A Greek philosopher once said: “After thunder, rain comes.” Another philosopher said: “There are two periods in life – negative and positive periods.”
There is a Nigerian version to these sayings: “No condition is permanent.” There are times of sickness and times of healthiness. Concerning President Muhammadu Buhari’s health, there is light at end of the tunnel. Nonetheless, about the medical treatment, there is the need to change the gear.
On January 19, 2017, Buhari was flown to London on medical vacation. The nature of the sickness was undisclosed, for reasons best known to him and the Presidency. The vacation lasted for 50 days, after which he returned to the country on March 10, 2017. On May 7, 2017, for the second time, President Buhari went back to London, obviously on the same ill-health. The veil of secrecy around the ailment is sensible. Nonetheless, in other countries of the world, the veil might not be necessary, because to them, openness is one of the essentials of democracy, and government’s actions should be opened to criticisms. In our country, educational, religious, economic and other circumstances might be ascribed to the secrecy. Different nations embrace different cultures. Be that as it may, the concern of this writer is not much about the propriety or otherwise of the disclosure, albeit, it is necessary to touch upon it. This is because the President is the father of the nation, and he is not an ordinary citizen. Therefore, a writer must dwell on the analytical details a bit for the understanding of the reading public. Again, this victory for Nigeria, involved nocturnal and diurnal brain-storming.
At the very instant that he was sworn-in, he displayed commendable enthusiasm and seriousness. He swung into action by visiting those countries that surround Nigeria to liaise with them and seek their co-operation on security bugbear known as Boko Haram insurgents. Fortunately, he got the anticipated co-operations of these neighbouring nations. Today, the menace is completely extirpated.
The most significant achievement of President Buhari is his war on corruption, which is a right step in the right direction. It is possible that he has incurred the hostility of many of his compatriots in his battle. That achievement entails diurnal and nocturnal meetings.
To clean the Augean stable and make the country whole, Nigeria and Nigerians must begin somewhere and someone must spear-head it. This writer’s suggestion is that the Federal Government should not release the names of those whose possessions were retrieved; it is dicey to do so, as it could further antagonise the corrupt people – an army-general cannot fight battles on too many fronts. Therefore, the Federal Government must keep the names secret. From time immemorial, – in Tudor and Stuart England – a government is judged by internal (home) and foreign policies and achievements. Buhari’s administration cannot be exempted. In the realm of external affairs, President Buhari has placed this country on the world map.
To resolve the crisis in The Gambia Nigeria deployed fighter jets and troops to Dakar, the capital of Senegal. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), spear-headed by Buhari’s government, intensified moves to get the President of The Gambia, Yayah Jammeh, to respect the will of his people as expressed at the December 1, 2016, election that was won by Adama Barrow. The refusal of Jammeh to quit made Nigeria to lead ECOWAS countries in a possible military removal of Jammeh from office, as a result of which Adama Barrow was sworn-in as the new President on January 19, 2017.
One is inclined to reason that the foregoing strains and stresses must have taken a heavy toll on President Buhari’s health. Therefore, the reading public musts not be surprised at the call by the traditional medicine practitioners for offer to treat Buhari. The practitioners said in a newspaper report that its members could cure President Buhari of any ailment if they are consulted. Indeed, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
The Patron of the Association, Dr. Adesunmiboye Fawawo made the call and said many Nigerians died cheaply, because medicinal and therapeutic use of plants are disdained, while orthodox medicine is glorified. Fawawo said: “President Muhammadu Buhari is our national leader and we must guard him with all jealousy. We are a national body which is recognised by the Federal Government. The association was established during the tenure of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and he used our products. You can see how strong he is, even at his age.” In my considered opinion, I can vouch for traditional medicine. As a child who was brought up with herbs by parents versed in the uses of herbs, my confirmation of herbal efficacy is assured. Nonetheless, juxtaposed with Western medicines, herbal medicines are equally effectual. This writer has many friends and acquaintances who were repatriated from Europe on the advice of medical doctors to try our own herbal treatments. Returning to Nigeria, their health is restored. I am inclined to reason and believe that most of our herbs are exported to Europe, as raw materials for the final products that we import. Truth to tell, I am not entirely against Western medicines, because at the age of five, I had a taste of it at the General Hospital, Abeokuta then in colonial Nigeria.
The National Association of the Nigerian Traditional Medicine Practitioners is courageous to make this patriotic call on Buhari to patronise their members. For the association to reveal Obasanjo as one of its customers, evidently proves the association’s sincerity and competence. The difficulties are firstly, many people are mentally conditioned to the uses of western medicine. Secondly, Nigerians are sentimental. Thirdly, the prospective customers of herbs erroneously believe that ours are idolatry and so, satanic.
By so reasoning, Nigerians are missing a lot. The illogicality in their reasonings, can lead to fatality, which is saying that the deviation from our culture spells doom for the development of a people.
In effect, we will be contributing to the Gross National Product (GNP) of the European countries that produce the orthodox medicines, whilst Nigeria’s Gross Domestic (GDP) Product remains stunted.
This is because we create employment for their citizens, and unemployment for our own nationals, because of our ignorance. What is more, by patronising foreign goods and services, we deplete our meagre foreign reserves. Therefore, there is the need to look inward and think Nigeria. First of all, let the Nigerian public be intimated of the nature of Buhari’s ailment. Instances abound where ordinary incantations (ayajo or Oro-Ife) are effectual on problems, even from abroad. Secondly, he must be persuaded of the efficacy of our indigenous herbs and that their applications are not satanic or idolatry; not a deviation from the ways of Prophet Mohammed (Peace be onto him).
My main interest is the quick recovery of Buhari, the third most well-meaning Nigerian leader, after Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Alhaji Lateef ‘Kayode Jakande, former Lagos State Governor. Insha Allah, Buhari is destined to survive, regardless of his enemies’ wishful thinking. Amen.
Oshisada, a veteran journalist, wrote from Ikorodu, Lagos.