HOW DOES A DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENT IN NIGERIA GOES OVERSEAS ON A PRIVATE VISIT, THE PUBLIC HAS THE RIGHT TO KNOW?
President Goodluck Jonathan reportedly left Abuja, Nigeria for a brief private visit to the United Kingdom, and will be returning back to the country within 24 hours. What?
The President reportedly embarked on this one-day visit outside the country along with some of his principal staff and personal aides.
In democratic nations, it is not unusual for former Presidents to travel overseas on private matters which could include humanitarian, business or even diplomatic works but when it comes to an active president, it becomes a different matter.
It is not unusual for active presidents to travel within the country for private visits such as fundraiser related events, on a private humanitarian mission, or on a courtesy visit to other private citizens.
Typically, when a democratic president makes an international trip, his or her administration usually informs the nation, and at least, tells the people the purpose of the travel which is usually about foreign policy and no one expects details of such visit to be divulged to the public.
Is the Jonathan overseas trip for medical or health reason especially given its reported shortness?
The people need to know as it is their right to know about the President's state of functioning? President Jonathan who is reportedly known for a history of abdomen ailment or any other medical challenges, like everyone will fall sick from time to time and it is not a shame to be sick.
But it is constitutionally proper for the people to know about the President's annual health exams, and whether he is currently healthy, and will he remain so for the duration of his presidency?
This leads us to the theory that both the President and the other president contestant, Muhammadu Buhari should disclose to the people their health information as it is the public's right to know about their presidential candidates.
Even if this instant travel is not about a severe health episode, this is a shocking development in the presidency of Jonathan and it is not enough to say to the public, “President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan left Abuja on Sunday afternoon for a brief private visit to the United Kingdom.”
The nation deserves more explanation to avoid repeating bad histories in the presidential lives of Nigeria.
We should remember Nigeria, as a nation has a written Constitution which was adopted mainly from America.
And here is what the first American president, Abraham Lincoln said at different times.
“Let the people know the truth and the country will be safe.” “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”
Dr. John Egbeazien Oshodi is a Forensic, Clinical and National Psychologist and a former Secretary-General of the Nigeria Psychological Association.