Friday, January 22, 2010


The mother of all First Ladies in Nigeria is gone at the prime age of 61. On reading the Press release by her surviving husband, my heart aches and my memory of true modern Nigerian First Lady, popularized by Maryam remained alive. Whatever anyone would say, the ever radiant late wife of the ‘first Military-President’ vividly brought to mind what a first Lady should actually look like in Nigeria.
My message to her surviving husband and children will be to take heart; she might have gone too early, her legacy lives on. With all those pet projects she started and left behind, Nigerians would forever be thankful for her fulfilled life. May her soul rest in perfect peace. Amen.
But wait a minute, why do we have to continue this way? Yesterday, Markama of Bida, Alhaji Shehu Musa, may the Lord bless his soul, died in London, President Y’aradua is on his sick bed in Saudi Arabia and Yemisi is seeking exist visa to come to Dr. Ilupeju in Maryland, USA, to resolve a complicated fibroid surgical intervention.
For God sake, there are hundreds of skilled Nigerian Doctors with competitive edge and knowledge among world re-owned Medical and Dental Surgeons!
All we are saying is for Nigeria to provide the suitable environment with the State-of-the art equipments to enable these health providers to practice their trades. What a wonderful country Nigeria would become if one or two capable rich Nigerians could help to establish a befitting hospital like John Hopkins Hospital run by private donations and capable of treating many ailments or a city run hospital like Lincoln Hospital in New York.
What do they have or do in these hospitals that Nigerians cannot do? Well, the hospitals are well staffed, they have updated State-of-the-art equipments with constant security and maintenance in extra ordinary clean environments, streams of cash flow from blessed individuals and government – Federal, States and Cities; as well as renovated wards with homely environments and good salaried artisans who sometimes earned more than Doctors in some cases depending on length of service.
A friend went to visit one of the hospitals recently and came out very aghast after seeing robots serving patients in their rooms! He was even more surprised when he learned that most of the surgeries are now performed by Robots.
For so many years now, we have had well disciplined and trained Armed Forces Personnel for peace and war. In other countries military hospitals trained and employed the very best of their citizens to work in their hospitals. Equipments, ordinarily not seen in private hospitals, probably because of their astronomical cost, are found in these hospitals. Hence, the Presidents, Vice Presidents and Government Officials are treated in these hospitals. But with good insurance one can get the best treatment if desired in any hospital.
On occasion, specialists will be flown in from any part of the nation or the world to complement the skills of Doctors already in these hospitals. When you hear that the worst injured soldier has been brought in from the theater of war, you immediately conclude the best hands and adjuncts of medicine are waiting to bring injured ones back to life. Even the enemies and innocent people with collateral injuries are flown in to reap the benefit of modern medicine.
When the current Secretary of State of America, Madam Secretary Hillary Clinton laments on the short-sightedness of our past Government Officials in not establishing several refineries in a country blessed with the sweetest crude oil; some selfish, visionless individuals murmured for her to keep to diplomatic utterances. With perennial fuel scarcity, economic destruction and life threatening situations, one has to be diplomatic in asking VP Jonathan and Rilwamu Lukeman ‘whose Government is it?’ Nigerians, Jonathan or Lukeman?
Perhaps it will not be too much to see the newly signed oil contract with China or any other country doing oil business with Nigeria to see if there is a clause demanding that China provide us with crude oil refineries. What has diplomacy got to do with that? How on earth can we justify that we got Independence since October 1960 and yet our current President and the late world-class first lady had to be flown out for medical treatment abroad!
Don’t get me wrong, the President or any average Nigerian for that matter deserves the best medical treatment that the world can offer. However, what prevents us to have established the best hospital in the world, that might run either on solar voltaic cell energy or wind harnessed electricity and taking care of our own right here in Nigeria?
In the memory of Maryam Babangida, let us rethink, if we can ever think, and act on our priorities to do the right thing. May her soul continue to rest in perfect peace and may Allah comfort her family. Amen

By Olatunji Almaroof, DDS (U.S.A)

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