Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Glimpse behind the curtain

Sahara Reporters, based in New York, lifts some of the veil shielding Nigerian President Buhari from public scrutiny. It implies that he's been treated for cancer. (That would seem logical from what I know of chemo and radiation therapy and Buhari's absence from the public.)

I still marvel at the ability of the president and his close associates to keep the Nigerian press away from the story. Is there no Nigerian reporting source who can send a reporter to London (or hire one already there)? Can no reporter discover what hospital, clinic, or doctors' group is treating the man? I suspect that there are rumors floating about Abuja and the rest of the country, but no one is writing them down.

This is the second time a Nigerian president has been struck down by illness and whisked off to London for secretive treatment. In 2010, President Yar'Adua died in London after seven months in a London hospital.

Politically things get complicated because the constitution requires that Presidential and Vice Presidential running mates come from different sections of the country. But the political informal agreement among parties is that the presidency should rotate between northerners and southerners. So, some politicians are always upset by the assumption of the presidency by someone from the "wrong" part of the country. Buhari is a northerner (Fulani). Acting President Osinbajo is a southerner (Yoruba). His wife is the granddaughter of Obafemi Awolowo, one of Nigeria's founding fathers.

Details Of The Difficult New Struggle To Bring Buhari Back To Nigeria
Despite recent high-profile visits to ailing President Muhammadu Buhari in the United Kingdom, where for close to 90 days he has been undergoing treatment for a grave illness, SaharaReporters has learned that the Nigerian president is not as healthy as has been portrayed by members of his inner circle. Mr. Buhari’s illness remains officially shrouded in secrecy, but sources close to his inmost associates had long told this website that the president was beset by cancer.

In recent weeks, the cabal around Mr. Buhari has used a flurry of well-orchestrated visits to the ailing president by political personages to sell a narrative of “miraculous recovery.” But such rosy impressions are belied by a palpable deterioration in President Buhari’s health, according to accounts offered by a few sources knowledgeable about the Nigerian leader’s condition…

Mrs. Buhari traveled to London to see her ailing husband… SaharaReporters learnt that three or four days after her arrival in London, Mrs. Buhari was told to join her husband for dinner. The meeting turned out heartwarming as Mr. Buhari reportedly managed to speak and to sit to eat with her. After subsequently spending more time with her husband, Mrs. Buhari told other family members that he was making “a miraculous recovery.” …

A few days later, acting President Osinbajo snuck out of Abuja for a one-on-one meeting with Mr. Buhari. On his return, he asserted that Mr. Buhari was in great shape, was recovering quite fast and would soon be back…

Some… insiders alleged that the acting President’s close aides had leaked information to the media, especially SaharaReporters, that Mr. Buhari was far from a picture of great shape.

SaharaReporters learned that Mr. Osinbajo encountered a highly emaciated and feeble Buhari who could not speak coherently.
Archbishop of Canterbury and Buhari in July

Yet, our sources revealed that Mr. Buhari’s ability to receive visitors was no indication of improved health, but came after his completion of a course of treatment that lasted three months. According to the source, since the completion of that course of treatment, Mr. Buhari occasionally enjoys momentary relief. “He can see people and sit for a little bit of time, but that does not mean he is healed as his doctors are yet to conclude that he is free of the disease afflicting him,” one of the sources said. They added that the President had not regained his health and had lost so much weight that he is “padded” just before his meetings with governors and politicians…

One of our sources stated there was no plan by Mr. Buhari’s doctors to let him travel to Nigeria in the near future.

“They [doctors] have asked that Mr. President should stay in the UK for another period of monitoring and round of treatment that could last weeks if not months.”…

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At 9:20 AM, Blogger Ken Wedding said...

Buhari is only a private citizen right now, so he has privacy "rights."

This doesn't really explain why this issue is such a big deal in Nigeria, but it offers some of the lengths to which people go to defend the status quo.

We Have No Right and It's Disrespectful for One to Ask for Buhari's Health Status

The Personal Assistant to the President on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie... said that no one has the right to ask for President Muhammadu Buhari's health status.

According to her, "For the life of me, I have no idea why anybody would disrespect another by asking for the details of one's health status. As we speak we have an acting president, as we speak president Buhari seems to be like a private citizen at the moment...

In other words the prerogative lays on President Buhari, if he chooses, it's a choice but it is disrespectful and very intrusive to intrude into his private right. He has right too as a citizen of Nigeria. It is not right, it is not appropriate to dig into his private life...


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