Category: Just Musings

GUEST BLOGGERS’ CORNER: GOOD MANNERS By Jenny Chika Okafor

As a strong fearless African woman born in the UK but raised in a remote part of Nigeria by a bold, fearless and totally devoted, loving, caring, humane and extraordinarily conscientious farmer grandmother “my indefatigable Amazon and philosopher” I returned to England in the late 80s very confident, brazen, defensive and sometimes totally loud and pugnacious.

I grew up through the civil war in Nigeria and served as a farm hand for gran,  helping to harvest melon seeds, cassava, yam and others plus helping to fry and sell garri in the market to earn our living.

Gran had no room for lazy people. If I said that I had headache or belly ache, she simply gave me salt in water for belly ache, warm therapy Apc, touched my head or belly and said “agu Nwanyi, you will be OK, now get on with your work”

Upon returning to the UK after higher education and a failed marriage blessed with three children,  at an age when many girls are still not sure what to do with their lives, it did not take time for me to learn that although my attitude was good enough to repel faint hearted friends and enemies, it was the deal breaker or barrier in my way to any successful career.

I took on anyone who I thought was prejudiced against me for whatever reason my mind told me. Many employers loved but loathed me. I just could not be bothered because I had been led to believe that everyone who is not the same colour as me is racist. I bought into that delusion and was always combat ready not realising that I had become very insecure to a pint of delusion judging anyone who tried to correct me as agent of my imaginary oppressors.

What I did not realise was that I was deeply loved and adored by a few people but they were afraid to get too close. I stupidly thought that I had street credibility and the fear I caused or (commanded in my delusion) was respect.

Well, it took an incident for me to learn that although I was good at my work, senior management feared that a promotion for me will be catastrophic. They were at the same time afraid of losing my talent and dedication. I had brilliant reports but was never shortlisted for promotion. As you can imagine, I would have none of it and waged war. I threatened to bring down the roof and everyone including Union reps were targets because in my mind they had all taken sides with my imaginary oppressor.

This then forced senior management friends to have series of meetings with me. I was told how much I was loved and respected for who I am and how my attitude was my biggest enemy.

That was a turning point. I began to watch how other people reacted or responded to issues and followed the advice a Caucasian boss I considered a father constantly rolled out with so much love. He took me to launch and walks in the park on several occasions. At those times we discussed my strengths and weaknesses and how to use or change them in order to fit in.

One thing he commended me on was my readiness to learn and on that note approved many personal development causes. They worked. Trust me they do!

Today, I am a better person who will always argue my case without losing it, pulling off my gloves, rolling up my sleeves and and asking others to bring it on.

Why am I writing this now? I called my GP surgery for an appointment after hours because I fell asleep early this morning. I was told that they could not make any appointment for me.

I was cool, calm and respectful knowing that the receptionist was only following their policy. In the past, I would have started jumping up and down, asking for the Practice manager. But I did not.

Guess what? It paid off. I got more than an appointment because I was not rude and aggressive.

So manners are key to advancement and success in life.

Many of us in our fifties and the younger ones must take critical looks at ourselves and see where we may be going wrong and why we are not likely reach the pinnacle of careers careers despite being admirably talented and holding tons of degrees. It’s not weakness to do so. It’s strength!

Ask your friends to assess you or take online attitude tests and seek help if you find yourself wanting.

Being rude, aggressive and non compromising even when you are at fault may give you street credibility among mannerless people like you, but will never move you up the ladder.

What is the point in bagging tons of degrees and doing nothing with them? That is a waste of talent , time and money.

You could do better if you accept that there may be need for improvements here and there.

I did and it worked for me. Don’t be a failure because of your attitude.

Try!!!!!!

 

JCOJenny is a UK based Solicitor and Advocate. She is the Founder of Nigerian Women In Diaspora Leadership Forum and a member of several other professional and  community organisations. 

She is a socio-political activist and commentator; a passionate community leader, mentor, trainer and coach.

Follow Jenny @Jennyokafor on Twitter & @JennyChikaOkafor on Facebook


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DIVORCED PEOPLE DON’T BITE!

It’s refreshingly lovely when your married friends do not see your single/divorced status as some horrible disease that can infect their exclusive club and invite you to their gatherings – even Couples Dinner – as absurd as that might sound, if you are not “coupled”

Many houses of worship ostracise their single (divorced) members…. and some married women avoid the divorced like a plague. And churches at certain times, can be the loneliest place to be for single or divorced women surrounded by loved up lovey-dovey couples.

Unfortunately what people have failed to realise is that many married men nowadays prefer their fellow married women who want to keep their homes and still enjoy the thrill provided by another man. And these happen quite ofter right under the partner’s nose! In other words, the “other woman” is not always that attractive and seductive looking divorcée.

It could be the wife of the man you call “uncle” or “brother”!!!!

And many older single or divorced women are simply happy and content being single (if just for the time being. ..)


Others cannot and are not willing to “man share” and do not see themselves as some man’s “bit on the side” or “home-wrecker” so they too avoid married men like a worse plague and would run a mile as if an Ebola victim is pursuing them.

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However, some Pirhana women that will steal a man, will do as they please regardless of how tough the wife thinks she is; and the habitual skirt chasing married bloke will not be stopped by matter, time or space if he’s determined to go a-chasing! So some preventive antics of the panicky and insecure partner might just be a collossal waste of time!!

Nevertheless, perhaps it’s time for folks with the same status to stick and flock together…

The event organiser in me is again thinking of a suitable Event. Hmmnnn………..

BJ
JustMusing

ABOUT CHANGING TIMES AND SEASONS…

This morning as I was carrying out my devotion I found myself musing about times and seasons…changing times and seasons to be precise.

I wondered how come some people will spend years working hard, paying their dues and basically doing everything they are supposed to do, yet nothing seems to work out for them – while another person does exactly the same things or even far less and it seems everything they touch turns to gold….
There’s a time and a place for every thing under the sun.
The Lord changes times & seasons. And there is a time for EVERY season.

A season can last anything from 1 year to 1 decade. Your season might have started 8 years ago and you could be wondering when your situation will change or why you have been in your situation for this long. And you can see another person for whom things suddenly happen to change their condition, seemingly overnight. They could have been waiting, toiling & even wailing for years before the sudden change of circumstance. It was the fullness of their own time. The maturing of their season.

Until it’s the right time for your change, you will remain in THAT situation. If your appointed season is 10 years, then nothing will change for you until then. Afterall, a pregnancy season is 9 months you will not expect to give birth at 5….

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There us a waiting period between the time a seed of corn is buried into the soil and the time it grows and develops into a full maize plant with several corn cobs.

Everyone and everything made by the creator must go through a period of being buried in the ground. A time of labouring, enduring hardship, being overlooked, a period of obscurity and irrelevance and like a baby in the womb…or that corn seed buried in the dark soil, a time of darkness, loneliness and being hidden away.

Until the fullness of term when the product is ripened and matured and it blossoms into the luscious plant or cute new born baby that everyone is gushing and whaoing over…..if the change is forced, helped along or hurried, it is at risk of termination or premature manifestation and only serious intervention will prevent complete abortion – just as in the situation where a baby has been born prematurely.

It is also very important to remember that everyone’s fullness of time is different.

I have had pregnancies of three marvellous children.

One of them I was sick throughout.  The other 2, I can barely remember.

Two of them lasted 10 and a half months, the third, just over 8.

Certain things need to cook for longer than others but we must not lose sight of the fact that there is a certain timeframe that must be reached before such can be considered safe or viable enough to be presented.

Comparing our situation with others’ and descending into sadness when we measure ourselves up as underprivileged or less fortunate in comparison, is out of a lack of understanding of the principle of times and seasons.

Each of us have different times and seasons. Yours might not have come yet….but it surely will.

The promise is for an appointed time. Wait for it.

When its time for your breakthrough, you will know it because nothing will be able to stop it. And that is the “you” the world will see. Many would not have known you or even remember the poor, downtrodden, suffering, hopeless person you used to be.

 

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Like a seed maturing in the dust, no one would have wanted to be associated with you as the poor irrelevant “Joe no Mates”.  But as soon as your time comes and your season changes, everyone wants to celebrate you and have a piece of you.

It is just the way if life. The way God has intended it to be.

So hold on. Be patient. Persevere & endure.

Your season change is coming.
Afterall, the Yorubas say
“igba kan o lo bi orere”

NO CONDITION LASTS FOREVER (any condition)
Love always.

🤓BJ

PARENTS, TEACH YOUR CHILD WHICH WAY TO GO…

Everyone who is a parent, uncle or aunty must absolutely read this.
I copied this absolutely wonderful write up on Home Training from one of my WhatsApp groups and I must confess it ministered greatly to me so I have decided to share it (with additional input by my humble self) with my wider network.

 

WHAT ARE YOU TEACHING YOUR CHILD?
“You are a mistake of a wife” Mike screamed at Kate…
“And you are a terrible husband.. you are my
greatest mistake ” Kate retorted…

A large number of women in the world population are crying on a daily basis, because of the terrible husbands they have.
But Ironically, it is the same WOMEN who trained “characterless” boys who have become terrible husbands…

Men are complaining because of the terrible wives they have, but can’t we also blame MEN..MEN were the fathers of the untrained girls who have become the characterless wives of today…

It is often believed that fathers have the greatest influence on their sons and mothers, on their daughters. This might be a fact but it is not an absolute truth. Boys can learn emotional intelligence that is greatly needed in a relationship from their mothers. While a fellow man will pass on erroneous stereotypical male-chauvinistic beliefs about women to his son, a mother will give her son a deep insight into real woman issues and help him understand exactly how they will affect a woman, and to see things from a woman’s point of view. And a father who spends time with his daughter, will also teach her valuable lessons about men and how best to relate with them.

Many parents especially women have made the mistake of instilling the unhelpful and insensitive trait in their sons from when they were boys.

MUM, when last did you ask your boy to do the dishes, clean the bath or to help with your shopping trolley.

Does your son watch T.V and play video games while his sisters are with you in the kitchen – after all, you would say, “he is a boy and his sisters are girls who must learn how to cook”?

Did you spank your son so hard his eyes watered the last time he raised up his hands to beat a girl or his sister…..?

WHY then do we blame the husbands of today, they are only living the life the mothers of yesterday permitted them to live…

DAD, Your future son in-law is going to be thankful to you, if you can get involved in training his wife…A man knows best what men want to see in their wives…

How many football matches have you made your daughter sit down and watch with you? And we wonder why wives fall out with their husbands when his just must watch that Arsenal v Chelsea match and nothing else matters. When did you have a frank talk about sex and just how important it is to a man, with your daughter – instead of being awkward about it and leaving it to the mother – who possibly does not have much of a clue in this area either…

The Biblical Queen Esther was trained by her Uncle Mordecai to be brave, courageous and yet alluring. No wonder she won the hearts of the King in the palace (thank GOD for favour as well, but DON’T rule out her uncle’s training)

Jairus ran after Jesus for the healing of his daughter, he didn’t leave that responsibility to her mother…

Herodias told her daughter to ask for the head of John the Baptist, she obeyed and it was presented to her on a platter of gold!

On a final note, our kids listen and act more on our instructions than those of outsiders. They also watch us and learn more from us than we might actually know. And the teachings we give our kids go a very long way with them.

You have the greatest influence and impact on your child…Use it

LET’S TOGETHER ESTABLISH THE MARRIAGES OF
TOMORROW FROM TODAY….
THE GIRLS OF TODAY ARE THE WIVES OF
TOMORROW. AND THE BOYS OF TODAY, ARE HUSBANDS OF TOMORROW

The type of home training they get will determine the kind of marriages they will have. So parents….please train up your children in the way they should go so when they are older, they will not deviate from it…

 

BJ

JUST MUSING: DON’T STOP TRYING, NEVER GIVE UP

 

Many things in life are like learning horse riding. In the beginning you find out that you are scared of the horse and you keep falling off. And you might even break some bones while you’re at it…

But as you fall of, you must get back on that horse again.

Soon, you get used to the horse…and you master the art of riding without falling off.

But only if you don’t give up.

BJ

HELP! THE KIDS ARE FLYING THE NEST. WHAT IS TO BECOME OF ME?

For a few weeks I had been feeling a bit depressed…but I’ve only just realised why!
The kids are all grown up and flying the nest.
My three babies  (25, 21 &18) have been my reason for living for over 25 years but they don’t seem to need me so much anymore and I’m not taking the detachment well at all😢😢😢

As a single parent, I more or less brought all three of them up single-handed. Don’t get me wrong, I was married – but my now ex-husband and I had very different understanding of marriage and family life, so for most of our 13 year marriage till I decided to make my  “single” status official again and call time on the “make believe” marriage, I lived mostly by myself with three young kids under the age of 10. And for the past 11 years since my divorce, it has been just me and them.

Many would ask why I did not remarry in all that time…

Good question.

But first and foremost, the City of London where I live, is not blessed with available 40 or 50-something year old men. Many of them are either happily married (though mostly straying) or shacked up with someone or are good Christians who fear God and take their marriage seriously.

And those who may be available are either content playing the field of London, reliving their teenage years and simply sleeping their way through the entire female population – of both single,  married and lesbian or transgender women alike. And if there are any of them that mustn’t be lumped into this block, they were simply not willing to take on a divorced 40-something year old woman with 3 kids!

Responsible divorced, widowed or never-married men in their 40s/50s are simply not there, so the pulling pool for someone like me has just been – well, dry and empty!

And then, there were my own doubts.

If at any time in those 11 years, anyone had remotely, by some stroke of miracle, come close to embarking upon a serious relationship with me, I would have found a way to sabotage that relationship. The reason is simple – although it did not dawn on me till recently. I just didn’t want another man bringing up kids that belonged to someone else. And I didn’t want to confuse my kids either. I needed them to know their own father and be trained by him. Which admittedly, he did, albeit from a great distance.

I also could not take the risk of someone half-heartedly taking on my kids as part of the baggage that comes with me, but not being fully able to bond with them and love them as his own. I couldn’t bear to have another man move in with us and disrupt the tightly knit unit that my kids and I had formed and become over the years. I also strongly harboured the fear that any man I got married to will be treated like an outsider and in little time, will start to feel resentful of the situation and which will cause problems that could destroy the marriage.

There was also the subconscious  fear of  peadophiles harboured by many single parents lurking somewhere in the corner of my mind. I couldn’t risk someone I thought I knew, come into our lives and mess around with my girls.

You just couldn’t tell with folks nowadays – and more horrific stuff do happen everyday that we read and hear about.

So I subconsciously held back from forming meaningful relationships and stayed single. And in all those years, I was content with the blanket of company my kids gave me. I cannot remember a time that I didn’t have at least 2 of them in the house with me. When my eldest was away in Uni, I had my son and my youngest daughter at home. And for the past two years that my son had been in Uni, I have had my eldest back from Uni and the youngest at home who’s just completed her AS but is headed for Uni next September.

But that was until my eldest called me and told me she was thinking of moving out….

When she told me a few weeks ago that she was tired of living with her mum and sharing a room with her baby sister and was planning to find a place of her own, I thought I was going to die. I quite unreasonably saw it as a rejection and her simply wanting to get as far away from me as possible. Needless to say I didn’t take it well at all!

My first impression was yeah-right!

My second was Oh NO, YOU CANNOT!!!!

I refused to speak to her for 2 days and after that, I tried every trick in the book to scare her out of leaving. But no matter how much I tried, her mind was firmly made up and she wouldn’t bulge.

Of course, I, like every other (African) mother know that sooner or later, the kids will have to move out and start a life of their own, but I also assumed this would be when they get married, but my daughter is not showing any interest in that aspect yet.

Yes she has her boyfriend, a charming French guy called Victor but she is not remotely thinking about marriage. She has just got a really well paid job that she really loves. Next September, she is planning to embark on her Masters Degree and then continue to develop her career, buy her own property (eventually) and then at some point, hopefully before she is 30 – marriage and then kids. But right now, she is just a highly independent resourceful young woman who knows her own mind and no amount of mummy-blackmail can move her. So I proceeded into a long sulk and almost drove myself into depression by obsessing over the fact that Lola was leaving home. In fact, I think I even wept at some point. And in spite of my prayers for God to change her mind, she moved into her new self contained apartment last weekend.

I have rather churlishly, refused to speak to her.

My son, who ironically, was the most clingiest of my three, is currently away on holiday with his friends. As soon as he is back, he is off again to Uni. He has been making it clear he will be relocating abroad as soon as his studies in Uni are over….. yeeee, mo gbe!

And so that leaves me with my youngest. The one I call Baronette.

I have been begging, urging and blackmailing her for the past two years in advance, to strongly consider attending the Uni “down the road” so she wouldn’t have to travel too far away.  Actually, what I really mean is so she won’t have to leave home at all. But she once told me “That is an insult, mum”!! How can you expect me to attend a community University? And out of respect to many of my friends whom I know attended that University, I shall not mention the name. The truth is that I totally see her point. But the moment she travels out of London, that will leave just me alone in a big house – all by myself!!!

The thought of that is enough to age any 50-something year old very fast. And I have found myself employing unfair but desperate emotional old-woman blackmail tactics such as “what will happen if I fall down the stairs and there is no one to help me” or “what if I slip in the bath and hit my head” or “what if I get burgled…and raped? on her. Of course, all I get back is “just call the police, mum” or “call the ambulance, mum” or “Stop it, mum. It won’t work”!

The simple fact is that there are many women my age out there who will be experiencing similar emotions. And even the married couples are not immune from these confusing fears. For many married women, there is a stronger closeness with their kids than with their husbands or partners especially in cases where the parents have fallen out of love and grown apart but continue to live together as a married couple.

Some try to rediscover the bond with their husbands and fall in love again after the kids have left home,  but in other cases, unfortunately, the marriage simply irrevocably breaks apart because the absence of the kids from the home, magnifies the cracks that have developed in the marriage for years but have been held precariously together by the presence of the kids.

This, unfortunately is also why you see many women abandon their husband to play baby-sitter or “third-wheel” in their married children’s home. I know of a particular woman in her 60s who leaves her husband behind in Nigeria and tours her kids’ homes from the UK to Canada to different states all over the US – simply because she cannot bear to be under the same roof with her husband! Although of course, the official story is that she is visiting her grand-children. And he could be spending all his time flitting from one hotel room to the other shamelessly shagging every available 30-something year old runs chicks!

So, here I am, only 51, and looking at impending alone-ness right in the eyes! And no grand-kids yet to visit…

When the kids are at home, it is not like we all hurdle together in my bed and share stories – like I did with them when they were little – although, we still did just that a few times in recent years.  We all go out to school or work and return home at different times in the evening. And during the weekends, we also mostly go out separately. Me to my church function or weddings; or awards dinners or birthday parties and they, off with their friends. And when they are home, we each stay within our own quarters and I never venture near their rooms unless I am invited in – and they very seldom visit me in mine except of course when they need something. But at least there is the comforting knowledge that there are others with you in the house.

Sometimes, we all meet up around the chest freezer in the hallway and have a chinwag and a catch up. Or in the girls’ room or kitchen and have passionate excitable discussions on topics ranging from religion to sexual orientation to political correctness to Donald Trump to immigration to Brexit! Many times, these discussions degenerate into heated arguments with them always ganging up against me and disagreeing with my Christian/Conservative/Traditional/Old School opinions. But I do enjoy these “talks” and even though, sometimes they seriously aggravate and infuriate me with their new-age views, I still feel great pride in having kids who are so eloquent and out-spoken and not afraid to express themselves.

Ocassionally, we order pizza and all flop out in front of Netflix; or arrange dates and we all go out for  a movie and dinner and when we return, everyone retires into their own rooms never to be seen again till the following morning.

But at least, everyone knows there is someone else in the house.

But all that is ending now.

Now more freezer meetings.

No more movie and dinner nights.

No more loud discussions and arguments.

No more meet ups in the girls’ room or kitchen.

No more huddling together in mummy’s bed.

I have a lot of friends but very few that I am actually close with…..and I never really developed the habit of going to someone’s house and sitting around endlessly chatting over nothing – and everything.

And even if I attended every church service, or birthday party and wedding in town, at some point I would still have to return home – an empty home!

And I don’t see any of my church people inviting me back home with them…Each will wave “Bye bye, Sister Jummy!” at the end of each service, and return home with their husbands and wives.

And I, to an empty house and another lonely evening in front of Netflix…..?

Lord have mercy!!!!

I just cannot see myself living like that. I will age prematurely!!!

I have to start changing certain things about my life. I have to prepare for the coming years before I die of loneliness in an empty house.

Last week, I did a story about a man who had lain dead and undiscovered in his London room for two weeks before his wife in Ghana alerted UK police to his missing status. It wasn’t until they visited his address that they discovered his body!!!

God forbid bad ting. That, is not my portion in Jesus name!!!!

I will not die of loneliness or boredom. In fact, I reject it – vehemently!!!

I have to win some huge cash prize and take endless cruises round the world…

Or find myself a husband – as soon as possible!!!!!

Please, somebody!! direct me to the nearest Single Elders fellowship….!

 

BJ

 

 

 

 

DEAR PRESIDENT BUHARI, BUILD US HOSPITALS AND SCHOOLS. WE HAVE ENOUGH HOTELS AND CHURCHES

Now that President Buhari has had first hand experience of the great headaches and troubles that can come from leaving the country to receive treatment abroad, he must now make the implementation of quality medical facilities throughout the country his administration’s No 2 priority – after combating serious corruption which is the legacy of Jonathan’s administration.

It is a great shame and a matter of great embarrassment not to talk of massive disgrace that the Head of any nation will stay up to three months (not being sick) receiving medical treatment outside of his own country!!! Can you imagine the Queen of England or even PM Theresa May or indeed any of the UK MPs leaving the country for any amount of time for medical treatment??

President-Mohd-Buhari
President Buhari ?pictured) recently returned to the country after being away in the UK for 3 months receiving medical treatment for an undisclosed condition

Any Nigerian “RICH MAN” boasting that he is travelling abroad for medical check up from now on, should feel highly ashamed to say that out loud and for daring to admit that his country does not have qualified enough doctors or adequate medical centres to treat him.  And such folks must be publicly named and shamed.

This is the 21st century. 2017 for God’s sake!!! but it is most disgraceful that we are yet unable to boast of anything more than jungle class health and medical care! And the few quality ones that do exist are owned by Asians who make money from us and take back to invest in their own country!!

Just when are we going time start using our brains for good instead of on flimsy unnecessary things?

NIGERIA HAS MORE WORLD CLASS EVENT CENTRES, HOTELS AND CHURCHES THAN GOOD SCHOOLS AND HOSPITALS!!!

And when I think of the likes of Ogun State governor Amosun sinking billions into building overhead bridges for none other than cosmetic rather than any terribly practical reasons, I just want to scream!

Just how much wrongly can we place our priorities?

Many ordinary Nigerians would rather self diagnose and self medicate than present themselves to any hospital for many reasons. First being the highly exorbitant and unjustifiable fees charged by these establishments. Secondly, you can never really be sure of the kind of treatment you’re getting or if you’re going to get the right diagnosis. My late dad was for years, misdiagnosed and mistreated for piles by the combined highly unbelievable ignorance of doctors at OSUTH, UCH and LUTH when he was actually in stage 2 rectal cancer. By the time he was eventually correctly diagnosed, he was given 3 years of remaining life span…but he was gone in 3 months!!!

He was only 59.

If there were adequate and reliable diagnosis technicians, my dad might have had a chance. I wanted to bring him over to the UK but my dad had a seriously misplaced trust in the Nigerian medical system and that unfortunately cost him his life.

Many hospitals and so called private establishments you visit are themselves, breeding ground for germs and diseases.  The poor hygiene and sanitation in some healtcare centres will make you choose to stay at home and treat yourself.  And many of the healthcare personnel are just so rude, ignorant, uncaring and downright unfit for the job. You could practically be dying in front of a so called doctor but unless you “cough” up tens of thousands of Naira for a registration card, you are on your own and nobody will administer as little as basic first aid that can save your life on you.

Many Nigerians simply ignore various warning signs to their health rather than face the stress and aggro at the hospital…and by the time they decide to drag themselves down, it is often too late.

And more saddening, many, rather than visit a medical practitioner for adequate and necessary medical attention, will choose to visit their pastor and faith healer for prayers. As a Christian, I have absolute faith in the power of prayers – but I strongly admit that you first and foremost need to visit your doctor who can tell exactly what is wrong with you and what course of action is necessary.  This, is where faith comes to play whereby you pray  that whatever course of medical intervention is prescribed is effective and does what it is expected to do.

Many people have unfortunately lost their lives because they have been wrongly told by a faith healer to stop taking their prescribed medication

 

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University College Hospital (UCH) Ibadan

Nigeria boasts of some of the best Medical Colleges in the world that train highly gifted medical practitioners. But the country lacks the kind of quality establishments these doctors can practice in, which is why hoardes of them leave the country annually to practice where their skills could be best utilised. The UK has an unbelievable number of Nigerian trained doctors, surgeons and consultants working in different  his all overAnd that is a great shame.

According to UNICEF, every single day, Nigeria loses about 2,300 under-five year olds and 145 women of childbearing age. This makes the country the second largest contributor to the under–five and maternal mortality rate in the world.

Underneath the statistics lies the pain of human tragedy, for thousands of families who have lost their children. Even more devastating is the knowledge that, according to recent research, essential interventions reaching women and babies on time would have averted most of these deaths.

In other words these unfortunate deaths are directly attributable to lack of adequate medical intervention caused either by misdiagnosis or delay in seeking medical help due to high fees.

In the early 80s free healthcare was introduced in many states of the country particularly what used to be the Lagos, Oyo, Ogun and Ondo states and these also saw the establishment of State Hospitals where you could attend and receive quality attention for any medical need including maternity care. But these establishments have been pointedly abandoned by subsequent administrations and leaderships and the level of care you can expect to receive at these centres is close to zero. The buildings are old and dilapidated and whatever the quality of staff working there, only have equipment from last century to work with. Not forgetting the lack of electricity and running water.

And if you are unlucky to require treatment with injections, drips or wound dressings, you will need to get them by yourself.  You will hardly find as much as a plaster in any of these “State Hospitals”

And if your condition requires admission to a ward at these hospitals, I’m informed that you will need to bring along your own mattress and pillow – or you end up on the floor  (this is either due to overcrowding or simple lack of beds) and until a member of your family goes out to source for the medication for your treatment including syringes, drips and steriles, you are simply ignored or just left to die!

The embarrassing condition of state hospitals in Nigeria is what gave rise to Private Hospitals run by quacks, but many of these are simply not much better than the state hospitals in that they may prescribe your medication and treat you but these often do not go beyond the humble saline drip, panadol, folic acid, vitamin c and the most common of anti-biotics which are all routinely prescribed for every ailment from malaria to typhoid fever to diabetes at highly exorbitant fees!

The big name, posh building private hospitals in Lagos or other parts of the country are simply posh versions of the small private hospital where the treatment is not much better except you get cleaner waiting and consulting rooms and the nurses speak a bit more politely in better English. many of these have highly sohisticated second hand machines brought in from Europe that have never been installed, have broken down or have no-one who actually knows how to operate them.

We now know that Nigeria is far from being a poor nation. Recent revelations have taught us that. Otherwise, the likes of Patience, Diezani, Dasuki, Yakubu etc would not have been able to lay their hands on such obscene amounts of raw cash! And Saraki and his band of “unarmed robbers” as former President Obasanjo referred to them, would not be able to award themselves such eye-watering salaries and allowances for their part-time or zero-hours job in the Senate!

Such funds like those recently recovered from the political thieves can be entrusted to a Federal Task Force with the responsibility of establishing General Hospitals across the states of the federation, or taking over the old ones and restoring or refurbishing them and stocking them with state of the art amenities and drugs. Private citizens, the civil service and private sector employers could be taxed for the upkeep and use of the services, through obligatory monthly contributions  – a bit like the NHS – and details of beneficiaries uploaded into a central database whereby patients can be easily identified whenever they turn up for medical attention. Anyone turning up for treatment but has not paid into the pot, will pay a higher premium at point of delivery and top up payments required for more serious conditions or surgeries. Of course these will be subsidized by the government so that it is still affordable by ordinary citizens.

I understand that a similar program was launched by the Jonathan administration in 2005 to much fanfare with a 10 year schedule of the achievement of universal coverage. very little surprise, that project has gone down the proverbial pan. The NHIS as it was called, was never properly governed and is staffed by officials who have very little interest in the organisation. The organisation itself has never been accountable to the Nigerian community.

The cost of treating the President in the UK will have run into hundreds of thousands of pounds because the NHS would not have treated him for free. And even if he had gone private, that would not have been cheap at all.

If this huge amount was converted into local currency, just imagine how many malaria treatments or how many hospital beds and properly trained nurses it could have paid for.

And let’s also imagine what a great legacy it will be for President Mohammadu Buhari  – the great revolution of the Nigerian Health System.

Does anyone agree with me?

 

BJ