The wife of the president, Aisha Buhari, said on Monday that her husband’s ill health caused instability in Nigeria.
She expressed the view at the stakeholders meeting on Reproductive, Maternal, New Born, Child, Adolescent Health and Nutrition (RMNCAH and N) in Abuja.
The event was also used to inaugurate the Governors Wives Advocacy Group (GWAG) on reproductive health in the country.
President Muhammadu Buhari was in London for treatment of an undisclosed illness and spent over 100 days there. He returned to Nigeria on August 19 and has since resumed his full duties which he delegated to the vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, while he was away.
“As you are aware for the past six months Nigeria was not stable because of my husband’s ill health,” Mrs. Buhari said.
“We thank God that he has fully recovered now.
Mrs. Buhari also lamented the actions of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, saying he tried to create “a state out of a state.”
Although Mrs. Buhari did not mention Mr. Kanu by name, the reference was unmistakable.
“A 40-year-old man who is still living in his father’s house created a state out of a state and that is a major setback to the country,” she said suggesting Mr. Buhari’s medical vacation worsened the Nnamdi Kanu situation.
“I hope that such a thing will not be repeated,” she added.
Mr. Kanu’s organisation, IPOB, is calling for an independent country of Biafra made up of Igbos. The group has since been outlawed and declared a terrorist organisation by the federal government, while Mr. Kanu’s whereabouts remain unknown since his group clashed with security agencies.
Mrs Buhari also carpeted the health care delivery system in the country and reserved special criticism for the State House Clinic, which she said lacks basic equipment for medicare.
She called for a probe of the budget utilisation at the clinic.
“I would like to be realistic to say a few words concerning health delivery system in Nigeria. It is very poor, sorry to say that.
“I am happy that the MD of Aso Clinic is here. Dr Manir, I am happy that you are here.
“If somebody like Mr President can spend several months outside Nigeria, you wonder what will happen to a common man on the street in Nigeria.
“Few weeks ago I was sick as well; they advised me to take a first flight to London; I refused to go.
“I said I must be treated in Nigeria because there is a budget for an assigned clinic to take care of us.
“If the budget was N100 million, we need to know the way the budget is spent.
“And along the line I insisted; they called Aso clinic to find out if their X-ray machine was working, they said it was not working; they didn’t know that I was the person that was to be at that hospital at that very time.
“I had to go to a hospital that was established by foreigners in and out 100 per cent.
“What does that mean?’’
“I think it is high time for us to do the right thing.’’
Mrs. Buhari noted that if something like that happened to her, there was no need to ask the governors wives what the situation was in their states.
She said Abuja was the highest seat of government and the incident was about the Presidential Villa.
Mrs. Buhari acknowledged that Nigeria had very good health policies, the best in Africa.
“Yes of course we have (policies) but implementation is always the problem.
“So we need to change our mindset and do the right thing.’’
She said that a lot of constructions were on-going at Aso Clinic when the hospital lacked basic medical equipment and tools.
“There are lots of constructions going on in that hospital but there is no single syringe there; what does that mean? Who will use the building?
“So we have to be good in reasoning; you are building and there is no equipment, no consumables in that hospital and the constructions are still going on.
The management of the Aso Rock Clinic had last week lamented that they were not properly funded and called for the commercialisation of the clinic.
Mrs. Buhari appreciated the wives of the governors and other stakeholders for attending the event as an attestation of the importance they attached to the issue of maternal and child health.
She said it was sad to know that Nigeria was one of the countries with the worst health records for children and women in spite of the efforts of the past, adding that more needed to be done.
She explained that it informed her Future Assured Initiative two years ago to champion the well-being of women and children. She acknowledged the support of all stake holders for their continued support.
“We are here today to build our alliances that will help strengthen our advocacy for reproductive, maternal, new born, child, adolescent health and nutrition at the state level.
“By creating a strong coalition, we will increase awareness on the importance of improving RMNCAH and Nutrition, promote advocacy for better service delivery and increase the utilization of RMNCAH and Nutrition services,’’ she noted
She expressed optimism that the Governors Wives Coalition established at the event would provide a platform for them to lend a strong voice for improving the health status of women and children in the country.
Mrs. Buhari urged the governors’ wives to champion the cause of advocacy to support the RMNCAH and N programmes in their various states.
She advised them to dedicate a section of the governors’ wives forum meeting agenda to update themselves on the progress of the advocacy in their various states.
Accordingly, Mrs. Buhari donated a floor of the three-storey building of the Future Assured Centre in Wuse Abuja to the Women for the purpose of the advocacy.
She called on development partners to support the coalition to achieve better health outcomes for Nigeria.
She pledged to commit all platforms available to her as wife of the president and as champion of RMNCHA and N to continue to provide maximum support to the cause and urged the governors’ wives to do same.