Questions over govs’ visits to Buhari in London


Political observers and social commentators say President Muhammadu Buhari’s persistent refusal to address Nigerians, but rather hosting some governors at breakfast and lunch meetings at the Abuja House in London, the United Kingdom, shows his contempt for the people who voted him into power, writes JESUSEGUN ALAGBE

I think leadership of any kind requires trust and transparency and voters should demand no less from their political leadership in government” were some of the most profound words uttered by a 2016 Republican presidential nominee in the United States, Carly Fiorina, 62.

Having said that, political analysts have pointed out that there is a difference between the electorate demanding trust and transparency from their leaders and the leadership responding to the citizens’ request for those virtues, particularly in countries like Nigeria, where the political class seems to treat the citizens with so much disdain.

Since President Muhammadu Buhari left the country on May 7, 2017 for his second longest medical treatment in London this year, he had repeatedly snubbed Nigerians’ request to address them via either an audio or video recording, to at least assure them that he is recuperating from his illness.

Even when a former British soldier and lawmaker, Mr. Eric Joyce, alleged on May 20, 2017 that he [Buhari] had died in a London hospital and had stated that the onus was on the President, not the people, to prove he was alive, Buhari didn’t budge an inch.

Joyce had written on his blog, “First, if you’re a president, then it’s up to you to show people you’re alive and well — it’s not up to your people to prove the opposite. Every politician in the world knows this. A statement from a PR [public relations] guy doesn’t cut it. Angry ripostes from supporters don’t cut it. Only your personal appearance cuts it.

“Second, if you’re a president and you’re not well, then a doctor needs to come out of the hospital and explain to your nation what’s up. This lets everyone, including your people and the markets, know if you’re alive at all, alive enough to recover or have just sprained an ankle.

“Unless these things apply, then there will be shenanigans. For example, a dead person will be kept hooked up to a machine and advisers, politicians, traders, all the people ‘in the know’ will be jockeying for position and none of the regular people of the country will know anything about it. Nigerians have done themselves proud on the democratic front in the last few years; this is no time to start accepting bullshit again.”

Although Buhari might want to prove he had only been trying to keep his head by not responding to the people’s entreaty, political analysts and social commentators said his laid-back attitude showed his “lack of regard” for the Nigerian people who voted him into power.

On July 13, 2017, the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, after returning from a visit to Buhari in London, had also refused to go into specific details of what he discussed with the ailing President.

He, however, said he had “good conversation on wide ranging issues” with the President for over an hour.

He had assured Nigerians that Buhari, who has spent over two months in the British capital, was in high spirit when they met and would soon return to the country.

But when asked specifically if the President would return to the country before 90 days, Osinbajo had said it would be wrong to apply deadline.

Then when last Sunday the President hosted governors Umaru Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa State; Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State; Yahaya Bello of Kogi State; Rochas Okorocha of Imo State; and the All Progressives Congress Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, in London for a one-hour breakfast meeting, a Lagos-based political scientist, Dr. Dapo Bamidele, said “it showed the high level of contempt” Buhari had for Nigerians.

Bamidele stated that that was the second time the President would treat the citizens with disdain; the first being on June 25, 201

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