Should the nation be concerned about the age and health of Atiku and Tinubu in particular?
What if they die or become severely incapacitated as presidential candidates, even though Peter Obi of the Labour Party, appears slightly healthier as evidenced by his apparent youthfulness, energy, and outlook compared to Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC)?
Even America, whose presidential and constitutional system Nigeria practices, although in a defective and chaotic manner, the U.S. Constitution generally has clear rules in the case of the death or incapacity of the President and Vice President during his or her term.
But the rule is less clear when it comes to what happens when a presidential candidate dies close to Election Day—a situation that, if it occurs, could throw the already troubled Nigerian democracy into enormous disarray.
In Nigeria unlike in modern democracies where presidential candidates release their medical assessment reports for the voters, the medical records of presidents and presidential candidates in Nigeria are known for their secrecy.
Despite the reality that Tinubu is reported to be 70 years old and Atiku is reported to be 75 years old, meaning that they are generally in their old age, and likely face medical risk factors more than a much younger candidate like 61 years old Obi, who could be assumed as slightly healthier, no one knows if they are battling life-threatening illnesses.
Recently, while I want to think Tinubu and Atiku are “healthy” and “vigorous” and fit for duty, it appears as reported in the media that they are showing some signs of aging.
What if either Atiku or Tinubu suddenly became violently sick with leg problems that could lead to poor physical balance?
Across the nation, many have questioned Tinubu’s neurological, cognitive, and mental state and have speculated about Atiku being too old to be effective as a presidential candidate as he was recently seen with limping symptoms, regarding a form of walking that favors the usage of one leg over another.
According to Nigerian media Atiku may be ill and is known to have a history of receiving treatments in Dubai and Germany.
Tinubu is reportedly known for seeking medical attention in the United Kingdom in a lengthy manner, and may be in United States, and France.
If only Atiku, Tinubu, and Obi took a medical test and publicly reported on the “wear and tear” — and more pointedly, publicly report on their diagnosed health status as being sick, healthy, or vigorous and whether fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency. We all remember the speculations revolving around the life and death of the Nigerian President, Umaru Yar’Adua. Since 2015 to date, President Muhammadu Buhari has been under pressure to disclose the state of his health because of his multiple medical trips outside Nigeria.
In a recent campaign visit to Osogbo, Osun State, in what appeared to be a veiled reference to Obi, Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party, and his supporters, Tinubu angrily said in his dialect Yoruba, “They will labour till they die,” a sense of outrage and dismay by many Nigerians at such statements followed. Although the words of political death were distasteful, Obi, in a positive way, perceived hatred in this political season as unneeded and responded that laborers needed to be shown love.
In an apparently harsh and rough environment like Nigeria, and with the apparent hidden sickness or other undisclosed conditions that could be following Atiku and Tinubu, the oldest candidates for president like Atiku and Tinubu could be very vulnerable to severe physical pressure and possible sudden disability-associated risk factors including demise. I hope not.
Given that Atiku is 75, Tinubu is 70, and Obi is only 61, any serious and complex illness, such as pneumonia, a severe fall, or cardiovascular events/heart attack, could result in more unexpected overseas medical care, and, God forbid, death.
Let’s hope that Atiku or Tinubu do not get severely incapacitated or die as nominated presidential candidates for their respective parties, and certainly before the general election in 2023.
Most Nigerians, especially the younger voters and open-minded adult voters, believe that if any of the two elderly candidates dies, because of the seismic wave of distrust for anything and anyone in PDP and APC, and the dynamic nature of the Obi phenomenon, hopefully if he is okay, could result in vaporizing the political environment for the extraordinary Obi and sweeping him into victory.
May God/Allah bless the three candidates with adequate health and long life before and after the election.
John Egbeazien Oshodi, who was born in Uromi, Edo State in Nigeria to a father who served in the Nigeria police for 37 years, is an American based Police/Prison Scientist and Forensic/Clinical/Legal Psychologist. A government consultant on matters of forensic-clinical adult and child psychological services in the USA; Chief Educator and Clinician at the Transatlantic Enrichment and Refresher Institute, an Online Lifelong Center for Personal, Professional, and Career Development. He is a former Interim Associate Dean/Assistant Professor at Broward College, Florida. The Founder of the Dr. John Egbeazien Oshodi Foundation, Center for Psychological Health and Behavioral Change in African Settings In 2011, he introduced State-of-the-Art Forensic Psychology into Nigeria through N.U.C and Nasarawa State University, where he served in the Department of Psychology as an Associate Professor. He is currently a Virtual Behavioral Leadership Professor at ISCOM University, Republic of Benin. Founder of the proposed Transatlantic Egbeazien Open University (TEU) of Values and Ethics, a digital project of Truth, Ethics, and Openness. Over forty academic publications and creations, at least 200 public opinion pieces on African issues, and various books have been written by him. He specializes in psycho-prescriptive writings regarding African institutional and governance issues.
Prof. Oshodi wrote in via [email protected]
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