A POPE AND A PRESIDENT BY GBOYEGA ADEJUMO


A pope and a president…

Pope John Paul II entered the papacy in 1978 as an avid sportsman, enjoying hiking and swimming. The 58-year-old was extremely healthy and active for his age, jogging in the Vatican gardens to the horror of Vatican staff, who informed him that his jogging could be seen by tourists climbing to the summit of the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. The pope’s response, according to media reports, was “so what?”
Then on the 1st of February 2005, the Pope was taken to the Gemelli Hospital suffering from acute inflammation and spasm of the larynx, brought on by a bout of influenza. He was released, but in late February 2005 he began having trouble breathing, and he was rushed back. A tracheotomy was performed, allowing him to breathe more easily, but limiting his speaking ability, to which he reacted with evident frustration during a failed attempt at public speaking from the window of the hospital ward.
But on the 2nd of April 2005, pope John Paul breathed his last. .

It was not a hushed whispering of an undisclosed ailment that befell the great pontiff, it was cancer and complications of old age.

However, after over twenty-five years on the papal throne, two assassination attempts (one of which resulted in severe physical injury to the Pope), and a number of cancer scares, John Paul’s physical health declined naturally.
I remember so well during the period of his health challenges, there were questions as to the ability of the pope to carry out his functions in the Vatican as well as in the administration of all the catholic churches all over the world.

I also remember that a very profound answer was given by the pope who succeeded John Paul II, the then cardinal Joseph Aloisius Rat zinger, who said the resignation of a pope is a moral bidding in which the pope is the one to address by himself…

As the situation would present with a fait accompli, in 2013 pope Benedict himself took this path of honor to resign his papacy.

Pope Benedict XVI served as Pope from 2005 until his resignation in 2013. Benedict’s election occurred in the 2005 papal conclave that followed the death of Pope John Paul II. Since his resignation, Benedict holds the title Pope Emeritus…
Pope Benedict’s official resignation statement offered his waning physical and mental powers as the explanation….

I met this very pope in 2011, in Rome at the Vatican on a certain Thursday during the papal audience granted to visitors and I heard him speak in seven different languages to the different nationalities that came to hear his address.. Yet by 2013 he felt he was not so physically and mentally strong enough to carry out his papal duties anymore and like before…
Which now brings to the fore the case of our president who was away in the first instance for 52 days this year and will soon be clocking another 100 days out of the country on Wednesday 16th of August.

It is a very clear and present moral burden and perhaps a national bidding for this president to take the path of pope Benedict, by offering his resignation.
As I watched the video of the president meeting his media aides released yesterday, I could only feel compassion and empathy. Clearly, no gait steps in those walks, no bellow in that voice, this President needs to love himself more than a position. He needs to do himself and the country, if he loves both, the favour of becoming an emeritus, but not an executive. Clearly, the spark is gone.
The greatest damage Buhari and his handlers have deployed so far, is to equate Buhari’s health with a no-go area tag. It is an Insult.

In their disdain for openness, they have unwittingly curried apathy for a president who continues to fall each and everyday by installments in people’s Reckoning.

In a non-disclosure of what ails the president, a slew of causes of insurability trails a Buhari whose very first video in 97 days, shows a failing health rather than a recuperating body.

As Buhari continues to frown at accepted norms of engagement between leaders and the polity, in disclosing his health status and in resigning from his political status, the victim is a country divided.

The social contract between the government and “We the People”, that have elected it, is in exchange for positions of free medical, free housing, free feeding, free transportation, you give to us free and open governance, openness, Perestroika and Glasnost….. Unfortunately, under this President we have got The Reverse and The Converse.
And Now that hate speeches and declaration of “independence” is the Converse, almost institutional, and all because of the misrule of a certain Buhari whose relevance, health and mental status have led us this far out into these uncertainties, would the hate speeches and the leeches, be allowed to tarry a while longer, before Reason will prevail and Buhari will do the needful and become Nigeria’s president emeritus…!??
Only Time will, Tell….!

GBOYEGA ADEJUMO

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