Mr. President, you are fully aware of the deeply
held culture of indifference that filters
through our public institutions and especially,
The psychological and cultural realities of the
Nigerian institutions are not strange to you and
should not therefore, be much of a surprise to
As you know, Nigeria’s institutions are
degenerating and wallowing in corruption, while
religious and ethnic strife are a threat to good
administrative governance and public sanity.
However, as the President of a country that is a
part of the global economy, both you, other
open-mind Nigerians, and our global partners
should be in shock at life expectancy and the
standard of health care in Nigeria.
Take a look at the ongoing horror-filled news
from hospitals like the General Hospital in
Agenebode, Edo State where patients undergo
surgeries with flashlights, as in the most
recent case where the Chief Physician, Dr.
Monday Obawonyi, in near darkness and with no
air conditioning, performed a surgical operation
on one Mrs. Mary Alugbe.
There is the case of dead babies from the
premier Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH)
being packed into bags, moved through the
streets of Lagos on the way to be dumped in
It seems that there is no end to this national
nightmare, to the extent that some in the
Nigerian leadership who are quite familiar with
the reality of life amongst the people, are
beginning to believe that societal upheaval may
be the quickest way out of this national
distress, in order for constructive and drastic
changes to occur.
Voices of Warning
An Economist, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, the former
Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria in a recent
lecture at the Faculty of Social Science,
University of Nigeria, Nsukka, seemed to predict
that should the current economic woes continue,
the people could seek self-help through
violence, and bring the needed change that some
in leadership have always resisted.
In addition, with an air of frustration, a
nationally revered Constitutional Law scholar,
Prof Ben Nwabueze at a recent Book launch, in
Victoria Island, Lagos, posited adequate
transformational change only taking place
through Bloody Revolution.
His Co-member at the Presidential Advisory
Council, retired Lt. T.Y Dajuma stated that at
this time there is no leader to help transform
the nation and fears that revolution as the only
path for change would be too costly in terms of
money and the lives of the Nigerian sons.
Even the current Federal Minister of Lands,
Housing and Urban Development, Chief Nduese
Essien in a recent speech at a London business
summit celebrating Nigeria’s 50th birthday sees
the nation as being in a state of deep
structural degeneration and seemingly hopeless.
A Way Forward
However, there is a much more forthright path in
which the President can immediately take the
country to put to rest these predictions of
disappointment and doom.
Mr. President, declare a national state of
emergency across some public institutions in
light of the fact that no matter how much money
is poured into a system, most of it gets
converted to personal use.
As such, few projects are completed in Nigeria,
and fewer come out right. In the process, the
consumers of the intended public services
Mr.President, the blunder is not with the
buildings; it is with those who occupy these
buildings and handle the customers who seek help
from these institutions.
In fact,the fault lies mainly in the heads and
minds of some of the workers, officials,
supervisors, clinicians, consultants,
contractors, and managers of these institutions.
Sir, you must familiar with as one who has held
public service for years and are familiar with
how you break away from other powerful Nigerians
who are entrenched in the system. This is an
issue for you to grapple with, and it will not
be easy. You will need help.
Help in the Diaspora?
It is time to summon the Federal Ministry of
Foreign Affairs , Foreign Embassies in Nigeria
and the Nigerian High commissions and Consulates
in countries like United States of America to
help in the mass recruitment of Nigerians in the
Bringing them in with their experiences will be
less costly than the status quo and what might
eventually result from its continuation and
eventual public frustration.
Personnel blending or displacement will
certainly be more tolerable to those likely to
be displaced compared to the apparent appraoch
being called for by the likes of Prof. Chukwuma
Soludo, and Prof. Ben Nwabueze,
I would suggest that you cannot ignore these
nonviolent recommended paths to
institutional-personnel renewal as you work on
creating on a healthier institutional
Sir, in order to have an idea of the type of
sound governance that many Diasporan Nigerians
could bring in, you only have to spend some time
browsing internet News Papers and Outlets in the
likes of Thewillnigeria.com,
TheNigeriaVoice.com, NigeriansReport.com, and
Within these news outlets are essays, comments,
and inventions from Diasporan Nigerians who
dearly love home. Many of them have mostly spent
credible periods in foreign public-oriented
careers and professions, while some are
consequences of the Brain Drain-from the public
and health care sectors, in Nigeria, especially.
The Shambolic Healthcare Sector
With the idiocy over the zoning issue, there are
now grounds to believe that uncertainty could
lie ahead as the electorate look towards the
forth coming national election.
Mr. President, while focusing on the public
institutions, the health care sector in
particular can no longer be left in the hands of
predatory commercialists, politicians and
It remains shocking how the nation has failed
those dead children, having been loaded into
street bags in the hands of a so-called
contractor while the hospital medical
executives, administrators and management
seemingly look away and stand in a state of
ignorance or denial.
If one of the best teaching hospitals—Lagos
Teaching University Hospital (LUTH) could
showcase such unethical/possibly illegal
actions, what about all other much less
noticeable medical centers across the nation?.
If the parents of these seventy-plus dead
children are reportedly abandoning them within a
short period of two to three months, where are
the police reports on parental abandonment?
Could some these deaths be suspicious, or
unexpected as they relate to possible child
abuse and parental neglect? In that case, where
are the documented calls from hospital staff and
follow up police investigations? Are some of
these deaths due to signs of physical trauma,
medical accidents or criminal acts, and where
are the autopsy reports from the pathologists?
Could some these deaths could have being
prevented with the active presence of ethically
minded workers/contractors and sustainable
resources? How many child deaths happens due to
intentional or gross neglect in order to enable
staff to illegally supplement their salaries
with bribes from morbid contractors?
How many corpses are dumped in residential and
industrial bushes as corpses are turned away on
contractors who cannot further pay inflated fees
and bribes to cemetery care takers having bribed
hospital workers and officials’ in order to
remain in the job?
How many street and unlicensed contractors are
allowed to manage the disposal of decomposing
bodies in the midst of possible health hazards
to the living and public environs?
Where are the Federal and State Ministries of
Health in terms of procedures and practices for
monitoring the handling of unclaimed bodies at
different morbidity units in various hospitals?
Do public health officials have the educational
and training fliers to guide parents and
hospital officials on child related issues? Do
these various local governments and large
teaching and Specialist hospitals have Children
fatality Review Board to assist in examining
Mr. President, surgical operations are always
high risk in Nigeria, whether due to blackouts
or inadequate supplies. Added to unreliable
electric power and few medical supplies, there
are few monitoring devices, no functioning
oxygen plants, no adequate trauma care centers,
no active stationary phones, no refrigerators to
store medicines and food, and no workable
Patients lay down on inadequate mattresses with
no pillows. They overflow into corridors due to
too much heat; X-Ray machines are AWOL; there is
lack of running water, few good roads, no
enforceable traffic regulations or dependable
emergency transportation to hospitals.
Mr. President, public trust is weakening, in
these crucial times and in the face of blatant
extortion of public funds by a tiny fraction of
Taking Bold Action
With all the recovered monies by Economic and
Financial Crimes Commission (EECC), some of the
confiscated monies could be directed to procure
high-powered generators, functioning morgues,
effective X-Ray machines, create workable
cemeteries. Funds could be directed towards the
mass return of Diasporan Professional who will
only come if there perceive strategic insights
into, and commitment towards solving these
As the 2011 national election draws near, will
the public hospitals and other medical
institutions be ready for cases of trauma and
other emergency related crises?
You must take action to convince Nigeria’s
citizens that their health needs will be met in
the short term, even if some form of national
health care emergency has to be declared. Time
is running out and many would say: “hurry up,
John Egbeazien Oshodi, Ph.D, DABPS, FACFE, is a
Clinical/Forensic Psychologist, and the Interim
Associate Dean of Behavioral Science, Broward
College, Coconut Creek, Florida. Joshodi@broward