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Tinubu: Illnesses associated with shaky hands




Last week, videos of Bola Tinubu, a major contender for Nigeria’s presidency in the 2023 general elections, emerged, showing his hands shaking repeatedly.

Many people who saw the video raised concerns over the fitness of the 69-year-old to lead the nation. His age has been a subject of discourse.

Tinubu is a stalwart of the governing All Progressives Party (APC). 

Office of the President at Aso Villa

Declaring his plan to contest for the nation’s President recently, the ‘Jagaban’, as his supporters fondly call him, admitted that he was a kingmaker who wanted to be king.

He said getting the presidency was his lifelong ambition.

Prior to this, a video had trended on social media alleging the former governor of Lagos State peed on his cloth while visiting prominent monarchs in Ogun State for endorsement for the highest office in the country; his support group refuted the claim and said his detractors were behind it.


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What makes human limbs’ other parts shake repeatedly?

The US-based John Hopkins Medicine identifies essential tremor (ET) as one of the conditions that could make human hands shake.

It says ET is a neurological condition that causes one’s hands to shake rhythmically. 

According to the organisation, the condition could involve the head, trunk and voice shaking alongside the hand, but the hand’s shaking is most prominent. 

The cause is unknown, but it is genetic.

Tinubu pays a courtesy visit to Alaafin of Oyo seeks his support for his presidential bid.
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Another US-based website focusing on tremors notes that ET affects an estimated 10 million people in the US and 41 million people worldwide. 

“Probably the most widely known person with ET is former President Bill Clinton,” says the website.

The WebMD is also based in the US and runs a health information website. Its team works closely with over 100 doctors and health experts across various speciality areas.

The platform provides information on 14 conditions that could lead to the human hand’s vibrationParkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Overactive Thyroid (Hyperthyroidism), Pheochromocytoma, Liver Disorders, and Brain Disorders.

Others are too much caffeine, alcohol withdrawal, lack of sleep, low blood sugar, stress, side effects of certain medications, smoking, and lack of vitamin B12.

Parkinson’s Disease

The UK’s National Health Services defines Parkinson’s Disease as a condition in which parts of the brain become progressively damaged over many years.

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The NHS states that the disease manifests in the form of involuntary shaking of particular parts of the body (tremor), slow movement, and stiff muscles.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

The US National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Health notes that Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system whereby the body’s immune system attacks myelin, which coats nerve cells.

Symptoms of MS include muscle weakness (often in the hands and legs), tingling and burning sensations, numbness, chronic pain, coordination and balance problems, fatigue, vision problems, and difficulty with bladder control. According to the organisation, people with MS may feel depressed and have trouble thinking clearly.

Overactive Thyroid (Hyperthyroidism)

WebMD says shaky hands may be a sign of hyperthyroidism. “This means your thyroid gland is working too hard and kicking your heart rate into high gear. You may also notice that you lose weight without trying, are sensitive to light, get a fast heartbeat, and have trouble sleeping. A simple blood test will help you and your doctor (will) figure out what’s going on.”


The National Cancer Institute says pheochromocytoma is a type of neuroendocrine tumour that grows from chromaffin cells. These cells produce hormones needed for the body and are found in the adrenal glands.

Liver Disorders

John Hopkins says Many health problems can keep the human liver from functioning properly and cause disease. There are several common symptoms of liver disease, including jaundice, liver failure and liver enlargement.

Brain Disorders 

According to the Medical Dictionary, brain disorders (or mental disorder) is any clinically significant behavioural or psychological syndrome characterised by distressing symptoms, significant impairment of functioning, or significantly increased risk of death, pain, or other disability. Mental disorders are assumed to result from some behavioural, psychological, or biological dysfunction in the individual.

Buhari’s medical tourism draws attention for Tinubu

In 2021 Tinubu’s travelled abroad for treatment. He travelled to London in late July that year after reportedly having knee surgery. 

Buhari visits Tinubu
President Buhari visited Tinubu while the latter was recuperating at a London hospital in 2021

The treatment drew prominent leaders in Nigeria to his undisclosed London hospital.

President Muhammadu Buhari was among the scores of leaders who visited him.

Governors, including Lagos’ Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Ondo’s Rotimi Akeredolu; Ogun’s Dapo Abiodun; and Ekiti’s Kayode Fayemi, flew to see him at the hospital.

There were rumours that he died in early August that year, but his media aide debunked the claim.

As the 2023 presidential polls draw closer, more Nigerians have called for the election of a president that is fit and can attend to the nation’s multipronged challenges.

The citizens are making the call because the incumbent President Buhari has spent at least 200 days seeking medical care abroad in his nearly seven years in office.

The President’s medical tourism record is unprecedented in the country’s history.

During his tenure, the nation has witnessed ballooning insecurity and plummeting economy.

In its analysis of the nation’s health sector during Buhari’s six years in power, The ICIR had reported how the President overtook former President Umar Yar’Adua in medical trips abroad.

Picture of President Muhammadu Buhari where he appeared to be sick

As of May 2018, which is barely his three years in office, Buhari had broken Yar’Adua’s record, spending 172 days outside Nigeria.

Buhari has travelled more to seek care outside the nation’s shores since then.

In March 2021, the President jetted out for a medical check-up, leaving behind a health sector grounded by a doctors’ strike across the country.

In early August, the President was also out of the country for another round of ‘check up’ when the doctors resumed the strike they suspended on April 11.

Similarly, this week, this newspaper reported how the President travelled to Kenya and then headed to London for a medical check-up that might last for two weeks. He, however, aborted the medical trip, his aide say. 

In January, the President had said old age was affecting his performance in office.

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