Letter to Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors
There is a crisis of the draft of understanding between the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) and our deceitful central government. By the way, NARD harbour the largest number of doctors in our universities’ hospitals (and allied tertiary hospitals). Because the central government’s “negotiation” team indeed has been to our doctors what we cannot but understand it to mean, in the language of death that plagues the land, I decided to forego what I earmarked for this column today. If I must state it here now, I was going to present for posterity the topic “Treasure King of Warri” to express my thoughts without a lot of metaphors and imprecise images and pictures to capture what happened last Saturday, 21 August, 2021 at Ode-Itsekiri – Itsekiri-Olu (Big Warri) of the ever glorious and ever immaculate Itsekiri people who put a new crown on the divine head of their newest monarch on that gloriously artisitc Saturday. In regard to the classical strike action of our medical doctors I put on hold the divinely superlative merit of coronation of the superlative Itsekiris. Even if I don’t eventually go back to it on account of the many, many exigencies in the land, this dreadful land, the point must have been well tendered indeed with this little but pointed remark relating to that event of events.
As I was ready to pen this letter after toying with the spirit of Itsekiri classical taste that I was inspired to decorate on this page, I received two pertinent posts on my WhatsApp which drained water from my eyes. Members of NARD and all our medical doctors and all our patriotic compatriots should discover them here now. The first post: “A bad system doesn’t appear wrong to those who benefit from it. They do everything to defend it, to the detriment of [the] larger society.” The second post: “We need leaders not in love with money but in love with justice. ‘Not in love with publicity but with humanity.’” This second quotation, the words contained therein, are Dr. Martin Luther King’s. Of course, Martin Luther King is/was the author of the highly popular “I Have a Dream” speech, which, among other things, we rightly can interpret as a moral as well as a political-cum-social subject of character confined to the description of every individaul in power – political power especially.
The latest strike of our resident doctors has more than demonstrated the correctness of this observation. And our doctors are very much aware of this. Why should they not fight for their rights in the manner that they have done or that they are doing? We must endorse their actions. And this column endorses all that they have done so far to draw our attention to their plight in this country where those who lead or claim to lead are not ready to get rid of themselves and their iniquitous policies against us all. The doctors must stay put in their trenches, the trenches of their just battle and war. There will be betrayals as they will be betrayed from even among their own rank and file. But their leaders must remain on course and never allow the glimpses of their enlightened pursuit elude them. Our country’s medical facts are things that we must support and encourage our doctors to exhume from the endeavours of impossibility. Let the bad ones in government, power and authority do as they please, sooner or later their political and authoritarian feats would end up as objects of their misfortune. Their poltiics and authority of arrogance will die. Their politics and authority of ill-will will die. Their politics and authority of wickedness will die. Their politics and authority of despotism will consume them.
Doctors, defend your humanism and profession with great illusions and much hope for ultimate victory against the inhuman forces sitting on the heads of all. Let some so-called civil rights organisation of shameless shame and court of justice that is not court of justice throb and throttle the heart of justice to an untoward end which their paymasters desire, they don’t own you and they will never own you. You are special and belong to the crème de la crème of our professions – despite all the do’s and don’ts of those who pretend to be our power elite and aristocracy, hollow men enjoying plum positions. Some of them who belong to the medical profession, but are now in prime positions of where they are now doing as they please are the worst examples of those who should not have gone to medical schools anywhere in the world.
A video of a good chunk of the cream sherry of the crème de la crème of medical doctors who in their professional hearts are leaving and about to leave your country my country our country is shining compassionately on my phone. A particular doctor, a hollow man to the letter, in government doesn’t care a fig for what the exodus will do to our health sector. What a country of our new and modern national health culture run by idiots!
The Guardian of Tuesday, August 24, that is, three days ago, reported the pitiable treatment our resident doctors are getting from this central government. The report ran from the cover page to pages two and nine. I called and still call it the narrative of an ambush by one arrogant party of “disdainful, stone-hearted rulers, “ to quote one of my readers (from the message he sent me recently). The concealed position of the government’s attack launchers meant (and still means) nothing to NARD president, Okhuaihesuyi and his members who are finding the “situation constraining.” But that has been our condition since this central government came on board. Even the courts it is using and intimidating and cajoling to do many of its dirty jobs are getting drained and want to get out of the central government’s ample scale. If only our peerless medical doctors can hold on a little more, they will be peerless in every sense of the term as ASUU – Academic Staff Union of Universities (boiling for another strike). But this statement may be good enough for the figment of my imagination.
But I must ask this question: If the government means well, why will it take its team to keep on “negotiating” ad-in-finitum with our doctors (and other professional groups it has been playing hide-and-seek game with)? What does it take the cajolers to end their cajolery? Perhaps, at the end of the day, our doctors should pay the cajolers in their own coins cajolingly. How effective or solid will this option be? Only our doctors can answer this question. But the president of NARD must do what he must do to end the disease of betrayal which their positively, corretively, stubborn action must treat and cure for good – for the sake of every aspect of our depressing health culture that I am certain is making Professor Olikoye Ransome-Kuti turn in his grave. Professional solidarity must be sustained to get us out of our medical woes and woods. Or am I planting trees in Sambisa Forest that will grow no woods any more? Answer me, O compatriots and our dear, dear peerless medical doctors of your country my country our country!
Afejuku can be reached via 08055213059.
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