Welcome back, Mr. President! –Ishola Adebayo

March 16, 2017

The story is almost the same; On 23rd November 2009, Former President Yar'Adua left Nigeria for medical attention abroad, his state of health was unclear, but there were further speculation that he was on a life support machine. We lost him not long after. Fear arose in the minds of Nigerians when President Buhari extended his medical vacation in the UK indefinitely. Has something happened to Mr. President? Why are his aides hiding the necessary information about the welfare of our dear President? When will the President address the country from where he is? These questions amongst many others became the “matter arising” until he physically alighted from the Air Force 001 aircraft on the 10th of March, 2017.

There were wild jubilations across Nigeria especially on the social media. Crowds shouted “Baba Oyoyo” locally meaning “Baba welcome” in cities and some villages across the country. Suyas were distributed for free while some commercial transport owners offered free services that day. Certainly, many were frightened. Some were traumatized. Many have been shamed. Others will surely but secretly apportion blames. Some will overtly trade blames. Government continues anyway.

In his words: “I have rested as much as humanly possible, I have received, I think, the best of treatment I could receive. I couldn’t recall being so sick since I was a young man, including the military with its ups and downs. The best way to pay back Nigerians is to rededicate myself to serve the country and protect the nation’s interest in order to keep the trust.” On the powers of his vice to which he constitutionally handed over, President Buhari said “I am pleased that the Vice President enjoyed this break and he has to do much more. Youth and intellect is squarely behind him, age and purely military experience is behind me.”

At this point, it is pertinent that we shower encomium on Prof. Osinbajo, the Vice-President, who worked assiduously on an economic overhaul aimed at securing a World Bank loan to help the government cope with a deficit caused by the drop in oil revenue. The Nigerian economy gained a lot of strength when the Vice President took over on an interim as the Acting President. In fact, there was decorum in the war-torn North and even the militancy in the South-South region. Mr. President is indeed blessed to have a dependable assistant like Prof. Osibanjo.

Welcome back, Mr. President! However, the challenge for the delivery of dividends of democracy has been reactivated, the expectations from the citizenry have been rekindled and the political will to deliver has been pricked and repackaged as your appearance will speak a lot in the status quo. On the issue of health, the government should look into building or equipping medical centers, hospitals all over the country that will provide the type of care he received in UK hospitals. Having such hospitals in every state will, undoubtedly, be a major accomplishment. A nation gains nothing when their leaders do not provide them with adequate healthcare as majority of the populace cannot afford healthcare abroad.

Mr. President, attention should strongly be focused, as ever, in fighting treasury looters, recovery of national assets and rebuilding the national economy. The economy is gradually recovering from recession; we need the appreciation to be as swift as possible.

It’s a good idea that the President intends to reshuffle his cabinet. To be candid, some individuals have no business being in that government from onset. The reshuffling should however be carried out in such a way that partiality won’t be a factor. The masses are in dire need of good governance. Our stand as the giant of Africa must continue to take its position without any delay.

Welcome back, Mr. President! Let justice and fairness in governance prevail.