By Olalekan Waheed Adigun
My father, Memudu Adigun, died of stroke when I was barely two years into my secondary education. Before then, like many others at my age, I have heard stories of angels, ghosts and spirits having conversations with people. Some even claim they “see” one of their grandparents days after they were dead. Since, I never met my grandparents while they were alive, I couldn’t make such fantastic claims since I never even know how they look. With this, I was left to wonder what it was like interacting with ghosts!
So when my father died, since I was still a small boy, I thought he would come around to be “talking” to me. He never came so I gave up on the fruitless search for any other opportunities at seeing ghosts. All that I have left of my dad, are the things I can remember him say or do while he was alive. How people talk to ghosts is still a mystery to me!
For a while now, there has been heated debates on both the traditional and new (social) media on the state of President Buhari’s health. There are those who are still in “election mode” according to Femi Adesina, who will not want to hear any other news contrary to “Buhari is dead.” To these ones, the President died the day he traveled to London. There are others, which I will call, the Hailers. No matter what, even if, God forbids, the corpse of the President is sent home, they will never believe. Both camps, as we can see are living in a state of denial which can only become clear how the President returns home, dead or alive.
One thing is sure and to say it in pain, undiplomatic language, all is not well with the President’s health. Anyone can fall sick. I have a cousin who died at 6 years old of jaundice. My dad died at 85 from complications arising from stroke. I knew people who were not as old as he was that died before him of diseases that are not so acute. Anyone can can fall sick and die. The problem I have so far is the manner in which the whole thing is handled. I guess that is where the opponents of the administration are gaining an upper hand!
On St Valentine’s day, there was a piece of news that US President, Donald Trump, was scheduled to speak with two African leaders: Jacob Zuma (South Africa) and Muhammadu Buhari (Nigeria). Even though, the announcement was public, many doubted the President’s number will go through since, according to New York Times, no one has seen Buhari in months. This raised doubts as to whom President Trump spoke. Not even a State House Press Release signed by the President’s spokesman, Femi Adesina, will be good enough for chronic doubters. Some pseudo media stations also mentioned, citing no credible sources, that Trump never spoke with Buhari even though they acknowledged the US leader spoke to Zuma on the same day. As far as these ones were concerned, Buhari is just a ghost that can appear and disappear anything he likes!
Perhaps, to “convince” the doubting Thomases that the President’s “hale and hearty”, the President’s men went on a picture war. The president’s media team aggressively pushed out pictures of prominent Nigerians visiting Buhari in London. The pictures of two chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Chief Bisi Akande were first sent out. As usual, doubters went to work again claiming Tinubu “denied” visiting the President in London. Tinubu, in a swift statement by his media aide, has referred to his “denial” as “crazy”.
Also, Senate President, Bukola Saraki; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakub Dogara and Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan were pictured visiting Buhari in London. I remember asking if the three men also visited a ghost!
On Trump’s telephone conversation with Buhari, one notorious blog came up with a misleading headline, WHITE HOUSE “DENIES” SPEAKING WITH BUHARI. Many who did not even bother reading the first paragraph of the piece, went agog in vilification, “I no tell you?” I told a friend that night who sent me the link to the piece that it is nothing but trash. I asked her which “White House” the blog was taking about because I know of one White House (Faculty of Science Building) at Ife University. I asked her if that was the one they meant. We laughed over it and I taught her how to detect when a piece is fake. There is a big difference, I told her between a completed action ( DENIED) and a continuous one (YET TO CONFIRM). The blog claimed: “The White House is yet to confirm President Trump spoke to Buhari…”
In their desperate attempt to do a dirty job of making us believe Trump spoke to a ghost, they murdered professionalism, the humanity we share and decorum!
Olalekan Waheed ADIGUN is a political analyst and independent political strategist for wide range of individuals, organisations and campaigns. He is based in Lagos, Nigeria.