A former Senior Special Assistant to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Dr Doyin Okupe, on Friday, has cautioned Nigerians against making unsavoury comments about the current state of health of President Muhammadu Buhari.
In a statement titled “Buhari’s Health: Matters Arising,” Okupe, who said he was not a supporter of the president, described as embarrassing what some Nigerians write and say about the sick president.
Okupe noted that “some outrightly deride him, wish him dead as if they themselves are not human.
“Sickness and ill health many times are not things you can blame individuals for and certainly not deride them about. Both young and old do fall ill and death certainly is not exclusively restricted to the old, or young, or rich, poor or powerful”
On the political implication of President Buhari’s health and against the backdrop of the calls in certain quarters on the president to resign from office, the former presidential aide said the matter is neither simple nor straight forward, in a country as complex and convoluted politically as Nigeria.
According to Okupe, the need to entrench geo-political fairness in the polity makes it imperative that political gladiators and leaders of thought in Nigeria take into consideration that since the return of democratic rule in 1999, which is a space of about 18 years, the southern part of the country has occupied the position of President for approximately 14 years while the North has had only four years.
“This calls for sensitive and careful navigation and negotiation to uphold equity, justice and fairness, if our country must maintain political stability, without which our nation can hardly make progress.”
He added that if President Buhari must exit the office on account of his ill health, his associates and allies who have laboured with him to get him to the pinnacle of his career need to be taken into consideration and their interests which most likely will be based on a shared vision with the ailing President need to be accommodated for the remaining period of his scheduled four-year term.
Furthermore, Okupe is of the opinion that in 2019, the candidates for the presidency should come from the same zone, that is NorthWest or any other zone in the entire North if that is what is agreeable to the northern geopolitical zones.
“This type of political concession is not all together new to our politics. In 1998, because of the perceived injustice to the people of the South West, the political class resolved through an unprecedented concessionary arrangement to allow only the South West to present presidential candidates so that “head and tail” the South West would produce the president. It was not constitutional but it was also not against any law. It was politically right and expedient and it brought the country together.”
Okupe’s statement further read: “We must desist from wrongfully using death and unforeseen happenstance to cheat ourselves politically or administratively. Only honesty, sincerity of purpose, genuine love for one another, fairness and equity can make us get to the promised land together and peacefully.”