THE GOD FACTOR: OLD AGE, FITNESS AND PERFORMANCE.. By Ikechukwu Obi Durumba

In countries where health and medical science have become so advanced that it has considerably elongated their life expectancy, they still take the current state of health of those who seek to lead them into consideration before electing them. Even those who contest office in those climes tell themselves the truth about their health and caution themselves accordingly. We saw how Sen. John McCain admitted to brain cancer and underwent surgery to remove a tumour.

Come back home.

Here, to start with, any attempt to question the health status of a candidate is met with a ferocious rain of abuse and indiscriminate curses that inexplicably tell you to ‘stop playing God’. When you ask them how an enquiry into the health capacity of a man who wants to govern 180m people means ‘playing God’, you get a cacophony of non-answers and more abuse.

In Nigeria, there’s a 76yr old man who spent a shocking amount of his first four years in and out of hospitals for a yet undisclosed ailment, declaring to run for yet another term in office. We’re seeing a situation where a man for whom the bells of nature are tolling and whose physical constitution is naturally getting weaker (as expected), declaring to run for another term in office.

One major amazement in the Buhari ambition is the classic reaction from his supporters when the issue of his age and health are raised. The reaction is one of vicious blackmail that hits you on the head with the God factor. They ask ‘Are you God?’, forgetting to ask this question when players are made to go through medicals in football clubs and new employees are asked to go through same before starting work. To those folks, it’s ok to make sure footballers are fit enough to play and employees are healthy enough to work but it’s evil to ask if a man who makes decisions for 180m people is healthy enough to serve as President. Typical Nigerian religion-induced shallowness.

And the amazement here is three-fold. This country has had the experience of an Umaru Musa Yaradua, yet pretends not to have experienced same. No need recounting that painful story but it bears reminding that some of the key dramatis personae are in power today.

The second surprise is that anyone who knows how rigorous the office of the President is will tell you that you need to be strong as an ox to fully discharge your duties effectively. Comparing Nigeria with other countries is laughable because the Nigerian challenge is so uniquely tough that it will sap any young person, much less a septuagenarian who has been in and out of hospital.

Another point of amazement in the whole declaration is that a President who, at the inception of his first term, asserted that age will limit his performance, is the President who is being said will perform feats in his second term. I mean, isn’t that just amazing? If old age limits his performance now, I wonder what it will do to his performance four years hence.

Honestly, what I see is a President whose body and mind is tired (that’s why they shield him from direct contact with the media) but a certain group (call them cabal, if you like) are dead-set on foisting Buhari on this country in order to continue their milking hold on the country’s resources.

There are individuals who stand to gain, if not now then in 2023, from Buhari’s continued stay in office. Nigeria is the last thing on their minds and the state of the country is only fit for propaganda when it suits them. Individual interests like these are the real problem of the country because like leeches, they feed off a rent-seeking system and will manipulate everything, including Buhari himself, to suit their designs and sate their hunger.

In the name of all that is good, Muhammadu Buhari has played his part and must be shown the way to Daura since he has decided to listen to the voices of avarice around him. The fate of 180m cannot continue to be tied to the slow, feeble and pallid ways of a septuagenarian who didn’t show any particular spark of brightness while young and who will definitely deteriorate with age because as Ndigbo say, strength does not increase with age, it only decreases.

God, the factor whom Buhari supporters use in blackmailing sincere enquirers, helps those who help themselves.