PMB’S RETURN AND MATTERS ARISING: MY OPINION
By Oluwole Sheriff Olusanya
Surprisingly, I had plans to write something different for the week. I probably thought my article on Workplace Relationships and Office Romance would be published this week but I changed my mind when I learnt that the Kogi State Government declared a public holiday on Monday to celebrate the safe return of the President who was on a Medical vacation for 103 days in the United Kingdom. This gigantic act of stupidity could not have passed me unnoticed. Perhaps, my readers would not dispute the fact that I employ every means possible to stay away from Nigerian politics in my weekly articles and write-ups but this show of shame as reached its tipping point. We need to remind our leaders that we are intelligent and educated individuals and they need to sit up and take the task of governance more seriously. We need to wake them up because their inept leadership skills are effecting every aspect of our socio-economic life as a country.
On Saturday, 19th August, our dear President returned to the country after more than 3 months away on a medical vacation. According to sources from the Presidency, he only returned home to seek approval for another medical trip in the United Kingdom and celebrate the upcoming Eid-el-Kabir Muslim festival in Nigeria. I remember vividly that in a previous article titled; “Social Justice, Rule Of Law and Democratic Governance In Nigeria (Part 2)”, I noted that NGN4.8billion was budgeted for the clinic in Aso Rock Villa which can be compared to the whole budget of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) for the same year in the 2016 budget. I cannot help but wonder why the President still needs these foreign medical trips when he is at the fore-front of the fight against Medical tourism and purchase of foreign goods over Made in Nigeria products. If these huge amounts of money were spent to fix and renovate the clinic in the Aso Rock Presidential Villa; why would he need to still travel all the way to the United Kingdom for frequent Medical check-ups and treatments at the expense of tax payers’ money? Why can’t he be treated in Nigeria?
Regrettably, The Kogi State Government headed by Alhaji Yahaya Bello declared Monday, 21st August 2017 – the first working day of the week a public holiday to celebrate the safe return of the President and I could not believe the news when I initially heard about it; is someone thinking right at all? What does the return of the President have in common with Kogi State? The funny fact is that the President’s state of origin – Katsina State did not even declare an hour in honour of the safe return on their indigene. So, why is Yahaya Bello and Kogi state bothered? I am curious to ask, what happens if he returns to the United Kingdom again and comes back? Another public holiday? We need to collectively condemn these act of recklessness and cluelessness in governance. I also read the lame excuse given by the state’s Director General, Media and Publicity, Kingsley Fanwo who said that the public holiday was necessary to celebrate the return of an African icon and the fact that our President is hale and hearty. I shudder at his lack of ideas and bootlicking attitude to defend an unpardonable aberration in governance.
On the President’s Welcome Back speech, I heard the broadcast on my way to work on Monday but I had to read the concluding part the next day. I commend the delivery and the content of the Back-To-Work speech but I do not appreciate the fact that the President did not mention the reason for his absence and the nature of his ill health. I totally believe that Nigerians should know what their President is suffering from and why it took him so long to return to his ‘brothers and sisters’. In the same vein, the President noted thus; “This is not to deny that there are legitimate concerns. Every group has a grievance. But the beauty and attraction of a federation is that it allows different groups to air their grievances and work out a mode of co-existence. The National Assembly and the National Council of State are the legitimate and appropriate bodies for national discourse. The national consensus is that, it is better to live together than to live apart.” – Excerpts from the President’s speech.
PMB needs to be reminded that his statement noting that the National Assembly and the National Council of State are the legitimate and appropriate bodies for national discourse cannot be farther from the truth. I believe he needs to apologize for the misguided information and he also noted that “It is better to live together than to live apart.” Well, we can only live together in a harmonious environment when everyone’s grievances and concerns are adequately discussed and resolutions met. He should know better.