One of the campaign promises of this administration under President Muhammadu Buhari, six years ago was to discourage Nigerians from seeking medical solutions abroad and this he said was to stop capital flight that was associated with the previous government, with the assurance that the health sector in Nigeria would be resuscitated to world class standard. It’s therefore an irony that six years in the life of this regime, the health sector is yet to find its bearing and has since remained comatose, worse than what it was during the previous government of GoodLuck Ebele Jonathan. The first Lady, Dr. Aisha Buhari at one time raised the alarm that, there were no drugs in the Aso Villa Clinic and therefore queried where and how the budgetary allocation meant for the Clinic goes to if the hospital meant to cater for the president and his family cannot boast of common drugs.
Unfortunately, since that discovery was made, no one has been brought to book neither was anyone sacked, meaning that corruption is fighting back if it’s not paddy-paddy government, whereby some people have become untouchable even when we assume that government is fighting corruption. The President has many times reneged on his campaign promises, not one, not two but several electoral promises prior to the 2015 elections, especially as it affects medical tourism which he promised to bring under control, if not total eradication amongst Nigerian elites but alas, Nigeria still tops the list of countries in Africa whose leader goes abroad in search of medical cure whereas there are qualified medical doctors better than where he goes to spend the wealth of the nation. Just few days ago, it was made public through the President’s handlers that the President would travel to the United Kingdom (UK), to seek for medical attention and that the president would return in the second week of April.
At the President’s age, no one would advise he should not go for medical checkup but the problem here is: why can’t the leadership of this government fix the hospitals here in Nigeria or at least have one that is of international standard and save the President the harrowing experience of travelling long hours in search of medical attention? The medical vacation of the President came at a time the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), the umbrella body of Resident Doctors in Nigeria announced their resolve to embark on nationwide strike owing to what they called poor condition of service and non- payment of allowances and other sundry benefits by the government.
The problem of the Resident Doctors with the government has been on for quite some time and has remained in the news and because the political class have an alternative and can afford to travel abroad at will for treatments, speaks volume why the government has failed to address genuine issues raised by the Doctors and the myriads of problems bedeviling the medical sector. In Comparison, the iconic Nelson Mandela the legendary South African President of blessed memory, at no time did he go for medical treatment outside South Africa; even in his later years when he was seriously sick until he passed on in 2013 at the age of 95 years. That was made possible because the government ensured that, the health sector in South Africa is given priority in budgetary allocation and policy implementation which is nonexistent in Nigeria.
The Coronavirus pandemic in many respects has taught the world some bitter and hard lessons especially those in the field of medical science in which case countries have gone to the drawing board to improve their medical sector which is different from what we have in our clime whereby everything is politicised, even human lives. For the fact that institutions in Europe and America and other places are developing vaccines and finding solutions to Coronavirus to save the lives of their citizens, while we wait for donor agencies for our own supply of the Coronavirus vaccine means that something is amiss, meaning that we should do more work as a country. The expectation ideally is for the leaders to look inwards and put the country on the right path of growth and development.
The agitations almost everywhere in the country is because things are not right at all, and people have come to the realization that the political leaders are not there for everyone but for themselves, their cronies and families. We call on the leadership of this administration to come up with workable plans that can revamp and equip the hospitals across the country to save Nigeria from being a laughing stock. We also demand that the government should look into the demands of the Resident Doctors to avert yet another looming strike that may compound the already fragile state of the health sector and those on admission already across board.