A Country where “We Die Anyhow”

with Eddy Odivwri

eddy.odivwri@thisdaylive.com   08053069356

Sometimes, until something happens very close to us, we hardly get the import of the complaints about certain shortcomings and social malaises.
I had a need to move a new vehicle back to my home in Delta State. The fellow that usually runs such errands for me was not within reach, forcing me to accept a suggestion from an elder brother to source one from Delta State itself. The driver, in company of a relation soon arrived Lagos. The plan was that they will take the vehicle home next morning.  
Given the enormous space in the vehicle, we decided to move a few things, including some equipment back home. A man who helped to procure those equipment offered to join the duo so he could both install the equipment and undertake some corrective services on previous works done, The man is Mr Sharafa Toriola, a buddy who had worked with me for over 15 years. In the said period, he had more than proved his deep loyalty, honesty and undiluted commitment to my good and progress. He had long become an extended and respected member of my family. An Abeokuta-born man whom I had come to trust even more than some of my blood siblings.
On Wednesday, November 23, Sharafa arrived very early at my home, in his car, preparatory to join the duo who came to pick the vehicle. All three rushed through breakfast and hurried into the vehicle, a van. Sharafa dropped his car key with me, having parked it. “I will pick it on Friday when I return”, he said, with his usual smile as he busied himself with packing his small travel bag which had his work tool as well. He was an electrician.
Not quite an hour after they left, he called me on phone to say the battery of the new vehicle had ceased to work , causing the engine to go off. I was curious why a battery which had never shown sign of weakness would suddenly fail. But Sharafa was determined, as usual, to quickly find a solution. “ Shall I quickly buy a new battery?’, he asked. I enquired if he had as much money on him, to which he said yes. “Ok, then”, I  told him, still wondering, under my breath, why the battery failed. Pronto, he bought another battery and the journey continued.
About two hours later, my phone rang again. It was the number of one of the two who came from Delta State. I thought it was to give an update of how far they had gone. I was wrong. Some strange voice was on the other end. In a rough and rushed voice production, he announced that there was an accident. His voice was as clumsy as his message. He managed to indicate the location of the accident: some two minutes drive from the Redemption Camp, along Lagos-Ibadan express way. Pronto, in the company of a friend, I dashed off, driving as fast as the Lagos traffic could allow, with a good deal of tension and apprehension; trying intermittently to call all the lines of the three persons, with little or no success.
We soon got to the accident scene and saw all the goods carried spilled on the road side. One of the trio had some injury, but was stable. Sharafa had been rushed to the Olabisi Onabanjo Teaching Hospital, Shagamu, about 15-minutes drive away, from the scene of accident, having had a deep cut on his right arm.
Eyewitnesses explained that another car, a Black Highlander SUV, driven by a 40-year old man, had lost control and in attempt to regain control of the car, rammed into our vehicle, causing the latter to tip off the road and summersaulted three times, ending up in a ditch. There was plenty of blood both in the vehicle’s cabin and on the ground.
The driver of my vehicle rushed Sharafa to the hospital in the vehicle of the man who caused the accident. They stopped over at the Federal Road Safety Corps’s Accident and Emergency Office at the Shagamu Interchange, for possible First Aid treatment, since Sharafa was bleeding profusely. Sadly, there was not even a drop of iodine or cotton wool at the “Accident and Emergency” outpost of the FRSC! But they had an ambulance (without any first aid whatsoever) with which Sharafa was rushed to the hospital.  What kind of Highway safety outfit would not have anything whatsoever to attend to an accident victim? Were these not some of the changes we expected with the Buhari government?  The bleeding continued. At the “Teaching” hospital, they insisted on registration before treatment. Eager to save his life, it was quickly paid (N7,000).
The nurses soon realised that he had lost so much blood, and would need blood transfusion. But the blood bank was empty, prompting the hospital officials to ask those who rushed Sharafa to the hospital to go and donate blood. Again, they willingly did. But they said, understandably, that the blood has to be screened. While that was going on, the hemorrhage continued. The fellow was now gasping. They suddenly rolled in the Oxygen machine, only to realize, also that it had no gas. They tasked those around the victim to bring money (N4,000) to go and buy gas. In all these, two critical hours had passed. There were no signs of being in a hurry, even though it was in an “Emergency Unit” in a TEACHING HOSPITAL. How can a teaching hospital not have gas in its Oxygen machine? Is it only one oxygen machine they have?  What are they possibly teaching the medical students there? Human lives mean very little to them. The attitude was lousy, slow, morbid and wickedly indifferent.
And while they rolled their bums and fluttered about with criminal negligence, Sharafa drew his last breath. And Sharafa died! It is a deep cut. I wept like never before. With prime and prompt attention Sharafa could have been saved.
Painful as that was, two other incidents made it    even more annoyingly painful. We came for the body the next day and applied for the Death Certificate. There was some reluctance in issuing it. One of the nurses who had shown some faint flashes of humanity in her had tried to assist by persuading the female doctor, Dr Yomi-Adebanjo, who certified Sharafa dead, to issue it. The doctor was to retort, with noticeable ghoulish callousness, “what does an electrician need dead certificate for?” OMG! I made to challenge that silly and thoughtless comment and ask if Death Certificate was issuable only to the Big men and Big women or the nobles of the society, but the nurse gave an eye contact that pleaded for quiet.
The other incident was getting the body released from the terribly smelly mortuary. The attendant who registered the corpse the day before, insisted that we brought, among other documents, a court affidavit showing that indeed, the person died. I could not entertain such stupidity anymore. A corpse is in your custody and you demand that we prove, with a court affidavit, that the person is dead??? Such slavish indiscretion! He saw my eyes. I did not make two sentences before he released the body.
I bemoaned my fate to a doctor-friend who condemned the I-don’t-care attitude of many health personnel in public hospitals, and noted that it is such criminal acts of professional negligence that “make people die anyhow in this country”.
Gosh, Sharafa died. A trusted and honest man left, just like that. Who can question God? Even though we are perplexed, the Holy Book, enjoins us to yet give thanks “in all things”. Yes, It could be worse. What if, for instance, all three died? Sharafa, my man, ally and friend, sleep peaceably!
Much Ado About  a Budget
Next Wednesday, President Muhammadu Buhari will present the 2017 fiscal budget. Budget presentation, over the years, has become an annual economic ritual which, these days, mean very little to the ordinary man on the street. I must confess that I am not aware that the 2016 budget is running. Aside the payment of the salary of civil servants and government appointees, I have not seen the effect of the 2016 budget anywhere. I had assumed the executive and the legislature were still trying to resolve the padding issue as alleged by the suspended Hon Abdulmumin  Jibrin. I did not know that all the allegations have been pushed under the carpet and they had moved on. So with the year having just a few days to go, what can Senator Udo Udoma, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, say the 2016 budget has achieved? Or was the budget ruined and made worthless because of the padding saga that nearly drowned it?  In no state was the school feeding scheme undertaken, except Kaduna State which has also suspended it.  The employment of graduates has remained a mere announcement. The list of the less than 10,000 recruited policemen was just released three days ago. Many more people lost their jobs during the year.  I can’t remember anything tangible that I can credit the 2016 budget with. Not even the rail expansion scheme, which in the main, are projects being sponsored by the Chinese companies handling them. Electricity supply is yet dismal. Highway roads are yet a killing field. Life and living have become a few notches tougher. Pray, who can tell me the effect of the 2016 budget?
That is why I urge Mr President to make the 2017 budget a people-friendly budget where the impacts thereof can and will be felt by all and sundry.
Tinubu at The Cross Road?
So what is the latest on this MPP?
MPP? What’s that?
Have you not been following what’s trending on the political scene? Are you not aware of the Mega Party Project (MPP) being floated by some political overlords from across board?
(pouting his lipsUgh, don’t believe too many things about politicians. The talk about mega party will be a mirage. I don’t see it working out. Too many strange fellows with different motivations and spirits. It will scatter before they ever plan to gather. I can assure you that the configuration of what is being planned will never have its centre holding. It will be another things fall apart.
You never can be too sure. That is what people also said of the APC. That the clashing ambitions of its chieftains will not make it realizable. But look it at it today. It is sitting cool controlling the government at the centre and in over 22 states of the federation.
How cool is this control? If it is that cool, there won’t be talks about mega party in less than two years of wresting power from the PDP.
And I think it is the greed of some politicians that is causing the crisis of confidence presently rocking the APC.
Did you say greed? Those in the know say that the sharing formulae in the APC has not been fair. That it is not commensurate with the amount of work done to birth the party. So, I will rather say inequitable sharing model, than greed, as the reason for the discontent within the party.
I do not agree with you. Some people believe they own and control the heart of the party and so should dictate its heartbeat. People like Bola Tinubu think they are theraison d’etre of the APC and so should be its Alpha and Omega.
You are not being fair to the Jagaban. Without him the APC would not be in power today. He reined-in the entire south west for the party. And he has inter-regional influence in galvanizing support for the party. Don’t forget that until Buhari partnered him in his presidential bid, he (Buhari) never succeeded. So it is not out of place to credit Tinubu with holding the longer ace of the party.
Hmmm, and for his role, he has been richly rewarded. Don’t forget he nominated the number two citizen (Prof Yemi Osinbajo). Don’t forget he brought the man in charge of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) (Mr  Tunde Fowler). He produced many of the ministers from the South West region. He almost also produced the senate president and the Speaker of the House of Reps. So what else does he want? Didn’t other people also contribute hugely to the party formation and strength?  Do you know Atiku Abubakar’s contribution? What did he get, save that sub spokesman position to Mr President—Garba Shehu? Do you know the depth of involvement of people like Rotimi Amaechi, who also served as the Director of Campaigns? What did he get save the Transporation ministry as Minister?
Be sure of your facts. Tinubu did not produce many of the South west ministers. He is actually flapping on a dry sand like a fish doped out of the deep. The South west ministers are not loyal to him. Many of them have their own minds and masters. Even within the party organogram, he is given the short end of the stick. Even the national party chairman , John Oyegun is beefing Tinubu and wants to contain his influence. That is why the party refused to allow James Faleke assume Abubakar Audu’s mandate. Because they feel Tinubu should concern himself with Southwest and not more. That is why Mr Abraham, Tinubu’s preferred choice in the Ondo APC gubernatorial race was wangled out of reckoning. They want to clip Tinubu’s wings and influence. Which wise politician worth his salt will allow political Buccaneers to cage him like that? He is barely in control of any lever of government. That is his frustration and that is why the talk about exploring new platforms.
But he has denied that he is planning to form another party stating that he is eternally loyal and dedicated to the APC and its ideologies. You mean he is deceiving the public?
What did you expect him to say? That yes, he is forming another party, more than two years to the 2019 general election? That would be the height of naivety. I can tell you he is at a cross road with the APC. He is weighing all the options right now and would strike decisively at the most auspicious time. Trust me!
That would mark the beginning of his end in politics. He must learn to live and let live in politics. He cannot have it all his way all the time.