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Not funny… Ezekwesili tackles Buhari over ‘joke’ about IGP losing weight
FORMER Minister of Education, Obiageli Ezekwesili, has latched on to the comments by President Muhammadu Buhari about the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, losing weight because he was working hard to ensure security in the country.
As he touched down at the Abuja Airport from his ten-day ‘private visit’ to the United Kingdom, Buhari, was asked by a journalist whether the country would see a different approach in the efforts at boosting security, especially kidnapping and banditry in the North West region, and he replied, “No, I have just seen the IG, I think he is loosing weight, so I think he is working very hard”.
This response appeared not to have gone down well with many Nigerians, and some took to the social media to express their feelings. One of them was Oby Ezekesili.
The former Minister did not find Buhari’s comments funny, describing it as a “callous joke about insecurity” after ten days of the President “leaving his country for some opaque ‘private visit'”.
“And this is supposed to be funny? A President Buhari making a joke of the daily drenching of the country in the blood of his citizens who are killed daily without ANY consequence while he bears the title “Commander-in-Chief”? Carry on. Someday the Citizens will be ready,” Ezekwesili posted via her Twitter handle on Monday.
“Citizens of every country have the power to determine how their Political Class can treat them,” she continued. “Until we are collectively ready to end the joke that our Political Class have turned NIGERIA into, they’ll continue.”
Ezekwesili further lamented the current state of the health sector in Nigeria where one of the nation’s “biggest” medical facility − the National Hospital, Abuja − has become “a monumental mess and death-home for even the few that can afford it”.
“For those who can’t afford the shambolic National Hospital and similar derelict health institutions, they’re left begging for help to treat all manner of diseases, while their President, Buhari, takes off as often as he wishes for the best medical health care abroad. Callous,” she added.
“The Health and Education sectors determine the state of any country and people. They are especially important for the poor, weak and vulnerable of a country. Take a look at those two sectors and you can tell what’s going on in a country. Our bunch of jokers could care less.”
Similarly, Omoyele Sowore, publisher of Sahara Reporters, also criticised President Buhari for his comments, at a time the increasing heat of insecurity was being felt all over the country.
“I think the President has lost it. His reaction is at variance with the gravity of the insecurity in the country,” said Sowore, who, like Ezekwesili, was a presidential candidate in the just-concluded presidential election, though the latter withdrew at some point.
It is not immediately clear whether Buhari’s latest visit to the UK was for medical purposes. His media aide, Femi Adesina, had said it was simply a “private visit”.
However, the UK is Buhari’s first choice for medical tourism. He spent more than 150 days in the country for medical purposes between 2016 and 2018.
In contrast, the Nigerian health sector has not fared any better under the Buhari administration, in spite of the many mouth-watering promises made by the president during his campaign in 2015.
From Buhari’s first budget in 2016 till that of 2018, the health sector has consistently gotten between 3.5 and 4.2 per cent of the total budget, a far cry from the Abuja Declaration signed by African leaders at an AU meeting in Abuja in 2001, where they pledged to devote at least 15 per cent of their countries’ annual budgets to the health sector.
In the 2019 budget which has just been passed by the National Assembly and is currently awaiting presidential assent, the health sector was allocated a total of N365.77 billion, representing just 4.1 per cent of the total budget sum of N8.83 billion proposed by the President.