The Nigerian Presidency and Why Eric Stuart Should Shut Up!
On May 8, 2017, the President of Nigeria- Muhammadu Buhari transferred power to his Vice President as he left for medicals in London for the second time in 2017. Although the Presidents’ language in his letter to the national assembly raised dust as it names Osinbajo ‘Coordinator of National Affairs’ instead of Acting President; the ease with which Buhari transfers power whenever he needs to leave has been applauded by many as a sign that Nigeria’s Presidency is fortunately assuming it’s nature as an institution rather than a personality.
Who is the Presidency?
In every democratic presidential setting, the Presidency is the arrowhead of the Executive arm of government. Headed by the president himself, the Presidency includes the Office of the Vice President, the multiple offices of all the support staff that work with the President and his cabinet of ministers.
Thus, although there can be no Presidency without a President, the President is not the Presidency!
I found it rather appalling therefore that former British law-maker- Eric Joyce twitted of Buhari’s death. Especially because Eric Joyce might have worked in Africa, studied Africa and lived in Africa; he either knows nothing about the current political clime of Nigeria or doesn’t care about the success of it. Anyone that wants the integrity and unity of Nigeria will not wish the President dead nor spread rumors about it as far as the Presidency is alive. To understand my posit, we need to remember who President Buhari was and who he is now.
Buhari Back in Time
Muhammadu Buhari started his journey into spotlight in 1961 when he joined the Nigerian then Nigerian Military Training College, probably as one of the youngest and very first set of students at about age 19. He would later complement his military carrier at British military establishments including the Mons Officer Cadet School of which the Crown Prince of Yugolsovia, the King of Bahrain, the emir of Dubai and former President Olusegun Obasanjo are alumni among other notable rulers, living and dead.
Following disagreements with President Shagari over relationship with Chad, Muhammadu Buhari led a military coup to remove the ‘curropt’ democratically elected government under Shehu Shagari and his company of vested interests. After ruling from 1983-1985, being kicked-out by his own Chief of Army Staff and successfully running a transparent, military-favoring Petroleum Trust Fund; Buhari would later return to the democratic system of government he kicked out as he relentlessly contested for the Presidency in 2003, 2007 and 2011.
In 2015, he joined forces with other top opposition parties to change the history of Nigerian democracy by winning an election against an incumbent president, leading Jonathan by around 3 million votes.
Since taking office in 2015, Buhari has made significant progress in the fight against curroption, the war on Boko Haram and the struggle with the economy posed by a global decrease in price of petroleum. He has also successfully stepped on the toes of lawmakers many of whom are only grieved by the administrations position on corruption and doing things right.
Why Nigeria may be Hiding Buhari
Everytime the president was going out on leave, he would transfer power to the lanky law professor Yemi Osinbajo. The last time President Buhari left, Vice President Osinbajo performed as many Nigerians say, better in 50 days than Buhari had in 5 months. This raised a lot of issues with the political elite, the handlers of the president, the leadership of the party and the “Sai Baba” chanting supporters of the president. Probably in an attempt to reduce the political influence of Prof. Osinbajo, the latest transfer of power letter didn’t name him as Acting President.
As the president recuperates in London, many politicians are on the scramble for a piece of national power and an opportunity to be a force to reckon within the administration. For instance, there were rumors that Buhari was going to resign until Osinbajo objected to having the Senate President, who is under corruption investigation, to be his Vice President.
The threat of military coup is also very crucial to national security. Many forget that Buhari is a military general with violent tendencies and numerous violent supporters, if he dies in office therefore, some supporters of the president would attempt to topple government especially because of an idea that the Presidency right now, belongs to Northern Nigeria, not to the West from which Osinbajo comes.
If Nigeria is indeed hiding the facts about the current state of the president, it would definitely be for reasons of national security. The integrity of the nation is worth withholding such not very consequential information and it is not Eric Stuart’s job to cause trouble in our country. Or is it?
The idea of the Nigerian union is a miracle on itself. I don’t think there’s anywhere in the world where 180 million people with about 250 dialects live as one nation for over 60 years bearing one name, using one currency despite their many differences. The three regions that make Nigeria can in every sense be compared to most countries of the world. Take geography for instance, the Rivers Niger and Benue divide the country into North, West and East. The 3 language groupings- Hausa Ibo and Yoruba can delineate countries; the country Nigeria is that embodiment of diversity everyone has been talking about. And with 180 million people, numerous natural resources and large expanse of land, it is a threat to today’s global powers.
That is why enemies of progress like Eric Staurt will forget the election violence of 2011 that saw close to 1000 people lose their lives when Buhari declared he’ll make Nigeria ungovernable for Goodluck Jonathan.
To everyone spreading these rumors, I say:
If you had to choose between knowing the state of your Presidents’ Health or keeping the good health of your country, which would you choose?