African leaders have a strange addiction for traveling out of their country for medical treatment. This itinerant nature of African leaders has a negative impact on the security of their countries.
For Nigeria’s president Muhammad Buhari, who promised in 2015 to place a ban on medical tourism, and recently, in November 2016, commissioned a 5-star central hospital in Edo state, there is a contradiction between his political projections and his actions.
When in January 2017, Femi Adesina, the President’s spokesperson issued a statement that the President would travel to Britain for his routine medical check-up before returning to work on February 6 2017, the second trip in less than a year, the disclosure was greeted with mixed reactions.
Some Nigerians have pointed out that it would do the nation’s frail treasury more harm than good if the President has to travel abroad for treatments. For most Nigerians who woke on the 6th of February 2017 to the news of an extension of the President’s stay in London, there appears to be a re-enactment of late president Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s situation in 2009. The non-disclosure points to uncertainties surrounding President Buhari’s ‘medical tourism’.
Some citizens, empathetic to his health, think it is a good advice for the President to hand in his resignation. If heeded, the resignation would avail the President enough time to monitor his health. One advantage of the resignation for the country’s coffers which, according to a speech by President Buhari in April 2016, loses $1 billion yearly to medical tourism, and is presently witnessing its severest recession in 25 years, would be the money it gets to save.
In almost two years in office, the nation’s economy has taken a turn for the worst prompting economic experts to disclose that, perhaps, President Buhari does not possess the economic dexterity to maintain Africa’s largest economy. It is therefore necessary that a new leader, who possesses the required financial intelligence, take over the helm of affairs and help to revamp the terrible state of the country’s economy.
A refusal to resign, as championed by citizens on the opposite side of the divide, would leave the nation in a retrogressive state as the President’s trips to the United Kingdom for treatment has its adverse effect on the nation’s polity, a situation that had risen even while he was available. This situation might degenerate into a hijack of power by some members of the political class.
It is not clear what the present status of Nigeria’s President’s health is as there has been a deafening silence on the part of the presidential spokespersons as to the true state of affairs. But one thing is certain, the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo has been commissioned to stand in as an acting president, a case dissimilar from late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s regime with Goodluck Jonathan. This difference has further lent a strong voice to the rumours that President Buhari is dead.