6 December 2017

Nigeria: Of Excuses, Media Aides and Others


IT is no longer news that this government was ushered in with a lot of expectations, as the previous one fell far below standard. The people voted out the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP government that had failed to fashion out a way out of the myriads of problems confronting the nation. Not quite long after the All Progressive Congress, APC government took over, the excuses for their inability to perform began to manifest, mainly attributed to the previous PDP government.

I knew that this government will not go far on its promises to the people. My fore sight is based on the premise that, the position you end up with in a race depends on your manner of take-off. President Mangufuli of Tanzania took only one month to impact the medical sector in his country by suspending foreign wasteful official trips and redirecting the fund to upgrading the government hospital.

We have discovered and are still discovering stolen money in all manner of places in Nigeria - sceptic pits, abandoned shops, etc. Why can't this money be used for specific and generally identifiable projects? That way, stories about diversion of recovered loots will be put to rest. It is possible to do, with the right will and the elimination of those with criminal tendencies in government.

How can the present administration blame the past government for the absence of basic amenities in the State House hospital, when it has been in office for over two years and funds have yearly been budgeted for that institution? It is even more embarrassing, given the delicate state of the President's health in recent times. The wife complained openly, that they are erecting structures while basic health requirements are lacking. The daughter echoed the same sentiment and till date, we have not seen any step taken to remedy the situation.

The question to ask is this; what have they done with the money budgeted for the State House or National hospital these past two years? It is not acceptable to come up with excuses like the President's media aides are doing presently, for the non availability of basic amenities in the National hospital and to continue to hold the previous government responsible for this failure. Why should they keep referring to the past as the reason for their inability to perform? Is that not why they were elected in the first place? To correct the ills of the past? We must learn from our past, but if we are to make progress, we must forget about the past and stay focused on the present and the future. Excuses do not get things done or bring results, they are only palliatives to detract inquisitive minds in the short run, but if we must go far, we must let performance speak for us.

If we do not squarely face the challenges and keep finding excuses to give to the people for lack of performance, failure is only few steps away. This is a general principle. It is not limited to politics alone, the only difference is that, in politics one can use different instruments of propaganda and intimidation to deceive and manipulate the people but at the end, the result will surely show.

Politics in Nigeria has become a zero sum game, where the winner gains at the expense of the loser, whereas, the ideal situation is for all to benefit when the better candidate wins an election. In today's Nigeria, the losers must stay buried and not talk or complain, the victory has made them to become arrogant and over drunk with power to properly channel it's use. Nobody demonstrates this better than the two men who have been saddled with the media arm of the presidency - Messrs Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu.

We thought we had seen it all when we heard that rats prevented the President from using his office on his return from medical tourism abroad, until Femi came up with the bizarre excuse that the President had to go abroad for treatment because of the past government. What will it cost this government to put in place a first class medical facility in Abuja? How long will it take to make this a reality? I believe it is a matter of priority and focus, no country can claim to be independent when the survival of her President is in the hands of foreigners. No country can claim to be independent if basic medical requirements are not readily available to its citizens. It is a big embarrassment in this age (21st century) and time for a country to be totally dependent on foreigners for its healthcare needs. What bleeds the heart is that it is not as though we do not have capable hands to do this but the lack of attention given by successive governments is the problem.

We learnt that in the past, Saudi royals came to University College Hospital, UCH Ibadan for medical check ups but today the reverse is the case. The challenge is priority and focus. Have we considered the chunk of our foreign exchange that is going down the drain in the name of medical tourism, to countries like India, South Africa, Europe and others?

Will it not be more beneficial to us to put our medical facilities in tip top shape, so our doctors will not have to move over to foreign lands at the slightest opportunity? If only the Buhari administration can do something about it. His wife has cried out and the daughter has echoed it, it will be a very good legacy for him to leave behind for Nigerians.

For now, it will be better for President Buhari's media aides to keep quiet when they have no reasonable excuse to give over certain actions of government. It is wisdom to be quiet sometimes instead of making comments to please the (Mr. President) boss. Nigerians are getting tired of this. They should be reminded that no condition is permanent.


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