President Umaru Yar'Adua has been gone a long time. Back in 2009, when I was at City Uni, I was asked by one of my professors to write about the many things going on in Nigeria. Some of my fellow students couldn't understand the things we deal with in Naij, like PHCN, the "Enough is Enough" movement, and how we could have a missing president. So I wrote this:
You can read the article here: http://www.the-latest.com/where-our-president-alive-or-dead
Fast forward almost seven years, and I cannot BELIEVE we're in a similar situation. President Buhari has been in London for over 2 months. His first health-related trip this year was a 2 week holiday to England, which, on Feb 5th, was extended "indefinitely" for him to get the results of his medical reports.
He came back in March, looking unwell, then headed back to London on May 7th, and we haven't seen him since. This country has not seen, nor have we barely heard from our elected president for over 60 days.
His wife has gone to see him, and she said he was doing well. The Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, who went to see him (in an insanely quick trip) on the 12th of July, says he's "recuperating." Great news, most definitely. But what is actually wrong with him? What is he recuperating from?
So why are we hearing news of President Buhari from secondary sources? Why are we, and frankly, why should we be asking the same questions we asked 7 years ago? This is not the kind of deja vu we want, or need. As Nigerians, I don't know if we've had the good kind of deja vu in a while. The sense of "oh, we've been here before" persists with the people elected/appointed into power, the (lack of) effective, people-serving policies, the systems that (still) don't work, etc etc. When will we start having our own "good old days" that we can tell our kids about?
It's almost comical now; we make jokes about our president ruling from another country. But this isn't funny. Things that work in Nigeria work in spite of, not because of. The tunnel seems to get longer; the light at the end of it dimmer. And the man (many of us) placed in the top position to be the head coach has dropped the ball.
The pessimists are saying 2019 will be another ordeal. The same politicians we've seen before, swinging wildly between political parties and factions just to hold on to (or finally grab on solidly) power for a little more time, saying the same things, promising the change we so desperately want and need, but can't seem to get.
So, as one (of many) who remembers the "Where is Yar'Adua?" saga, here's hoping for a happier ending; for us, for President Buhari, and most importantly, for Nigeria
(Banner image courtesy Vanguard News)