Nigeria's ailing president Muhammadu Buhari finally returned to his home country from the United Kingdom after a prolonged absence that stretched for a whole three months. There were jubilations and praises, that at last, he had returned.
Buhari left for the United Kingdom on May 7, under an unspecified illness. The 74-year old was welcomed by thunderous jubilations from his loyal supporters. His absence had sparked intense tensions in Nigeria, with the government withholding official information on Buhari's illness. The delicate political structure in Nigeria was under immense threat, especially when Buhari temporarily handed power to his deputy Yemi Osinbajo.
A youth group has told Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari to resign or form an interim government following his 53 days absence from office.
Many citizens in Nigeria were already dissenting along the lines that Buhari should have either come back or resigned. As fate would have it, the president came back to the country amid disunity seeping in. This phenomenon has proved a common occurrence among African countries. What we have in Africa is a situation whereby African hospitals are not created for African presidents. What we have is a situation where citizens are subjected to dilapidated health infrastructure while the leaders are urgently whisked away to European countries.
It only seems that when African rulers fail to fix the litany of problems that beleaguer their health sectors, their only single option at their disposal is to fly away. The majority of the people, who live under poor conditions, are forced to make their way to public hospitals where there is an acute shortage of hospital beds, drugs, and other essential life-saving equipment.
This is the third time, in less than a year that Mr. Buhari has sought out medical attention overseas.
Besides betraying how poor the health sector of African countries is, when leaders are away from their home countries it increases security risks in that specific country. As seen with Nigeria's situation, tensions were already running high and there was increased security risk. A leadership vacuum was looming, especially with the military insurgents ravaging parts of Nigeria.
The scourge of ailing presidents comes with dreadful repercussions, and reveals how Africa still has a lot to do in terms of developing the respective health sectors.