US presidents have been sick while in office.Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921) suffered a severe stroke that left him incapacitated throughout his presidency. Yet He remained in office till the end of his term in 1921.Diagnosed with polio in 1921 at the age of 39, Franklin D Roosevelt (1933-1945) still served for twelve good years though he could not stand or walk without support. Using a wheelchair in private, he never disclosed the full extent of his health condition.
Dwight Eisenhower (1953-1961) suffered heart attack in 1955 as a result of which he was hospitalized for several weeks. He also did a surgery some months later to treat Crohn’s disease and in late 1957 suffered another stroke that made him temporarily unable to speak. Yet he went ahead to win a second term after that.
John F Kennedy (1961 – 1963) had a chronic bone disease and was hospitalized nine times in his short two and a half year presidency but this was never revealed to the American public. George Bush (1989 – 1993) vomited and then fainted in front of cameras in 1992 while on a visit in Japan and heaven did not fall in America.
Now if about five of American presidents have been sick in office, what is wrong if Nigeria’s current president is also sick? Is he made of iron? We are also tempted to ask, if Buhari dies, will it be the first time that a president will die?
Eight American presidents have died in office. Four died of natural causes: William Henry Harrison (1841), Zachary Taylor (1850), Warren Harding (1923) and Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1945). Four others were assassinated: Abraham Lincoln (1865), James A. Garfield (1881), William McKinley (1901) and John F. Kennedy (1963).
The truth is that if Buhari dies today, his name will be written in letters of gold. It is the death of a hero primus inter pareil and the death of a reformer nulli secundus. Buhari is a dogged corruption fighter who came to rescue Nigerians from yam thieves. If he dies today he will leave an indellible record, an achievement difficult to match by his successor and a standard that is bound to create a yawning lacuna.
Nigerians also need to show sympathy and understanding as their president battles with a poor health condition. They should not allow people whose hearts are filled with hate to brainwash and indoctrinate them.