Friday, May 26, 2017

Ivie Omoregie: Government Officials & Their Families Must Not Die In Nigerian Hospitals… Just The Masses

By Ivie Omoregie

Sometime last year I wrote a brief article on the issue of getting medical attention abroad, and to my surprise it got a lot of mixed opinions.

It was something I felt strongly about; some people called it “a simplistic approach to the intricate problems of the nation”. But I firmly believe that sometimes when you keep things stupidly simple, a lot of unnecessary bureaucracy is avoided. And even if the change is not as radical as intended, any kind of positive change must surely be better than what we have now.

For many decades, we have seen State Governors and Presidents not having stepped foot into hospitals or schools for which they are directly responsible. Fundamentally, I cannot understand why people who are vicariously liable for the state of the nation’s health and educational institutions, are not mandated to make proper use of same.

At one point I even reached out to a Senator loved by many, because of the “common sense” he seemingly displays in difficult situations. I actually pitched the idea to him, thinking maybe he would empathize with the general population and jump on board. To my surprise his response to me was:
No, no, no that cannot work…. DO YOU WANT MY WIFE TO DIE

When he said this, I was speechless and immediately thought of all the mothers who continue to die like chickens because of inadequate and sub-standard health care.
I write this article amid claims that President Muhammadu Buhari is dead, having travelled to the UK to seek further medical treatment for an undisclosed ailment.

Some weeks ago Mrs. Aisha Buhari took to her Twitter handle to announce, “his health is not as bad as being perceived”. From this statement the lawyer in me could not help but conclude that his health situation is bad… but merely not as bad… as being perceived.

If we can recall, earlier this year Mr. President was away from January 23rd to March 10, now he has taken “indefinite sick leave” and travelled yet again for further treatment. Anyone who has ever been in paid employment knows that “indefinite sick leave” is a serious thing, and if placed in the same situation most structured organizations will swiftly look for a replacement for the said employee.
Unfortunately in a country where elected officials travel abroad for influenza, it is now difficult to know who is travelling for an ailment that is life threatening and who is travelling for a general health check up.

Also it is quite scary to think that in a country with such talented medical doctors and with money not being an issue, Mr. President could not find a health professional amongst the nation’s 180 million population to care for him.

I am not even saying he must use existing facilities; he has the power and financial capabilities to transform any of the nation’s existing facilities, into a world class organization in the blink of an eye, bringing in the best practitioners and equipment (at the same time training and transferring knowledge to local practitioners)… yet he chooses to take his money to enrich foreign institutions.
Many people have compared our current situation to the when Yaradua was “sick” and the country was being run by unknown persons, for quite some time. If Mr. President had been treated in Abuja National Hospital, it would be easier for interested persons to decipher the true state of his condition, obviously not in detail, but at least to know whether the man was dead or alive.

So once again I cannot help but ponder…

“How different would Nigeria be right now… if all elected officials, and their immediate families, were mandated to receive medical care and undergrad education in Nigeria? Just like the average Nigerian citizen”.

About Ivie Omoregie

Ivie is an Energy and Project Finance lawyer with one of West Africa's highest ranking law firms. Qualified to Practice and with several years working experience in England and Nigeria, Ivie has a keen interest in projects and transactions within the Sub Saharan African region. Ivie is also an active member of the Nigerian Bar Association as well as an avid woman's and children's rights promoter.