Saturday THE ALTERNATIVE
By Reno Omokri
Let me ask a question: Is Nigeria not ashamed that when the BBC decided to do a story on why South Africa’s health minister feels that African leaders should be ashamed for going outside the continent for health care, they used the picture of our President?
Think about it for a minute. Our President is now (at least in the eyes of the BBC) the poster boy for Presidential medical tourism.
This is so sad particularly when you consider the fact (yes, a historical fact) that in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, the Saudi Royal Family use to fly to Nigeria to receive medical care at the University College Hospital Ibadan!
And it is not as if Nigeria lacks the manpower to staff a vibrant health sector. If we are really serious about it, we can build our health care system by repatriating our medical personnel abroad.
There are 26,000 Nigerian medical doctors practicing in the United States alone. 77% of ALL black doctors in America are of Nigerian origin. Fact.
And this fact is replicated in several other Western and Middle Eastern nations like the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia (where another former Nigerian President went for health tourism).
And the thing is that our government is not acting smart. We should be working with Nigerian diaspora organisations like NIDO (Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation) to get a database of Nigerian professionals abroad and working with them to provide them the enabling environment that will entice them to return home.
But rather than do this, the priority of our government is to order the Nigerian military to monitor the social media accounts of Nigerian citizens for “anti-government” comments.
Can you imagine that!
A President who accesses his healthcare in the U.K, who schools his children in the U.K, whose wife shops in the U.K, is searching for anti-Nigerian comments on social media? Does he not know that he himself is the epitome of anti-Nigerianness?
The shame of a nation is briefly summarised in these bullet points.
* a President treated in UK
* His kids schooling in UK
* His wife shopping in UK
* But the country he governs is NIGERIA!
But look at me talking about shame when the person who should be ashamed or not even ashamed and instead he was taunting Nigerians living in London for having the audacity to demonstrate against him!
That President Buhari asked them to also come home shows that he does not understand the finer points of Presidential etiquette. You are asking your citizens in the U.K. to come home when your own children are, as we speak schooling in that same U.K. How hypocritical, how petty can a President get? First repatriate your own children before you tell other people’s children to return home!
And it is quite evident that President Buhari has no shame because only a shameless leader would have declared that he is ‘satisfied with the state of the Nigerian economy’!
We are experiencing a third quarter of negative growth and are World renowned to be in recession and the man who should lead us out of it declares to the nation that he is SATISFIED with the state of our economy!
That’s just like bringing a report card of failure back home to your dad and he tells you that he is satisfied with your performance! No wonder this All Progressives Congress government of Muhammadu Buhari reduced the cut-off marks for admission into Nigerian universities! They are comfortable with failure.
How did we get here?
Our population is growing at 2.9%, by far faster than our economy which grew at -1.5% last year and our President is ‘satisfied’ with the economy’?
We have an economy that is the largest grower of cassava in the whole world, yet we still spend over a billion dollars importing ethanol and industrial starch, both of which can be made from cassava which is their chief ingredient.
We have an economy with 10.5 million out-of-school children with the majority of them roaming the streets of Northern Nigeria with their begging bowls and the man who is tasked with changing that says he is satisfied with the status quo!
Do you now see the reason why the BBC would make him their poster joy for shame!
And then we turn on the television and see that the President has gone home to Katsina to celebrate Eid-el-Kabir.
Well nothing wrong with that only that if I were President Buhari, with the massive flooding now ravaging Benue State, I would have made a stopover there on my way to Daura!
The ongoing flooding in Benue is of epic proportions. Lives have been lost, property damaged and livelihoods disrupted. Can you imagine how encouraged the people of Benue would have been if the President had only made a stopover. I mean Benue is on his way and only 40 minutes by air from Abuja.
America is currently experiencing flooding in Texas as a result of the record rainfalls unleashed by Hurricane Harvey and President Trump went there as he should.
What am I even talking about? Someone that cannot even visit the hundreds of thousands of Internally Displaced Persons in Maiduguri, is it ordinary flood victims he will visit?
And the funny thing is that President Muhammadu Buhari’s supporters would go on social media to express outrage at a man like Trump who has given America the lowest unemployment rate in sixteen years and the best stock market improvement ever. The Dow Jones industrial average crossed the 22,000 mark for the first time on August 2, 2017.
The irony of it is that President Trump says he is still not satisfied with the American economy which has just been announced to be enjoying a 3% GDP growth rate in Trump’s second quarter as President.
In any case, while he is at Daura, I hope the President would take some time to engage in some sober reflection and soul searching in order to figure out why he is so acutely aware of the failings of others and blind to his own failings.
For one, it is an insult for a President Muhammadu Buhari, who addressed the nation in Hausa, a sectional language, to lecture me on unity. President Buhari lacks the moral authority! He is the most divisive leader ever. How can a man who said, “The constituents who gave me 97% cannot in all honesty be treated on some issues with constituencies that gave me 5%” be lecturing me on unity? I should be the one lecturing him not vice versa. It is like satan lecturing me on salvation. If every Nigerian is intimidated by President Buhari and cannot speak the truth to his power, Reno Omokri will never ever be intimidated!
And finally, based on the above, if I were asked to rate President Buhari’s two years in office, I would say it has been:
c. Full of wRATh
d. RATher dull, or
Jesus fed thousands in the congregation and paid His disciples’ taxes, but today, thousands of the congregation in the modern church feed their pastors and pay their bills. There is a mass hypnosis performed on gullible millions who follow church doctrines rather than scriptural teachings. Somehow these teachings, particularly in the Pentecostal arena, seem to center on prosperity. Let me give you an example: Six days ago, it was Sunday. In your church, did the congregation pray for the victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas or the mudslide victims in Sierra Leone, the typhoon victims in Indonesia or IDPs and victims of herdsmen in Nigeria? Probably not. But did they pray for prosperity and against enemies, probably yes. Voila! The modern church for you!
Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven-Psalm 85:11.