Adesina: Only Buhari Can Talk about His Health
• PDP condemns secrecy, says president unfit to continue in office
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, has said that the president is the only person who can reveal his ailment or details about his health.
He made the remark during a phone-in-interview on the Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, while reacting to a question about the president’s ailment requiring another trip to London, United Kingdom.
Adesina, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) said: “That is something private and personal. The fact that a man is a president does not remove his right and privileges to privacy. So, unless Mr. President comes out voluntarily and willingly to tell the country that ‘this is what I have suffered from, this is what I have been treated for’…even the medical doctor does not have the right to say it.
“It is in the Hippocratic oath that the medical doctors take. They cannot disclose the ailment of the patient without the permission of that patient.”
Adesina also allayed fears saying, “There is no cause for alarm because he (the president) is up and about and doing his duties. What he is going for is a review. We all need that from time to time. There is nobody that is 100 per cent healthy. He is just going for a review. I want to believe that he will come back on Saturday as planned.”
Also, there was no slowing down for Buhari, despite the announcement that he was going to embark on medical vacation in the UK from today.
Hours before he jetted out to meet his doctor in London, the Nigerian leader was still busy at work at the Villa as he received letters of credence from ambassadors of Lebanon and The Netherlands and the High Commissioner of Botswana.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has expressed dismay over what it described as deception, lies and beguiling that have trailed the handling of President Buhari’s unabating health issue.
The party said the presidency has confirmed that the president is unwell, ailing and unfit to attend to state matters, resulting to his latest journey to the United Kingdom for medical attention.
The party said the admission, though belated and coming after intense public pressure, has now put to rest, speculations on the health status of the president, as well as his attendant inability to effectively govern.
Addressing a press conference yesterday, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, said it was unfortunate that the president and his handlers had chosen to shroud the issue of his persistent illness in secrecy under a government that prides itself on claims of transparency and integrity.
PDP drew Nigerians’ attention to the fact that “shortly before the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in April, Mr. President, without transmitting a letter to the National Assembly, as required by the constitution, undertook a private visit to the UK, where his doctors are known to reside, five clear days ahead of CHOGM.”
The PDP spokesman said Nigerians were left in the dark for the period despite demands for full disclosure by the PDP.
“Only last week, two days after his departure from the United States where he had gone for a state visit, Mr. President went ‘missing’ again. When concerns began to mount on his whereabouts, the presidency claimed he had a “technical stopover” in the UK, citing flight issues, only for revelations to emerge from the same presidency, on Monday, that Mr. President was actually in the UK to see his doctors.
“In these circumstances, Nigerians were taken for granted, deceived and treated like lesser men and women without reasoning capacity, while our nation, at those periods, was left with no leadership as Mr. President refused to transmit power as required by the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
“Whereas we have nothing against Mr. President’s decision to take care of his ailing health as we are all subject to human frailties, Nigerians detest the deception, lies and beguiling that had trailed the handling of his unabating health issue,” he said.
The opposition party scribe said Nigerians are not even aware of the ailment our president is suffering from and the identity of the doctors and the hospital attending to him.
According to Ologbondiyan, it is unfortunate that President Buhari would always embark on medical tourism abroad when his administration has completely refused to address the poor state of the health sector in Nigeria, for which medical personnel are currently on strike across the nation.
The PDP also spoke on an alleged escalation of impunity carried out by the federal government.
While condemning the Presidency’s reaction to its petition to the United Nations as arrogant and distasteful, the PDP spokesman said it smacks of insensitivity “to critical issues bordering on direct violation of constitutionally guaranteed welfare, personal liberty and lives of citizens is completely reprehensible and further demonstrates the level of official arrogance
“We want to draw the attention of Nigerians and the international community to the import of the response by the presidency to the petition filed by our party to the UN, detailing the gross violation of human rights, mass killings, state sponsored violence, persecution of opposition, subversion of democratic tenets and large scale In conclusion, we urge the presidency to note that shrouding the issue of President Buhari’s illness in secrecy, just for political gains, is neither in the interest of the President nor that of our nation at large. Sordidly, the handlers of Mr. President appear to be more concerned about the next election instead of the consequences of a failing health and the blatant breaches of our constitution.
“The PDP therefore counsels President Buhari to be well guided and take charge of his health challenges by the President Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) federal government.
“It is incontrovertible that our petition which was signed by our National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, embodies the pains, anguish, mood, wishes and voice of the generality of Nigerians across board, particularly the victims of extra-judicial killings, state instigated violence, arrests and detentions, economic hardship occasioned by large scale corruption and government incompetence.
“You are already aware of the international outcry against the impunity and high-handedness for which various reputable international agencies, including the Amnesty International (AI), Transparency International and the US Department of State had issued reports exposing these atrocities, while exhaustively indicting the Buhari
This gruesome response by the Buhari Presidency on critical issues bordering on direct violation of constitutionally guaranteed welfare, personal liberty and lives of citizens is completely reprehensible and further demonstrates the level of official arrogance, high-handedness, dictatorial proclivities and spurn with which the Buhari presidency and the APC hold our citizens and the international community.
“This obstinate position of the presidency at a time it should be showing remorse, retracing its steps, apologising and making effort to end the atrocities, clearly shows that what obtains in our country now is a deliberate enthronement of official overbearingness and intolerance to dissent, as if Nigerians are no longer citizens but subjects of a conquest,” he said.