By Denrele Animasaun
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” Socrates
These past weeks, for me, have been intentionally politics free. The toxicity of the world of politics in particular, our brand of politics: ‘the do or die brand, is soul destroying. So it is for the sake self-preservation, it was wise to take time out and reflect; if one has a conscience, then it is preferred that occasionally, one leaves politics temporarily well alone, even if for a very short while.
If only one could. There is a saying that: if you are not interested in politics, politics is interested in you. Alas, one might as well get drawn in after a healthy sabbatical, a hiatus of sanity and decency. It enables clarity and definitely sees the political woods from the trees.
As 2019 approaches, we see the same old suspects; they are busy playing musical chairs with the nation by decamping from one party to the next. It is as if the people have no say in who governs the country, the greedy and miscreants are already and potentially carving out the national cake
It is disgraceful and shocking as they attempt to cause unrest, uncertainty as they decamp from one party to the next, it beggars belief how these politicians were ever voted in the first place; do they really represent the voices and interests of the people? They are like conjurors, with the sleight of hand; they place old wine into new bottles and present it as new to the gullible. It has been done so many times before and they reckon if it isn’t broke why fix it? There lies the problem. These snake oil sellers have nothing but unrest and con to sell to the nation. If only they could deliver good news for once and promote unity and prosperity for all. It is not too much to ask for, is it?
For those who play to the narrative and engage in finger pointing; I have news for you: they are playing expensive politics with our lives and our future.
Those who call for the bad old days of grand corruption and day light robbery because they reckon, at least some of the ill-gotten loot will trickle down to the masses. What nonsense! Nigerians should not rely on hand outs from anyone and in the short term. The commonwealth if not coveted, was enough to change the lives of every Nigerian for the better.
The trouble is that people feel they have no power but they do. The civil duty of every voting age Nigerians is to vote with their conscience.
Knowing one’s worth is the key to the challenges of Nigeria. Crucially, ordinary Nigerians should not be begging for crumbs off the table of these thieves in fine clothes. The commonwealth is for everyone and Nigerians have been robbed and denied a better standard of life and yet, the subsequent administrations have feathered their nests and most Nigerians are suffering as a result.
So while Nigerians have not had it that bad, the politicians are running their hands in anticipation for more of the gravy train.
No, these people have not delivered on their election pledges instead they have rubbed the nose of all Nigerians and then they continue to insult the intelligence of its citizens.
Saraki: Will he or will not?
There seems to be a political game of mouse trap going on. It is actually more like Okie Pockie, where they put their left leg in and then their right leg in then out, before they shake it all around and then do it again. This is the case of the Senate President Bukola Saraki who has been: “consulting and actively considering” running for President in 2019. I think it was obvious to many and it was an open secret that many want the top job despite their poor record in public office.
Of his defection to the PDP: The PDP has learnt its lesson from the loss in 2015, and I think unfortunately the APC did not learn from their victory.
“While negotiating with the PDP, we listed a number of issues. We talked about how to sustain and improve the fight against corruption; the issue of providing more powers to the states; inclusion and having a more nationalistic approach on things we do; to continue to improve the environment that will ensure investments. Please note the liberal use of the word investment, and the promise of fighting corruption is like leaving vault open and looking the other way.
Saraki now faces an uphill struggle to keep his position at the Senate. He said of running for presidency: “I am consulting and actively considering it. I believe I can make the change.” Well, depending on what kind of change he means and what he is capable of delivering and whatever the records show the case may be, there are no evidence of past achievement to back it up.
Roll on 2019; it is time to decide the future and the survival of Nigeria.
Health of the nation is critical
My sister was in hospital recently for a planned admission. She had a hernia and that needed a routine operation. The trouble was, my sister was instructed to buy every single item needed for the operations, you name it, and she had to get it. Pre and post operation, my sister had to get off her bed and head outside the hospital to buy pad, medication, antiseptic, razors, bed covers, pillow cases, because without these, the operation will not have been performed. So health is a premium and a preserve for that wing money. Being unwell in Nigeria is an expensive business.
There is a gulf between the richest and the poorest in the access to health delivery. Little wonder the rich go abroad for their health care needs.
The health system is broken and it needs urgent repairs: it is under invested and inaccessible to many. It provides poor value for money; substandard quality if care, staffs are demotivated, not well paid or properly equipped and inadequately trained staff. There is lack of trust and professionalism in the health care services and this in turn affects people’s health seeking behaviour and they are more likely to present later when chronic and their prognosis is poor. It has become a prayer that no one wants to be sick enough to need secondary health care.
If you don’t have the means, then you will not receive treatment in majority of the cases. It is ironic, when medics are trained not to do harm but through neglect, lack of resources, manpower and facilities, many lives are lost.
For example, in Nigeria, according to 2013 NDHS36, more than a half (53.3%) of women 15-49 years reported that they experienced serious problems in accessing health care for themselves when they were sick; the most common reason given for the inability to access care was financial problem (42.0% of all women mentioned finance as a challenge). The problem was worse in rural areas and poverty stricken areas. The prognosis is dire and among the poorest women, over three-quarters (75.7%) of those with healthcare access problem identified financial inability as an obstacle.
In the analysis of Healthcare Access and Quality Index for 195 countries published in Lancet in May 2018, the Service Delivery Indicators (SDI) study carried out in a number of African countries with the support of the World Bank, Nigeria ranked at 142nd position out of 195 countries on the HAQ index in 2016 index41. Nigeria’s score on the HAQ index is 41.5 on a scale of 0-100, which (or simply, 41.5%). This is appalling but not surprising and to make matter worse, there is a brain drained of medical and nursing personnel leaving for better condition overseas. Alarmingly, this result is indicative of the outcomes of the Service Delivery Indicators (SDI) study that demonstrated a low level of 37.3% compared to Kenya that of (74%) 43. Without investment and long term commitment, the health of the nation will continue to suffer.