President Buhari Addresses the Nation

 By Richard Anyamele





Fellow Nigerians

In sincere gratitude, my family and I thank all Nigerians and citizens around the world who in diverse ways contributed to my recovery. Many worked tirelessly and more prayed devotedly and a miracle happened – for indeed, it was a close encounter! 

Over 100 days and no day passed without my considering Nigeria and the challenges our citizens face with great difficulties. 

I offered myself for the presidency of our great nation while in reasonable good health. By your popular voice, I took office and pledged to turn around our fortune as a nation. For years, Nigerians have longed for the good life which good governance would deliver but masses have been short-changed administration after administration.

Therefore Nigerians have good reasons and right to demand I get to work, make good my promises – and which indeed is fair demand so that I do not bear grudges on the account.

A leader’s duty is to serve the people that entrusted their fate to the care. And when a leader personally encounters challenges that citizens face daily; that is the moment of truth – that marks a golden opportunity to effect changes, bring redresses. 

Overwhelming majority of Nigerians would have died with similar health challenges as I encountered. But I am alive owes as much to God’s mercy as to the quality medical care I received in London which makes clear the fact that many of our people die prematurely. 

Everyone ultimately passes on but very many in our country and so-called third world die before their time because of poor quality medical cares as well as poverty. Whatever the case, governments have the duty to always ensure hope and succor to needy citizens.

I know that many Nigerian nurses, doctors and para-medics have capacity and devotion and only need reasonable facilities and due motivations. We lack advanced medical equipment but we can and should strive for far better than where we are currently. 

In my humble devotion and gratitude to God for restoration and in sincere appreciation of citizens’ goodwill, I pledge to see that as many as humanly possible regain their health with quality facilities and best skills in our medical centers of excellence.  And I should urge Nigerians to start taking health seriously. Life, they say, has no duplicate – if it snaps, it is over. For one, let’s start to key into the National Health Insurance Scheme.  

Fellow citizens, the Health and Education Ministers are to set in motion mechanisms to revive the Federal medical centers of excellence – one in each zone and the FCT, Abuja. The two ministers will report developments to me regularly until they take off soonest.

Each centre of excellence focuses on one, perhaps two medical challenges. The number of Nigerians traveling abroad for medical care is rather unhealthy – drain on the Naira and depreciates local expertise and development. I am authorizing the Finance Minister to release N5 billion to each centre once it presents scaled, reasonable work plans. 

I will ask state governors to set up similar centers of excellence – precisely one in each zone so that overall, we have about 13. The Federal Government will support each state with a third of the N5 billion initial bills – which means, first come, first served. In future, the budgets of the centers will be on the consolidated account. 

Fellow Nigerians, I didn’t lie idle in bed for 100 days. Every day, I felt the pains and desperations in our nation. Whether convenient to my health or not, duty demands I care and I will keep caring until the day it pleases the Giver of life to call my spirit. Above all, I had opportunity to rethink the state of our nation and life generally.

I took office quite aware of the difficulties facing us and I pledge anew to strive to help to build a united, peaceful, prosperous and progressive nation. I cannot do it alone; nor is it party affairs. Everyone, every faith, tribe and region must join hands. It lies in collective efforts to make Nigeria great because the Almighty blessed this nation beyond measures.

I must acknowledge that we have not made the impacts I promised but we are on course. I call my team’s renewed diligence and plead for more positive thinking from us all. 

State’s failures to meet vital needs cause much sufferings and many fell on account of madness in our communities. But bitterness, hatred does no one any good. In truth, they are self-destructive. All of us need start changing our thoughts, words more positively and before long, quality improvements will begin to show nationwide. 

Wishing every Nigerian God Almighty’s continued grace and mercy, I pray He blesses us all anew! Thank you.

I scratched my head and my eyes opened and I realized that I was dreaming. So alive and so inspiring, I decided to share it. I suspect malaria though – it makes victims hear and see things that didn’t happen but sometimes point to matters in the womb of time. Welcome back, Mr. President. Please, Sir, accept my sincere apology and best wishes.

• Anyamele, a veteran journalist, wrote from Lagos.