is crying for vengeance.

 

 

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