It has been quite a while
since I last wrote a personal article as it relates to our dear Nation;
Nigeria. Infact, since the election of President Muhammad Buhari on the
Platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), I have not written a
conventional article. Even though, in the intervening period, I have continued
to contribute to National discourse through my social media interactions.

Just so that we are clear
on the message of this post, I have since October, 2015 had the opportunity of
serving with an arm of Government, which has equally given me the opportunity
to learn more about Governance in Nigeria and the dynamics of interaction
between the leadership and the followership. NB: This post does not reflect the
views of either my principal, his office or any political affiliation
whatsoever. I write in my capacity as a citizen and hope to be as objective as
I can.

Also, I do not write this
as a Negative critique of President Muhammad Buhari. No, I
still believe that in more aspects than not, Mr. President has kept faith
with his promises to Nigerians. The fight against terrorism is virtually won,
the fight against corruption is going on, there is better management in
government, the Nigerian economy is gradually diversifying (with
particular focus on Agriculture) etc. The Government has also started the
Social Reinvestment Scheme promised to Nigerians. This includes paying N5,000
to the poorest amongst us and employment opportunities under the N-Power
scheme. The only (major) challenge remains bringing the Nigerian
economy out of recession and I strongly believe that 2017 would be a
better year in this regard and so I urge fellow Nigerians to keep faith.

I write as an active
citizen, conscious of the Change agenda of Mr. President, conscious about the
role of constructive criticism as a panacea for developmental conversations,
and the constitutional duty of the citizen as stated in Section 24(d) of the
Constitution which provides that “It shall be the duty of every citizen to
– make positive and useful contribution to the advancement, progress and
well-being of the community where he resides”. Hence, I write more as a
matter of duty than anything else.

By my account, this would
be the Third time that President Muhammad Buhari would be proceeding on leave
since assuming office in May, 2015. By his letter to the president of the
Senate, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki, President Buhari sought to proceed on
an annual vacation from the 23rd of January, 2017 to the 6th of February, 2017.
We all agree that going on vacation is only normal. Every human being, no
matter how strong or fit as a fiddle, must take sometime off work to either relax,
retreat or attend to issues of medical concern. 

However, my concern with
the repeated trips to a United Kingdom Hospital by the President every time he
has to go on a medical vacation is what is on the mind of every Nigerian, to
wit: If you promised us to improve medicare in Nigeria during your presidential
campaign, why not seek medical treatment in Nigeria yourself?

In September, 2016, Mr
President launched the “Change Begins with Me” campaign. This, as we
are aware is supposed to be a complete attitudinal change process for each and
every Nigerian, beginning with the leadership. An excerpt from Mr. Presidents
speech on that occasion read: “This we believe can best be maintained
through attitudinal change, and the change of our mindset in private and public
life.   The campaign we are about to launch today is all about the
need for us to see change not merely in terms of our economic, social progress
but in terms of our personal behaviour on how we conduct ourselves, engage our
neigbhours, friends and generally how we relate with the larger society in a
positive and definitive way and manner that promotes our common good and common
destiny, change at home, change in the work place, change at traffic junction,
change at traffic lights etc.”

I dare say, that the
Change that Nigerians desire to see today, begins with the President. It is
obvious that Nigerians would like to see Mr. President vacation at the various
tourist resorts across Nigeria. This would in no small measure
increase the attractiveness of the Nigerian Tourism landscape. Nigerians and
foreigners alike would automatically be attracted to the possibility of
vacationing in Nigeria. This would reduce the pressure the demand for foreign
exchange and probably earn us more.

Secondly, It is also only
normal for people to fall ill as i said before. However, except in a situation
where the expertise to handle whatever medical condition affects Mr.
President is not available within our boarders, it would have made for more
than a good Photo-op for the President to be seen with his patient card seeking
medical attention in the National Hospital Abuja or better still at
the Aso Rock Clinic. 

I believe strongly
that every time the president of a country has to travel outside his country,
it should be as a result of some official international engagement which
benefits the country or the other. It also should be as a means
of furthering international diplomacy through the entrenchment of the
country’s foreign policy.

If we take the United
States of America for example, you will notice the trend expressed by the
forgoing paragraph. One will easily observe that wit each foreign trip of the
President, he is extending the reach of the American foreign policy.
Strengthening ties with a view to influence global direction through the
American ideology of democracy. Never for rest or health care. This must be our
target as well. More-so, as the most populous black Nation on earth.

Having said the forgoing,
I simply write today to encourage the President to consider the viability of
the foregoing options in subsequent vacations. I remain a supporter of Mr.
Presidents Change agenda and would continue I’m my little capacity to play
my part in ensuring that President Muhammad Buhari succeeds at his task of
rebuilding our dear country.
God bless Nigeria as we
continue to engage and intervene.
Ed’s Comments – This article was first published here