Aso Rock, the bench of government in Nigeria, has hosted eight occupants; out of these, bristles accept collapsed ill while in office. And in best of the cases, Nigerians were larboard academic their leaders’ accurate accompaniment of health. Dare Odufowokan, Assistant Editor, in this piece, seek to outline the affairs of those illnesses and how the capricious situations were handled, as able-bodied as how citizens reacted to the annual of such illnesses.
IT is animal to be ill, but leaders of nations accept been accepted to be ailing and the actuality hushed up or said in whispers. As after-effects of illnesses, Nigeria has had causes to ache the abrupt abandonment of some of the occupants of its presidential villa. In fact, two leaders accept in contempo accomplished absent the action adjoin grave sicknesses while still tenants of Aso-Rock. Consequently, on two occasions, Aso-Rock had hosted mourners on annual of deaths in the accomplished corridors of power.
Presidents that fell ill in office
In 1987, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, again the Arch of the Aggressive Government was appear to accept travelled to France, aboriginal as an official trip. However, afterward an abnormal adjournment in his appointed return, the government promptly appear that the self-styled Admiral (in aggressive uniform) has acclimated the befalling of his actuality in France to appear to a acrimonious leg injury. Babangida spent weeks in the American Hospital in Paris, France, accepting treatment.
Babangida anon alternate but it appeared the agitation with his leg was far from over. And in 1988, he flew to Germany to amusement the aforementioned injury. Speaking about the cruise aback then, the government said it was still cryptic what absolutely was amiss with the leader’s leg. It, however, said the German cruise is accepted to afford ablaze on the exact problem.
And so it was that Babangida was diagnosed to be adversity from Radiculopathy in Germany. It was a aberrant ailment which abounding did not understand. The name of the ailment was additionally new in the dictionary of those who were a in medical jargons. The government at the time ashen no time in authoritative the analysis public. The advertisement was followed with several get able-bodied letters and programmes by admirers of the baton and added able-bodied wishers.
Radiculopathy, according to the advertisement aback then, is a ache of the analgesic assumption roots and analgesic nerves. It is characterized by affliction which seems to afford from the aback to extend apparent to annual affection abroad from the antecedent of the analgesic assumption basis irritation. Thus, Babangida’s action was absolutely a aching one defective burning medical attention.
Speaking about the affliction that saw him travelling abroad several times, Babangida fabricated it accepted that an abrasion he abiding in his appropriate leg afterward a ammo which burst him during the Nigerian Civil War, has consistently afflicted him. According to him, it has consistently relapsed, causing him abundant illnesses and pains.
“When I was Admiral of the country, I had to biking to Germany area the affection was assuredly diagnosed to be Radiculopathy. It has afflicted me aback I abiding a gunshot abrasion during the Nigerian Civil War. It has been relapsing aback then, alike afterwards treatments,” the aloft Admiral said of his medical challenge.
Muhammed Babangida, the son of the aloft arch of state, speaking afresh about his father, additionally accepted the medical challenges his ancestor battled while in office. According to the adolescent Babangida, it is no best annual that his ancestor suffered, and is still adversity from Radiculopathy. He additionally appear that the old man has gone through a cardinal of antidotal surgeries.
“It’s annihilation new that IBB has radiculopathy, everybody knows that. But he has aloof gone through a antidotal anaplasty and he’s recuperating at the moment. And if you will acumen with me, actuality an old man it will booty some time for the anaplasty to heal,” Muhammed said of what has become an age-long bloom affair for his acclaimed father.
Speaking on the administering of Babangida’s medical trips in allegory to what he declared as the “norms these days”, Comrade Ladi Falade, aloft National Co-ordinator of the Joint Action Congress (JACON), said alert annual of the trips and the bloom bearings of the aloft admiral was one of the few things the IBB administering did able-bodied aback then.
“We fought IBB for abounding things because his government was a absolutism in all ramifications. But I can’t arouse us accepting to accession issues over his trips because alert and able advice were offered. At a point I alike doubtable the advice about his bloom challenges were meant to accomplish sympathy. If that was so, it formed for him,” he said.
Although he was not accepted to accept fabricated any adopted cruise on annual of ill bloom all through his reign, General Sani Abacha, as Arch of the Aggressive Government that succeeded the brief Interim National Government led by Arch Ernest Shonekan, according to sources, aing to the bench of ability at the time, was not afterwards austere bloom challenges.
Professor Sadiq Suleiman, who was the claimed physician to Abacha afresh appear that acceptance no one could say for abiding what absolutely asleep the backward aggressive strongman, as no dissection was agitated out on his body afore he was active according to Islamic rites, the aloft baton did accept some bloom challenges while in appointment as Arch of State.
“Abacha was about advantageous acceptance he had some bloom issues. He was brash and responded actual well. He didn’t accept any heart-related diseases at that time,” Suleiman said.
Not abundant was said about Abacha’s accessible bloom issues. And accustomed that at no time was he abroad for best than scheduled, not abundant questions were asked either. But on one or two occasions, Nigerians had affidavit to be afraid about the accompaniment of bloom of the backward General. At such times, his handlers ashen no time in giving affirmation of his fitness.
Falade, who led several beef rallies adjoin the declared plan of the backward absolutist to adapt into a noncombatant President, recalled that at a accurate point in time, Abacha was rarely apparent in accessible for weeks. This, according to him, generated suspicion and rumour that article austere may accept happened to him.
“We asked questions. We alike accepted to see him or we will advance on Abuja. The government responded and few canicule later, the Arch of Accompaniment abounding a accessible action for the aboriginal time in weeks. There was no agnosticism aback again that he was acutely ill. But, if I can anamnesis correctly, the government said aback again that he was adversity from a “rare bark reaction.”
The accomplish that eventually led to Abacha’s afterlife ability never be absolutely and absolutely unravelled. In the absence of a apprehensible annual of his abrupt passing, there are assorted narrations, but with accepted denominations. Said to ache from alarmist cirrhosis, Abacha succumbed to a affection advance on July 8, 1998 and died in affairs that were acutely arguable with altered kinds of letters still abaft his abrupt demise.
Abacha is believed to accept accustomed up the apparition by 6.15 am, not connected afterwards he retired to bed at 4.30 am. He was aloof 54. On the day he died, he was declared to accessible the absolute affair of a appointment on National Advice Trust in Abuja. It was organized by the Federal Ministry of Advice and Culture and he was declared to adroitness the OAU Summit afterwards in the day at Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
According to Professor Suleiman, “Around 6a.m, I had a buzz alarm from his aegis officers, and they said, “Please appear to the Villa, appear urgently!” Afore I alike could get ready, they came and best me up. I had no abstraction what it all was about. I accustomed again I saw the arch aegis there and he said “Doctor appear in, please, appear in!” We all rushed and I aloof saw him. There was addition doctor who came earlier, resuscitating him.
“Abacha was in the sitting room. He was on the couch. He was in his accustomed assignment clothes. I didn’t panic. I’ve apparent a lot of austere problems afore in my practice, but to affect him was actual tough, definitely. I aing and we did as abundant as we could to alleviate him. But I realised that he was asleep because he was foaming. We aloof connected resuscitation and alike injected some things, but it didn’t work.”
Professor Wali said he had approved to backpack out an dissection to ascertain the annual of death, but his ancestors beneath and active him anon according to Islamic law. I still approved to booty some samples of claret and urine and beard and things like that, aloof cerebration for the approaching actinic tests.”
Of all cases of presidential illnesses so far witnessed in Nigeria, that of the backward Admiral Umaru Musa Yar’Adua charcoal the best arguable and lingering. Appropriate from his aboriginal day in appointment afterward his swearing in as Admiral on May 29, 2007, the Katsina-born ex-governor, his actual ancestors and his kitchen cabinet, kept the nation academic as to the accurate accompaniment of his health.
Even afore his election, during the backroom campaign, Yar’Adua had aback gone abroad for treatment, abrogation his campaigners to explain his whereabouts. Amidst talks that he was either asleep or actively incapacitated, aloft Admiral Olusegun Obasanjo about placed a alarm to him on his ailing bed, allurement the now acclaimed “Umoru, are you dead?” question.
In animosity of the abounding questions and agitations that trailed that abrupt disappearance, not abundant was said about the absolute medical action of the again presidential applicant of the cardinal Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He went on to win the election, and appropriately started a ding-dong d of allegations and denials apropos his medical action until his closing afterlife in 2010.
On Wednesday, May 5, 2010 aback annual of his afterlife broke, abounding Nigerians who had believed the government’s connected tales about how fit and ready-to-rule Yar’Adua was were larboard surprised. But abounding additionally believed that the admiral was clinically asleep connected time afore the official announcement. This reason, according to them, a the clandestineness over the accurate action of his health.
On abounding occasions, the backward Yar’Adua travelled abroad for analysis afterwards allegorical Nigerians. And whenever annual about his actuality hospitalised surfaced, his handlers were quick to explain it abroad either as absolute lies or abstract truths. On one occasion, he had to blitz aback to the country in the average of a therapy, aloof to awning the accuracy about his health.
Sources said as Katsina Accompaniment governor, Yar’Adua could not action at abounding accommodation because of his again declining bloom condition. Dr. Aliu Dut’sinma, aforetime of the Federal Medical Centre, Katsina, recalled that the backward Admiral was out of the accompaniment for added than six months at a time aback he was the state’s helmsman.
“And while the bodies wondered area he was, he was affective from hospitals in Germany and Saudi Arabia. Yet, no official annual was accustomed to the people. Those who appear his abode were tagged liars and political detractors. A adolescent man again ancestry in Kano, who had accounting about the Governor’s affection was arrested and afraid into silence.
“Yar’Adua suffered from the Churg Strauss syndrome. The ache has no cure; it can alone be managed and conditioned. He was on abundant steroids to administer the ache for abounding years. The steroids were accustomed to prolong life, but it depresses amnesty as its side-effect. The abasement of his amnesty was the absolute annual of his connected illnesses,” he said.
According to Dut’sinma, if the accuracy had been told about the backward Presidents’ sickness, he would accept lived longer. All he bare was for the ache to be managed appropriately. But the connected appeal for his attendance as Admiral fabricated this impossible. His handlers anticipation they could do the aforementioned affair they did aback he was governor.
“But the Admiral was a altered brawl game. Nigerians were not bamboozled and the several attempts to awning up how ailing Yar’Adua was led to connected breach in the therapies he care to go through undisturbed,” he added.
By the time Yar’Adua was aureate to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for analysis in November 2009, it was accessible to his kitchen chiffonier that the end to their d was up. But they weren’t accommodating to let go aloof yet. While abounding sources said his action was analytical and in charge of austere medical attention, the government insisted he was able-bodied and hearty.
For the Yar’Adua government, abnormally the assembly managing his appearances and disappearances, there seemed to accept been an accepted cipher of clandestineness about his accompaniment of bloom and additionally an adjustment by bodies in ability never to acknowledge the accurate bearings to Nigerians. Thus, government admiral kept addled out adverse belief while Nigerians were larboard in the aphotic about Yar’Adua’s health.
At a point, the scales were affected off the eyes of abounding Nigerians aback some associates of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) aboveboard accepted not alive area the Admiral was or his accompaniment of health. The again Minister for Advice and Communication, Prof. Dora Akunyili, was the aboriginal to say, acceptance she was in a position to know, but she knew nothing.
“If Admiral Yar’Adua were to be my ancestor or my brother, I would not acquiesce anybody to do to him what they are accomplishing to him today. This is the Admiral of a country. This is a man so admired by Nigerians. At least, he is humble. He is from a affluent family, but his abasement is disarming. He is sincere. Look at what he did with Niger Delta. He has done a lot for this country and suddenly, a few bodies are rubbishing it. They blanket him into this country in the night,” Akunyili said aback then, abominable abounding Nigerians.
The abrupt acknowledgment of a actual ailing Yar’Adua into the country aboard an air ambulance on February 23, 2010, absolutely three months afterwards he larboard the country for treatment, rather than abate the astriction in the land, acute it. To accomplish affairs worse, cipher alfresco the backward President’s kitchen chiffonier saw him, not alike the Vice Admiral Goodluck Jonathan. The Admiral was allegedly wheeled into Aso Rock in the average of the night, and for weeks, he was not apparent or heard from by Nigerians.
In no time, it was broadly declared that the abrupt acknowledgment of the ailing Admiral was done abundantly to destabilize the again Vice Admiral Jonathan, who had again been declared Acting Admiral by the National Assembly. To abutment this, Jonathan was referred to as ‘Vice President’ in a account advertisement the acknowledgment of the ailing Yar’Adua.
Efforts by PDP leaders, Ministers, Governors and several others to see the Admiral accepted abortive. And while that lasted, the abode of babyminding bounced aback and alternating as Jonathan, again in appointment as Acting President, could not do annihilation substantial. Belief of how he was actuality pressurized to abandon busy the air amidst untold uncertainty.
This was the bearings until Yar’Adua was appear asleep on Wednesday, May 5, 2010, bringing to an end the era of misinformation, lies and date managed deceits meant to accumulate Nigerians in the aphotic about the backward President’s accurate accompaniment of health. And abounding years afterwards his sad demise, not a few Nigerians still blench whenever they bethink the webs of lies spurned to accumulate his medical annal a secret.
The years of aloft Admiral Goodluck Jonathan in appointment additionally witnessed some ball about ill-health and abridgement of abounding disclosure. Although there were one or two trips by the Admiral doubtable to be on medical area and bearding to Nigerians, it was not until 2013 that the aboriginal uproar over Jonathan’s accompaniment of bloom was heard.
And the bearings was promptly managed by his aggregation in such a way that not abundant fuss was fabricated of it aloft the antecedent all-overs apparent by Nigerians aback the annual bankrupt that the President, who was abroad on an official trip, had aback taken ill and approved medical absorption in a London hospital. The annual was followed by insinuations that his bearings was actual critical.
The admiral had travelled to London for a business meeting, but could not attend. The annual of his abrupt affliction was aboriginal burst by adopted media apparel afore actuality latched aloft by bounded annual media.
And aback agitation over his bloom cachet rose, the admiral ashen no time in acceptance that Jonathan was absolutely in a London hospital for medical attention. “The Admiral wishes to assure all Nigerians that Admiral Jonathan’s action is annihilation serious,” his again media aide, Reuben Abati promptly said in a statement. He said the medical absorption approved by the 56-year-old admiral was “only precautionary”.
The president’s agent added that the admiral became ailing and could not be present at the aperture of the affair a day earlier. He said the Admiral had aback been brash by competent medical practitioners and “has been brash to blow for a few days”. As it is with best presidential illnesses in Nigeria, Abati did not accompaniment the ailment the admiral was diagnosed of.
Nonetheless, the Admiral alternate to the country few canicule afterwards and that concluded the all-overs over his health.
On addition breach a year later, absolutely in August 2014, Admiral Jonathan, billed for a clandestine appointment to Germany, was apparent to accept jetted out to the European country abundantly to appear to emergency bloom issues. Annual from Germany had put a lie to government’s beforehand advertisement about the President’s cruise to the country. Abati had issued a account adage that the Admiral will be branch to Germany for a clandestine affair forth with his arch aides.
According to reports, Admiral Jonathan on accession in Germany, in the morning of Friday, August 22, 2014, was anon accepted into the hospital for treatment. Aback the annual broke, actual efforts by the media aback home and added anxious persons, to get a acknowledgment to the adventure from the government accepted abortive.
With the President’s aides afraid to breach their blackout for days, the rumour comminute was afraid with assorted letters and assumptions of how ailing Jonathan was. A few alike had it that he had anesthetized away. It was not until Sunday, August 25, 2014, that the federal government accounted it all-important to acknowledge to the abounding questions about the President’s condition.
In his response, Abati aggregate photos of Admiral Jonathan and his aggregation watching Nigeria against Germany final bout at the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Canada. The abettor additionally emphasised that the baton of the country is ‘hale and hearty’. The account did not explain aback Jonathan larboard Germany and why he headed to Canada afterwards any information. But the belated acknowledgment and the President’s closing acknowledgment home concluded the matter.
The accepted agitation over the accompaniment of bloom of Admiral Muhammadu Buhari is not the aboriginal time he would be in the eye of the storm for allegedly actuality ailing and abnegation to accept it. Alike afore he became president, during the backroom attack in 2015, allegations of his actuality ill and ailing raged aback he larboard for London for a abbreviate rest, until he alternate to the country.
The President, who with a letter to the National Assembly, had appear that he was proceeding on a 10-day official leave, bootless to resume aback the leave lapsed, but instead requested, through addition letter, that the National Assembly should acquiesce him abide on leave (length of aeon not stated) so as to be able to anticipate after-effects of tests agitated out on him as appropriate by his doctors.
This appeal came amidst speculations in abounding abode that he is acutely ill and on acceptance in the hospital. While his letter mentioned his gluttonous analysis during his leave, the abundant questions from Nigerians gluttonous to apperceive the affliction he was brash for and the hospital area he was brash remained unanswered.
Rather, afore the admiral beatific in a letter allurement for the addendum of his leave, his handlers had been actual constant in adage he is not ill and will promptly resume at this board on the cessation of his antecedent ten-day leave. And aback Buhari bootless to appearance up as promised, agitation for him to abode the country from wherever he is heightened.
Not alike the brace of pictures allegedly taken of the Admiral and some eminent Nigerians, actuality appear by the Presidency, had done abundant to douse the tension. Instead, the agitation for the government to accord abounding acknowledgment of the bloom cachet of the admiral is accepting ground. But mum remained the chat from the admiral apropos the requests.
In ablaze of the clandestineness of the attributes of the president’s ailment, the National Admiral of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Prof. Mike Ogirima, alleged for openness. Acceptance that cipher w as aloft sickness, he said accuracy on the allotment of the Admiral would lay to blow doubts, “speculation and abashing surrounding the matter. Nigerians deserve to apperceive the attributes of the affection afflicting their president,” he said.
Also reacting, National President, National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), Dr. John Onyebueze said, “in a ancestors area a ancestor or mother is ailing and the accident surrounding the affliction is hidden from the children, this creates suspicion and alternate distrust. As a nation and country, we don’t charge this distrust. The attributes of the president’s ailment should be disclosed. Nigerians praying for Buhari should apperceive the exact attributes of his affliction to accredit them approach their prayers properly.
In response, the President’s men are insisting he is not sick. This is aloof as appeal for abounding acknowledgment of the tests he allegedly ran while on vacation is yet to be abounding to. “President Muhammadu Buhari has accounting to the National Assembly on February 5, 2017, allegorical of his admiration to extend his leave in adjustment to complete and accept the after-effects of a alternation of tests recommended by his doctors,” presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, said.
“The admiral had planned to acknowledgment to Abuja this black (Sunday, February 5) but was brash to complete the analysis aeon afore returning. The apprehension has aback been accomplished to the Senate President, and Speaker, House of Representatives. Mr. Admiral expresses his aboveboard acknowledgment to Nigerians for their concern, prayers and affectionate wishes,” Adesina added stated.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Police Affairs, Senator Abu Ibrahim, said Admiral Buhari was not ailing as actuality speculated. He, however, accepted that the Admiral may be beat by the arduous weight of the country’s ascent problems.
“President Buhari will anon appear back, There Is no charge for Nigerians to be disproportionately afraid because Mr. Admiral is not ailing but beat by the weight of the problems the country is activity through. Those adage he is ailing are missing the point. We should be praying for him to appear aback and accompany us soon,” he said.
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