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By M. Babajide-Alabi
In recent times, I have had cause to call to question both the moral and mental abilities of some Nigerian political leaders. This is really necessary for the recent outburst of some of them in view of the forthcoming general elections.
It seems there is something with politicians generally that makes them to lose their calm whenever elections are around the corner. This is the period, that, rather than get the best of them, they present the worst of themselves. They “mouth” sentences that kindergarten kids should not be “caught” with. They proudly and confidently show their ignorance to the electorates they are supposed to “sell” themselves or programmes to.
After the Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s drama of tearing up PDP’s membership card, we thought it was over. Then came the news that the All Progressives Congress Presidential candidate Major General Muhammed Buhari (rtd) shall be visiting the United Kingdom. This was meant to be a simple cheery news for the fans and supporters alike (especially Nigerians resident in the UK), but it turned out to be a source of worry for some people, particularly, for one person – Dr Peter Fayose.
Angered or “disappointed” by Buhari’s desire to visit the UK, the Executive Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Peter Fayose, “disclosed” to a shocked nation that the APC Presidential Candidate Buhari was being economical with the truth. He said categorically without any reservation that Buhari was headed to the United States of America (USA) for medical reasons. He declared that Buhari and the APC’s claim of official engagement in UK was a lie.
Fayose’s assertion and affirmative declaration caught everybody by surprise. Not for a thought of concern by Fayose for Buhari’s health, but his seemingly mischievous misinformation on the destination of the candidate. This, measured against the background that this same governor placed full page adverts in some national newspapers calling on Nigerians not to elect a President likely to die in office.
With this blatant misinformation on the part of the governor, Nigerians have been questioning his motive. Many are of the opinion that it is actually not anybody’s business if Buhari decides to go on a medical trip abroad. And to make matters worse is for Fayose to design an itinerary that was false for the presidential candidate.
The APC has been on the defensive since Fayose went public with his medical trip claim. This is understandable. The party officials must have reasoned that if this claim is not “nipped in the bud”, Nigerians may suddenly wake up and conclude that Buhari’s health rating might not be the best for them.
The party machinery went to work immediately. They released pictures of General Buhari’s arrival at the Heathrow Airport. Not satisfied with just the arrival, the photographer “tipped toed” after him to the street and took his photograph from behind. To further allay the fears of Nigerians on the state of health of Buhari, the photographs of his meeting with the former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair was hurriedly released. This indeed has gone a long way to relieve his teeming supporters.
All the cries on where Buhari visits, what he did or did not do should not have been the subject of controversy it has turned out to be, if not for Governor Fayose’s peep into the crystal ball and unfortunately misread what he saw. What a shame.
We look forward to seeing the APC Presidential Candidate at the Chatham House on Thursday.
Can we call on the Executive Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Peter Ayodele Fayose to please acknowledge this “standing ovation” for the most ridiculous political mis-statement of the year.