Events described in this essay, though fictional, may actually be obtainable now in Nigeria. The Nigerian President spends uneasy time at home and abroad. He walks back and forth in his spacious apartment unable to sleep. He tosses and turns in bed, and places aching head on both ends of the massive pillow in order to think clearly. The Nigerian President worries so much about how to meet the nation's massive financial obligations to other countries. He agonizes over how to keep his tribesmen from killing those they consider to be infidels.
The Nigerian President feels threatened even in secured Aso Rock that is surrounded 24/7 by sharpshooters and men heavily armed with weapons that include uta (Hausa poisoned arrows). Unfortunately, very regrettably, and sadly, although security men and women are duty bound to protect the president and his family members, yet the arrangement does not guarantee Presidential health or freedom from worries, or overseas hospitalizations .
Of all the Presidents Nigeria has had since Independence Day October 1, 1960, very few were healthy while in office and fewer had perfect health that did not require overseas hospitalizations. This essay considers several important issues that impact a President's life .This essay aims at explaining why the milk ain't clean. What is worsening the health of Nigerian Presidents while they are in office, particularly the health of Presidents from Northern Nigeria?
What factors are related to the frequency with which our leaders, particularly the Presidents of our country, give up the ghost? To give up the ghost is to expire, pass on, breathe the last breath, depart this life, go meet the Maker, or die. Asked in a more serious note, What is killing these people? What is chasing them away to distant lands to pass away? Read to the end of this essay to discover what the Nigerians and their presidents ought to do to safeguard health.
This essay is not an attempt to trash, belittle, or make insignificant and light President Buhari's health. Nobody rejoices or ought to celebrate or express joy at another's ill health. While we identify with Buhari's struggles and are sympathize with the President's health issues, we are quick to point out that Nigerians wish they and their Presidents lived healthier lives. We also wish President Buhari a speedy recovery. However, in the same breath, and if truth must be told, Nigerians would want to be led by hale and hearty heads of State. Health is wealth to be protected at all costs. Like the sun that warms and the rain that cultivates nutrients, health is a birthright all of God's children ought to enjoy.
The fact cannot be overemphasized that Nigeria as a nation is destroying lives of her citizens by turning a blind eye to a serious issue of health. While presidents of many nations are living longer and healthier lives and able to pass batons of headship onto younger leaders, African leaders, particularly those from Nigeria, have had a difficult time staying in office without seriously suffering pitiable health as they make frequent trips overseas to seek medical attention.
It seems that as soon as a typical Nigerian leader appears on the scene to take an oath of the highest office, he falls ill and then vanishes into thin air under the most mysterious, mystifying, unexplained circumstances. Consider the cases of Abacha and Yar'dua.
Although Nigerian public feeds its Presidents well at public charge and gives the Presidents access to the best healthcare facilities in the country and abroad, yet many leave as soon as they have read a post-election acceptance speech and received a standing ovation. Don't they seem to soon disappear from the Nigerian scene after their inaugural celebration is over? Additionally, this essay explores what we the people of Nigeria and our leaders themselves ought to do to extend the life expectancy and improve health prognosis of our dear presidents. How do we prevent early presidential incapacity due to poor health?
Some of the most important functions the person occupying the position of Nigerian presidency is expected to perform seem to fall into 7 broad categories as follows.
He is a ceremonial headHe is everything to every Nigerian man or womanHe is the executive rule enforcer, putting down insurrections and armed revoltsHe oversees the distribution of the national cakeHe is a shoulder on which sincere and insincere citizens cry for real and imaginary redressHe is the nation's representative at such important international as G-12, United Nations, ECOWAS, and so forthHe is the representative of the tribe to which he belongs and owes oath of allegiance
Being a Nigerian President is not an easy walk around a picturesque, beautiful, charming, or chocolate-box pond behind Igumale Methodist Central School. It is not a leisure stroll though Ochanga Motor Park, nor is it like a man who just walks erect in a flowing Hausa-type gown and smiling broadly at every citizen who bows down , prostrates, or waves frantically. The President of Nigeria is usually accosted by deeply challenging events and persons lining his path to ask for favors. Granting these favors often pulls the president apart in many unforeseeable directions.
Some of the nods and smiles the President receives in his daily activities are fake and come from ignoble sycophants. Ignoble denotes acts that are dishonorable, shameful, immoral, dastardly, base, low, reprehensible, or just not good. A sycophant is a Nigerian who is toady or flatterer and who seeks undeserved favors.
The Nigerian President is buried under the most obscure duties. He responds to a plethora of hungo mungo, including the "give me this and give me that" demands from Nigerians from different tribes. He may, for instance, receive a request from some powerful groups to build roads and bridges throughout a state while other states have no roads. It could be a demand to seize oil fields and "let's give contracts to our oil middle men who would guarantee us some kickback" or the request may center on punishing a tribe more severely for creating conditions that led to a Civil War. Most assuredly, the requests center around money.
A group of dignitaries may be seeking the President's ear to prevent the loss of revenues belonging to the President or to a relation. Perhaps, it could be a witch-hunt by an envious group to wrest power from the hands of another group. The Nigerian President may be called upon to mediate "palaver" between warring groups. Efforts to deal with all such palavers may take a painful toll upon the President's health, peace of mind, and equilibrium. Equilibrium is defined as the President's balance, symmetry, or stability.
One who lacks equilibrium is said to be unbalanced, and when one is unbalanced one is disturbed, unhinged, unstable, uneven, lopsided, and crooked. An unbalanced person falls ill soon and does not enjoy life. A Nigerian President appears to be a hypochondriac also known to have hypochondria, which health anxiety or illness caused by oke nchekasi (anxiety linked to excessive thinking), worry or ihe ntakasi (something that bites one all over). The worst attack on equilibrium comes from knowing the Truth and failing to uphold Truth. A hypochondriac is Someone who lives in fear of having a serious illness, when medical tests never find anything wrong. It may be a condition known as illness anxiety disorder, more commonly known as hypochondria, or hypochondriasis.
A Nigerian President risks being removed from office by assassination, poison, or other violent means. While the leader walks in the awesome corridors of power amid the trappings of opulence, affluence, or wealth, don't let that fool you. Readers should be cognizant and remember that not all that glimmers and glisters is gold, or that everything presidential is not honky dory, meaning that if it is more than it is or less than meets the eyes or tickles the senses; therefore the milk ain't clean. The Nigerian presidency walks gingerly, unsteadily, precariously, and erratically under a heavy burden. It is a curse to hold the highest office in the land of the Nigerians.
What is more burdensome is to carry the mkpo (Igbo for wooden walking stick) of the president or to eat n'elu ukwu ukpaka (at the top of ukpaka tree). When a monkey climbs an iroko tree and feeds on the highest limbs, his ass is fully exposed to watchers at the foot of the iroko. An exposed ass gets shot at with a gun. Exposed buttocks can easily be impaled. To impale is to be pierced with a long javelin. To be impaled is to be fixed firmly or hammered onto a wooden cross as the Man from Galilee was. The farther you climb up a tree, the more you are likely to be stabbed with a spear, or run over with a gwongwolo ( open wagon covered with tarpaulin) which traders use to haul yams and other traders.
William Shakespeare, in King Henry the Fourth, Part Two, says: "Uneasy lays the head that wears the crown". Shakespeare meant to say that one who has great responsibilities placed upon one's stiff and aching shoulders, such as the British Queen or the Nigerian President, has a problem. The Nigerian President does not behave as normal persons do due to the cumbersomeness, unwieldiness or ungainliness of his burden. The person shouldering the responsibilities of being Nigerian President is in turmoil, constantly under pressure, worries a lot, and therefore doesn't sleep soundly. It is foolhardy to expect such a person to have a healthy life. The Queen is pain in the ass of every Nigerian President.
The Queen (thereafter known as Q) and the Nigerian President (thereafter known as NP) have two diametrically opposing things to worry about, The Q is all smiles and elegance as she welcomes and receives the NP to the Buckingham palace to sip tea. The NP is in visible pain as he reacts to Q whom he considers to be his "Boss Lady, Empress Extraordinary, and continuing owner of the colony of Nigeria." There is the unmistakable superior-subordinate association, the oga-houseboy relationship as the Queen and Nigger meet.
When the Q and the NP meet to shake hands, Q is demure, meaning she is decorous, sedate, reserved, and shy. The NP is strikingly old but bold soldier/dictator appointed by the Queen to protect the interests of the Crown. The Crown has okpu eze (kingly hat) the Queen wears to symbolize the power of the British war planes, navy ships, and bombers. As Queen (Q) and Nigerian President (NP) clasp hands in a greeting of recognition, words take on a vibrant unspoken animus. The conversation an eavesdropper could hear may be as follows:
Q: "I haven't seen you for awhile since the days your days at our Sandhurst. How are you doing, President of Sovereign Nation of Nigeria ?"
NP: "Thank God. I am doing well as much as I can, and –"
Q: "Please don't complain. I know what you are about to say. By the way, you haven't paid Nigeria's yearly colonial tax of 590 trillion pounds to the Government of the Great Britain. Do you remember?"
NP: "Yes, I do remember."
Q:: "Then, why are you behind in your payment when you had signed the documents with us as all Heads of all our Empire do? What seems to be the trouble?"
NP: "No problems, Sir. Err. I mean to say Ma'am. Sorry. Sir. I mean The Queen of England. We shall pay."
The Nigerian President spends uneasy time at home and abroad...
In England, the Queen rules but does not govern, meaning that although her powers are monarchical and ceremonial and she enjoys wide popularity and is revered by millions of colonial subjects both far and near, and although her position is merely constitutional and traditional as figure head, the Queen does not have real political powers. She worries less and fears little, quite unlike the Nigerian President.
In the case of the Nigerian executive Presidency, the power is awesomely real, overpoweringly genuine, devastatingly political, crushingly militant, and tremendously significant. The office of the Nigerian President carries enormous political and financial consequences. The Nigerian President is Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Therefore, the buck ends on the presidential laps.
The Nigerian President's biggest problems are his inferiority complex over having no certificate; worry over losing the job and another man appointed in his place. He suffers or isi owuwa (Igbo for migraine headache) which comes from the Queen and the whole British apparatus of colonialism. Colonialism, like a mad man named John Bull, constantly gnaws at the feet and shrieks in the ears of the Nigerian President day and night.
John Bull says: "Look here, boy. You owe. You owe. Now, either you pay up or we are going to remove you and put your junior officer Corporal Gabriel Okonkwo (fictitious) as your replacement. You may be killed as Gaddafi was. Now, my boy. Listen carefully! I am telling you now. Pay us the yearly 590 billion pound tax you owe Her Majesty's government. Pay now"
There lies the riddle. Suddenly the Presidential office phones take on independent life of their own. They are ringing off the hooks with deafening crescendo, racket or rumpus. The calls are coming from worlds beyond the four corners of Nigeria. The calls are from faraway World Bank, Bank of China, and Bank of Japan. Creditors of every color and language are calling for their money. They are she sharks whose bites are worse than the piranda's .
Each shark gives simple order: "Boy, you have two choices. You either pay or we devalue your currency and create disturbances" This is followed with a fear-evoking threat: "Your oil revenue is dried up, your unemployment high, your trade Unions are at your throat, teachers are leaving classrooms, trader women demonstrating naked. and there's hunger in the land."
The following day right after the intimidation from China, Japan, and the British Queen, the Nigerian President receives a high-powered delegation consisting of the Fulani heads, owners of millions of ehi (Igbo for cows).
President: How are you fellas doing today?
Fulanis: Fine. We come to remind you of our Dan Fodio Plan to conquer and Ismalize the infidels the Anyamirins all the way to the seas. We have defeated the Yorubas. It remain the Anyamirins. Shall we say "Oshe bee"?
President: Look here, felas. This job is killing me, and you are killing me the more by what you're doing".
Fulanis: We're your people. Are you refusing to obey the order of Allah and his Prophet Muhammad?
The Nigerian President suffers when external pressures from the Queen and British collide, exacerbate, and intensify an already spiteful animus, and when he faces combined internalized pressures from the Fulani cattle herdsmen, from the be-headers of Christians, from Delta Avengers seeking to grab barrels of crude oil, from Nnamdi Kalu and "Biafra and Igbo President Now" organizers, it is more than one man can handle.
The Nigerian President watches his country disintegrate and threaten to evaporate in smoky mist. The disintegration is not in the form of a volcanic eruption. No, Nigeria is constantly a hot, torrid pot of herbs that is boiling at twice the temperature of hell. The pot is sweltering, scorching, roasting, steaming, and blistering.
What would this President do? He doesn't eat well any more. He doesn't trust his religion to guide him through his many trials, he begins to question his God that embellishes murder of children and rape of frightened pre-pubescent virgins, and his interest in women is increasingly waning. His interest in women eventually disappears kpatakpata (completely). He does not exercise well. As his blood pressure rises as a thermometer filled with alcohol, and as he complains of malaria and diabetes, he sends for the Senate President, and demands to go on extended medical leave. The Senate dares not ask any question. He's the President, and the Constitution is behind him.
What Nigerian Presidents can do to live healthier and longer
Nigerians, both Presidents and ordinary citizens are advised to keep a positive attitude, stay active and connected, have a healthy diet, and refrain from use of drugs such as cigarettes, cocaine, and alcoholic beverages.
Eat more fresh vegetables, fruits, fish, and little or no animal proteins (such as cows, goats, etc)
Keep a healthy body through regularly exercise, including daily walking about 2 miles, swimming, horseback riding
Learn to speak conversational major Nigerian languages in order to converse comfortably with the people.
Don't wait till one falls ill to begin the struggle to get well; schedule appointments for periodic check-ups with doctors to ensure the body functions well and there are correctable eye problems (cataract), thyroid problems; heart conditions; stomach and colon problems (no stomach or colon cancer)
Hold town meetings with Nigerians and let the people talk to them while he listens and learns.
What Nigerians can do to enable to palliate/improve Presidential health and longevity
All Nigerians with no exception on the basis of wealth or family connection, ought to be law-abiding and respectful of authority and fellow citizens; all should pay appropriate taxes and duties as determined by the Federal or State Government
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