When Government Calls for Trouble

Abike Dabiri

Lekan Fatodu

Countless of unfulfilled promises have made successive governments in Nigeria seriously unbelievable and undependable in the eyes of the public.

But contrary to conventional wisdom, the unfavourable perception seems not compelling enough to dissuade government and its officials from making sweeping statements and offering bewildering pledges.

Perhaps the frantic public outrage that greeted the recent call to Nigerians in Diaspora to return home by Ms Abike Dabiri, the senior special adviser to President Buhari on Diaspora and Foreign Affairs, could be the beginning of practical wisdom and its application.

Certainly, Abike couldn’t have imagined that her statement which, no doubt, is a patriotic call, would attract such backlash from Nigerians.

The president’s adviser had at the Nigeria Health Watch conference called on Nigerians healthcare professionals in diaspora to come back to help strengthen Nigeria’s health system.

“We are relying on Nigerian healthcare givers that have gained landmark in other countries to come back home and strengthen our healthcare system,” she said.

But this, quite understandably, didn’t go down well with many Nigerians especially those on social media platforms who, in reaction, rose to angrily ventilate and lambast the Nigerian government and its representative.

“Insensitive lot. Now they are calling on Nigerian doctors and health givers who reside in different countries to return to help them fix the problems that were evidently caused by bad leadership and greedy government officials. They make careless calls and promises without any consideration for sensibilities and reasoning. The bitter truth is no reasonable Nigerian health giver abroad will return home without ensuring there’s adequate provision for their welfare, working environment and supporting personnel”, Fola Adigun, a Nigerian living in Australia posted on Facebook.

Also reacting to the call, Florence Okoro, a Nigerian nurse in the UK said the Nigerian government needs to empower and support many talented health practitioners at home before calling for those abroad.

She said: “Instead of the government to increase efforts to provide necessary incentives and get the doctors, nurses and other health workers in Nigeria seriously motivated, they are bothering on those abroad as if the government was sleeping when many of these competent hands were leaving the country out of frustration and hardship. The government needs to wake up to the fact that there’s a new wave of exodus of professional Nigerians with a lot of health givers in the mix. And this unfortunate development will not only further damage Nigeria’s health system, but also terribly impact badly on other critical sectors of the economy”.

Frankly, this is the wake-up call the Nigerian government needs to yield to. One can however only hope it responds positively this time.