Aging With (Dis)grace

It is imperative that the government formulates a standard policy that caters for the old people in the population irrespective of their family situations.

 

Aging With Disgrace

By Adeola Aderounmu

20160917_222041-1

During my last trip to Nigeria, l saw the persistence of the signs of a society that was ailing badly. It is no big surprise when the recession and depression that the people have lived with for several decades was then officially pronounced on the country.

I always fear for the old people in the Nigerian population. You can tell that there are many things in Nigeria that gives one deep thoughts.

One day during my stay in Nigeria, l saw an old woman sitting in front of her apartment. She sat and gazed. It was easy to see through her. She pondered, l am sure, about the life she had lived in the past and just how incapable she had become.

When l went to high school in the 80s, this woman was one of the most active women l knew. At a time she had a stall where she sold prepared food to several families in the neighbourhood. At another time she walked around carrying the food on her head. Things change too quickly in Nigeria!

Today, she is one of the several millions of old people scattered across Nigeria living from hand to mouth. Invariably the Nigerian society still largely believes that the burden of maintaining the old people should rest of the children, the grandchildren or someone within the realm of the extended family.

However, there are a few exceptions to the last sentence above. For example, if you grew old as one of several Nigerian criminal politicians or their spouses, you have already stolen enough money to even take care of your funeral and unborn generations. Another example that is genuine is, if you and your family are doing well in a legitimate business, you probably have a secured old age (if you plan for it).

Those who don’t do well at old ages in Nigeria are the norm. They include several pensioners who laboured at government offices and in the end had their pension looted by some greedy man or woman at the pension’s department.

The Nigerians who age with disgrace include the category of the old woman who now sits and gazed and seemed unaware of her immediate surrouding. She was probably hoping that one of her children will call on the phone or come home to settle some bills and take care of the next few days.

The category of Nigerians aging with disgrace is massive. Widows or widowers who suddenly lost their spouses could age with disgrace. It’s relative and dependent on several factors, some of which are beyond their control. A wealthy man can die suddenly without a will and his widow from that moment could go on aging with disgrace.

Sometimes, even in the presence of a will, the Nigerian widows still suffers because the extended family have no regards for the woman and chose not to respect the will. I am in the process of writing another essay on the status of women in Nigeria and l hope to elaborate more on their sufferings and frustrations.

There is absolutely nothing wrong when children or members of the extended family take care of their aged-ones. It is part of the african culture. But it is not all old people who have children. Likewise, it is not all extended family that are functional. Hence it become imperative that the government has a standard policy that caters for the old people in the population irrespective of their family situations.

How can Nigeria handle the plights of the category of her citizens aging with disgrace?

One method is through education. Every Nigeria needs to be educated about pensions and savings. I was happy when l saw a book written by one of my former students Mr. Babatunde Raimi. The book ”Planning Your Retirement” contains step by step measures that people can take in order to secure their life financially after retirement.

This will be a tough challenge because many Nigerians do not believe in saving money or taking insurance policies. It is not unusual that people are skeptical about savings because life-expectancy is short, unemployment is high and job insecurity is rampant.

The financial institutions have been unreliable. Some banks have declared bankruptcy and people have lost their earnings and savings.The short life-expectancy is a summation of the low standard of living and the general poor conditions of health/medical delivery system.

There are several old people, some illiterates, who ran their own businesses and then folded-up as old age sets in. They need help on how to plan their future irrespective of whether their small businesses will continue or not. Before they get old and become less restricted in their physical movement, they need help to plan their retirement.

We can also think of the people who are illiterates but ran successful small businesses during their productive years. If they cannot read, how can they be reached? How can we help them to plan their retirement?

The population of Nigerians aging with disgrace can be reduced drastically if the Nigerian government can stop the pension thieves once and for all. Pensioners don’t get a lot of money anywhere in the world but in Nigeria it is worse because the value of the Naira is shameful. Added to the high cost of living, a pension that is promptly paid and regular albeit little, still avails much in a place like Nigeria.

It is all too common to read about how pensioners have been robbed by federal ministers or some highly placed civil servants. There cannot be a rational basis why pensioners are unpaid and starved whilst their monies are tucked away in a private account of one criminal supposedly serving the government of Nigeria at the state or federal levels.

Nigerian pensioners live with shame and disgrace at their old ages mostly because the government continues to fail them as senior citizens. Those who steal or cart away pension funds needs to sleep in prison for several years. They don’t deserve plea bargains.

In Nigeria, let us not forget that the problems we faced are numerous and gigantic. I don’t think there is anyone who has all the list of problems documented. My arguments and essays are plain. When everybody starts to do the right thing, everything will fall in place for the good of all. But this message is hard to get across board. Our diversity has become a pain, rather than a blessing.

Finally, it seems clearer now that the political system of government in Nigeria is part of the hindrances to growth and development. Therefore the calls for restructuring, true federalism, regional govenrment and even regional autonomy need to be addressed squarely and the best option adopted so that peace can return to this geographical region presently called Nigeria.

When there is peace, planning becomes easier and progress is certain.

aderounmu@gmail.com

 

 

 

President Buhari: You Don’t Feel Our Pains

For now, people like President Buhari who cannot ask the stinking corrupt politicians under his watch for their resignation letters because in principle, they are all the same and Mrs. Iweala who wants to preach the old testament after the new should please leave us alone and let us deal with our pains with respect.

President Buhari; No, You Don’t Feel Our Pains

By Adeola Aderounmu

Adeola Aderounmu

Adeola Aderounmu

Deceits brought us to this abysmal level in Nigeria.

In my opinion it was an insult to Nigerians for President Buhari to state that he feels the pains of Nigerians whereas there are no public actions or utterances to support the assertion. So what he said was not close to the truth at all.

Nigerians are not fool and they are not stupid.

When people voted for change, it was not as if they were not aware that there were several APC treasury looters and criminally-inclined PDP-decampees that migrated to the APC.

The votes were in trial that there may be a fresh start under our (strange) democratic arrangement. Now, the people are more than convinced that Nigerian politicians are birds of the same feather thriving in different nests

When various allegations of corruption have been levelled against prominent politicians under the APC-Buhari mandate, it became a rude shock to many Nigerians that President Buhari remained camera-shy in condemning the alleged criminals that were under investigation or even attending trials. Together they continue to steer the affairs of a failed country-Nigeria.

It is very sad that under our current statuses of economic recession and personal depressions, the APC-Buhari mandate failed to curbed corruption amongst its own. So the status-quo that we the people feared and put on trial by voting or supporting change is maintained and this government is no longer a trusted one.

Concretely, when the National Assembly’s leadership and membership were exposed for some of their crimes, we the people expected the presidency to make a direct pronouncement and denouncement of the crimes.

How can President Buhari now says that he feels our pain and remain on the same side as alleged criminals? Is party affiliation more important that fairness and justice for all? This is not a military government Pa. Buhari!

How can you feel our pains when you failed to take side with the people even when a rare opportunity finally came in form of a judicial inquest of the National Assembly?

What kind of change did you promise?

For those of us who abhor the inclusion of religion in politics, the pain becomes severe when we see the president lining up with corrupt people on prayer grounds. The bait of religion is the worst form of hypocrisy on earth.

Even when Mr. Dogara, an alleged criminal, added salt to the injury and deeply knowingly insulted 170 m Nigerians by saying that padding was not a crime, President Buhari did not request for his resignation letter. Instead they rolled together in Aso rock mocking the people. What a shame on Nigeria!

No, President Buhari, stop the lie and end the deceit. You don’t feel our pains.

As we continue to groan under the economic hardship in Nigeria, there is still nothing from your end to show that you feel our pains.

No, the APC-Buhari mandate does not feel our pains. When a regime is loaded with confessional, self-made criminals who boast about their loots, their budget-padding abilities and their abilities to twist the law in their favour, it is deceit to state that such a regime feels our pains.

One of the ways that would have been indicative of change would have been to turn a new leaf when the APC-Buhari mandate emerged in 2015. So far the APC government is a failed government.

Rather than address issues squarely, the APC-Buhari has resolved to continue to blame the PDP governments especially the one led by one Mr. Jonathan. But that blame game is only partially correct. We-the people-knew that both the APC and the PDP in various ways contributed to the recession that Nigerians are now suffering.

We knew that Mr. Jonathan did not save for the rainy days. Who else could have reminded us but the finance minister who supervised the wastage and looting until the end?

Now see where we are now, suffering like never before.

Together, they want us to believe that they feel our pain. Where are they-Amadiora and Sango-when you need them?

For now, people like President Buhari who cannot ask the stinking corrupt politicians under his watch for their resignation letters because in principle, they are all the same and Mrs. Iweala who wants to preach the old testament after the new should please leave us alone and let us deal with our pains with respect.

That much we deserved.

These people stole our lives, our common wealths and they are still robbing us of what is left of our common dignity.

How many of the pains in Nigeria does Mr. Buhari feels?

In my immediate environment, l have complained of the river of sewage flowing on the streets and nearby roads for years. I have written openly to his man in Lagos, Mr. Ambode and  many people told me l have to call out Abuja to reach FHA or even Mr. Fashola. People are dying of diseases everywhere and l have to personally run after the state and the federal government to see the reason. Who is feeling my pain?

The end of festac

In my state of birth and residence, the Apapa area generates income that helps to sustain the entire country. The federal road that leads to the Apapa-wharf area is an eye sore. It continues to lead many to their graves. I feel the pain, we feel the pain, and the federal government takes the money!

Do we all see the villages and towns that are spread around the Niger Delta area? What about in the North-Eastern part of Nigeria? The people living in these regions are in pain. Their environments have been destroyed. The government of Nigeria at all levels does not feel the pains of the ordinary citizens. It is only the ordinary people that feel the pains. No one feels the pain of the farmers and fishermen who have lost their means of livelihhod.

Even the militants and the terrorists don’t feel the pain. They have been fed over the years under different aegis and acronyms by a corrupt system that would rather select and deal with a handful of people rather than address problems holistically once and for all.

The story of our pains are endless. Which of them does President Buhari shows empathy for by keeping the company of budget padders?

Education that ought to be free now cost a fortune. Where is the money? Soon, ASUU will go on strike. The children of politicians and other people doing very well are attending schools abroad. How can they feel our pains?

How many of our pains does President Buhari feel? Unemployment? High cost of essential commondities? Bad federal roads everywhere? Flood after rain? Absence of compulsory education for children? Insecurity? Lack of public health care?

If President Buhari actually travelled abroad to fix his ear problems and l have spent all my life living with 2 defective ears, how does he feel my pain?

If president Buhari, other Nigerian politicians and big men can fly private jets to wherever they want to go and the local airlines cancelled and postponed my trips because of the nonsensical way the country is managed, who is feeling my pain?

I can count in more than one thousand ways why president Buhari and the rest of Nigerian politicians both in APC and PDP do not feel or share our pains. They are all liars and budget padders.

Beyond our pains is what would become of the future of this country Nigeria.

We cannot shout enough that a political solution will invariably lead to economic resuscitation of the country. It will take time but it appears to be the best option that has a life-time durability.

What APC hopped upon in the last 18 months was a fire brigade approach to fix the economy and so far they have failed with all the trials and errors. The failure is to the extent that the APC has started re-adopting some of PDP’s policies that it discarded when the APC-Buhari mandate emerged.

In any case, Nigerian politicians needs to act before it is too late. We all need the political will to pursue a long lasting political solution. It is a national patriotic call.

The people who go to Abuja for politics are doing so for personal benefits. The risk they take is getting more expensive. One day, they may return home and find that nothing is left. With the way things are going out of hand in certain parts of Nigeria especially in the North-East and in the Niger-Delta area, there will not be a better time than now to sit down and fashion out a political solution to Nigeria’s problems.

National debates will avail much. It is time to reason along the line of a system that will for all time be the basis of the economy of the regions and states of the federation.

The wasteful spending of the federal government of Nigeria in keeping all the current unnecessary and jargonistic unitary structures of government does not reflect that the federal government feels the pain of the people.

The waste is huge for a system that has never worked and that will probably never work.

As a result of their selfishness, Nigerian politicians are living in a world of their own. They exist in their own bubbles of delusion. The people are suffering and dying in thousands daily. The people are in pains that no one in Aso rock can ever feel or imagine!

It is impossible to feel the pains of Nigerians with a myopic view. Let’s take our eyes off the crude oil for a while. Let’s take our eyes off the proceeds of the Apapa Wharf for a while. Let’s reason together and build something that our children and children’s children will be proud us before we destroy everything totally.

In the meantime, as the law continues to fail to serve justice, we the people demand that the criminal politicians who are rubbing shoulders in the local, state and federal government institutions should stop padding budgets and stop stealing of what is left of a country in deep recession.

aderounmu@gmail.com

The Rule Of Criminals

One of the challenges facing Nigeria and Nigerians is how to achieve or establish the rule of law above the rule of criminals in government and everywhere.

The Rule Of Criminals

By Adeola Aderounmu

Which Way Nigeria?

One is saddened that there is no end in sight for Nigerians being ruled partly by politicians who are absolute criminals.

Ordinary Nigerians are facing very hard and extreme economic hardship and they also have to continue to cope with the reality that some of those who they expected to be part of the solution are actually political criminals.

My recent visit to Nigeria left another deep cut in my soul. What l saw is that majority of Nigerians are still suffering!

The kind of suffering in Nigeria exposes majority of the population to conditions that are completely unacceptable for humans. People have no access to basic facility or infrastructure. This information is not news.

However what may be news is that several millions of Nigerians are now in new category called systematic beggars. People are begging for food and money from those that still have a little to live on.

What l saw in Nigeria revealed that majoroity of Nigerians not only lack the basic things of life, they also lack material comfort. Many people are running around on empty stomachs.

In 2012, l defined mass poverty using Nigeria as a case study.  Since then the mass poverty situation in Nigeria has escalated.

Sadness is rampant. Deceit and mutual suspicion are written on everybody’s face. Today, a few people are tasking the government and police on the high rate of crime. The trend will continue because even the police are stopping people randomly on the streets and robbing them of their possessions!

Things are getting worse in Nigeria. The conditions of living are terrible. There is almost no word to describe the standard of living of the ordinary people. Poor is an understatement. What comes after low or poor standard of living? The living situations are extremely sad and disheartening.

At this sad point in Nigeria’s history, the lowest ebb the country has ever reached, one would expect that the government at various levels will show empathy and concern for the plights that have been inflicted on the people through years of misgovernance and negligence.

Alas! The present government is not helping matters in that direction at all.

As Nigerians are allegedly made to bear the grunt and pain of the decline in crude oil prices, the cost of governance itself remains at the same high level.

Governance in Nigeria is established on a twin culture of waste and propaganda.

The level of corruption in the present government easily contradicts the propaganda that Nigerians are paying for the low price of crude oil and the wastage of the Jonathan administration.

Nigeria does not depend on crude oil only by the way.

In any case if Nigerian politicians stop stealing and perhaps even start to drop some body and material weights, perhaps the effects of the drop in crude oil sales that have also also been aggravated by the Niger Delta Avengers would spread evenly among the population, and we can understand the situation together.

But sadly, as a manner of repetition, let me reiterate that the cost of governance in Nigeria remains high and wasteful.

Nigeria is spending a lot of money on arms of government that are invariably useless. The category that has been in the eye of the storm most is the legislative arm.

At the Senate and the House of Representatives, the revelations that have come to front since the emergence of the Buhari-APC mandate are shameful and scandalous.

A government that is fighting corruption mostly in the opponent camps yet housing criminals at its own backyard is a worthless government. That is what the APC government has become.

The scandals that have rocked the Senate where Mr. Saraki heads the other alleged criminals are enough to level it. But it stands as a monument of stinking corruption.

The scandals that have rocked the House of Representatives where Mr. Dogara heads the other alleged criminals are enough to sweep the house into the ocean so that it does not ever evolve again.

It is shocking that Nigerians know that they are partly ruled by criminals and they are suffering and living with the knowledge of the causes of majority of their problems. But they are not doing anything serious about it.

Something has to give in someday as a way of showing these criminals their ways out of governance.

We also actually need someone to remind this government of its virtual fight against corruption whereas the government itself is stinking and rotten, full of criminals in high and low places.

About 30 something years ago, when l was a little boy, l read an article in a newspaper. The title was: Who Is Fooling Who? I don’t remember the author but it mentioned that many things that are true today.

One of the challenges facing Nigeria and Nigerians is how to achieve or establish the rule of law above the rule of criminals in government and everywhere.

The political criminals are on the advantage because despite the fact that their criminalities are known and exposed, they have so far circumvent the law to their advantages. They have remain strong due to the weakness of the people and their passiveness to corruption everywhere.

The difference between common sense and political criminal sense remains crystal clear.

While common sense makes people leave the public scene in shame after a scandal, the political criminal sense makes people fight back using the weaknesses in the law especially in a nonsensical democracy like Nigeria where self preservation is the norm. Civility suffers.

The difference extends to the point  that with political criminal sense, every scandal is tagged as a political witchhunt. The political criminal sense does not deny the existence of a crime or scandal. It just fights against it.

Invariably, the changed promised by the APC has turned to a sham, more so because of the political criminals that persist and control the APC government.

When l’d visited civil service establishments during my one month stay in Nigeria, the situation and conditions of services are even worse. The morale is down, many things are still being done just like before.

The workers still receive bribes, the police are on the roads doing the usual collection and false accusation.  From the political criminals holding sway in Abuja, to the smallest streets in Nigeria, it is business of corruption as usual.

The things that have changed have brought more hardship to our lives. Things just got worse for the ordinary people. For example, under Mr. Fashola, Nigerians pay more money for darkness. There is promise of light and the bills are already higher for the services that have not been provided. What is 419 again?

The people earn less or nothing at all (when salaries are not paid for several month) but they pay more for everything. There are so many scams perpetrated by the Buhari-APC government that should have resulted to outright outrages.

But Nigerians are praying and fasting even on empty stomachs. Thanks to the magicians called men of God. Rather than build factories, more churches and mosques are sprining up everywhere in Nigeria.

Even in government houses where looting and stealing are taking place, there are churches and mosques in the premises. What is the meaning of den of robbers? Who is fooling who? Who prays in these religious houses and who are the political criminals in government?

It’s always a painful experience recounting the problems of Nigeria. Whereas we know that the solutions are easy. If people start to do the right things, just the right things, Nigeria will pick up.

But after decades of misrule and systemic disorientation,majority of the people are used to doing the wrong things. This cruel reality is what led to the emergence and sustenance of wrong doers and criminals in public offices.

So, the rule of criminals is very complicated.

There are other issues with the Buhari-APC mandate. Along with the painful existence of the rule of criminals, Nigerians are more than ever before battling with tribalism. Sadly too, the influence of religion in government has never been this prominent in the history of governance in Nigeria.

Up to the local government level, religious affiliation is a crucial factor in the curriculum vitae of office-seekers in Nigeria. What l saw in Nigeria shocked me!

That long-lasting solution of just doing the right things in public service eludes majority of Nigerians. But it must re-emerge side-by-side a political system or structure that is functional. That ancitipated change in political system has been called several names, from regional government to regional autonomy and even true fiscal federalism.

At this moment, at the end of august 2016, Nigeria is not working and the rule of criminals dominate the rule of law.

Nigeria needs a genuine political change.

Reference: Mass Poverty In Nigeria (2012) By Adeola Aderounmu.

https://aderinola.wordpress.com/2012/01/19/mass-poverty-in-nigeria-2012

 

aderounmu@gmail.com

 

 

There Are No Drivers In Lagos

…..one of the vehicles that was supposed to be behind my car did the diagonal turning and collided with an oncoming lorry. There was another accident- two commercial buses collided with each other and an okada passenger flew between the 2 vehicles just before they collided. This is Lagos..!

There Are No Drivers In Lagos

20160718_115907

By Adeola Aderounmu

On my recent trip to Nigeria, l could almost not believe what l saw on Lagos roads. I knew that driving in Lagos had always been a hassle and that some people have ignorantly or maybe stupidly concluded many years ago that if you can drive in Lagos, then you can drive anywhere in the world. That notion is not only misleading; it is also very dangerous.

If driving in Lagos on the other hand means that you can drive anywhere in Nigeria, then l can generalize that there are no drivers in Nigeria. I took time to observe driving in my area and on major roads in Lagos. Not one person driving on Lagos roads that l saw passed the simple driving tests that l conducted.

One of the most amazing, yet disturbing discoveries l made was this: not one driver in Lagos knew how to turn left at a junction. In normal driving, on a two-way road, you drive to the end of the road whilst keeping to your lane, then you make a curve (like going around the last quarter of a circle or ring) to turn left. I did not see one driver in Lagos do this turn correctly.

To make left turns, all the drivers in Lagos made diagonals. They don’t even make it from their half of the road. Long before the actual turning point, as they approach the junction, Lagos drivers make long diagonals that put them head to head with the oncoming vehicles.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The first time l observed this anomaly, l actually thought it was just a silly driver who was impatient.

Later l found out that everybody drives that way. Commercial vehicle drivers and private car drivers, drove the same way. This is the standard for driving in Lagos.

One day, l had a passenger at the back seat in my car. He said he thought l was driving straight-on after he saw that l actually turned left at a junction. He was not used to drivers using the full length of the road to the turning point before making the turn. He said l would get tired of my sane driving, but l never did because l wasn’t trained to drive like an insane person.

Every time l am making my normal left turn, there are other vehicles, between 1 to 3 that make the turn before me while l am at my normal driving. They think they are good drivers or that they are smarter in getting ahead.

In this essay, l cannot include the menace of the motor-cycles as commercial transportation means in Lagos. Let us save the discussion about that pestilence that is unleashed on Lagos for another time.

As a result of foolishness, recklessness and not-knowing-how to drive of almost all Lagos drivers, I was a witness to at least 3 accidents whilst l drove in Lagos.

Another day whilst l was doing my normal omoluabi junction-turning, one of the vehicles that was supposed to be behind my car did the diagonal turning and collided with an oncoming lorry. How many accidents on Lagos road are due to wrong driving?

This dangerous diagonal turning was one of the most obvious indicators of wrong driving by Lagos drivers that l observed and it remains a major cause of head-to-head collision/accidents at road junctions.

There was another accident due mainly to bad driving that was so serious that two commercial buses collided with each other on 23 Road in Festac Town. It was like a movie when an okada passenger flew between the two vehicles before they collided and he somersaulted on the road. The motor cycle and the okada-driver slided long the road like the movie was not about to finish yet.

In fact, the other useless and reckless driving of Lagos drivers are too numerous to elaborate here. But generally, it is a crazy situation on Lagos roads with human and vehicular traffic forming a permanent compound mess.

More of my observations below.

Lagos drivers do not know how to drive on lanes (but they can claim that most roads are not marked with lines and they’ll be right at that). Still, what happens to straight line driving? What l saw was that most of the drivers in Lagos do not even know about driving on a lane.

Once the roads are not marked, they are driving from right to left to center, just anyhow they like. They fill available space on the road and collide too easily with one another.

Lagos drivers do not keep the distance. There should be at least 5 meters between 2 cars on the road. For some vehicles, the distance behind them should be 10 meters if they have risk of rolling backwards or if they vehicles used for deliveries, having haulage facility/equipment trailing behind them.

In one accident, I saw an okada driver fastened to the back of a jeep and he could not detangle his motor cycle. It was so confusing; l did not even understand it even as we drove past the conjoined vehicles.

Lagos drivers do not use or respect the indicator light that shows when you when you change lanes or make a turn. 99.9 % of Lagos drivers do not look out for indicator lights. When you indicate a turn with your light and hoping that someone is using their brain on Lagos road, you have just made yourself a target for an accident and probably an untimely death.

Rather than using your signs, you and your passengers have to bring your heads out of the car and try to have contacts with the reckless drivers on the road and beg them to let you change your lane or to turn right or left.

In general driving on Lagos road is still very much an insane experience. It may not be the biggest problem in Nigeria but it is surely a significant part of public health question and analyses. It is either the people bring madness to the roads or the roads make people mad. Whichever way you view it, it is bad and sad.

On Lagos roads, there are no rooms for respect and courtesy. Everybody looks angry! People are not driving or behaving normally behind the wheels. Everybody is in a hurry and everybody believes that they should not give room to another driver. It’s as if everybody is chasing the same thing or the same thing is chasing everybody.

In all these negative brouhahas, one begins to wonder about the roles of the Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC. This agency must be really rotten and inefficient. They are not working. How can they explain the acquisition of drivers’ licenses by all the bad drivers in Lagos? Have all these crazy drivers passed through any driving school? Have they been tested theoretically and practically?

In Lagos the dangers and evil on the road are so numerous that coming back home to your house in the evening is considered an everyday miracle.

So what are the ways out of this hydra-headed problem that has grown so big that it is now the norm to be drive anyhow-you-like in Lagos. Where do we start from in this country where everything has fallen apart and into pieces?

One can also question the roles of the bribe-loving police force in all these extreme dramas, thrillers and horrors on Lagos/ Nigerian roads. They are constant on the roads, pointing their guns at ordinary citizens as if there is a war in Lagos. But their primary concern is their filthy pockets.

The police, the FRSC, the people and even the state government  and its other transport agencies are all contributing their own quotas to the madness and complexity on Lagos roads. Everybody is claiming right, everybody is neglecting their duties and obligations and everybody is doing the wrong thing.

When Nigerians return home from Europe and America with their drivers’ licenses that were earned like war trophies, they are insulted and humiliated to the extent that the authorities make many of them to acquire the Nigerian license that are obtainable without undergoing driving tests.

In their ignorance, the men of the FRSC and the police turn down hard-earned foreign driver’s license. I heard they don’t even recognize international driver’s license. Really? Of course, they will accept the bribe that follows the argument on this.

During my stay in Lagos, l spent a substantial time shouting at some motorists and educating them on a few things that l saw them do wrong. Yes, l did that sometimes when l was behind the wheels and sometimes when l took my usual long walks along the streets.

Constantly proving that l was right, l just refuse to leave my lane for the stupid oncoming okada motor-cyclists and other drivers who really do not have any business on the road. I was hardly in a hurry, so that turned out well.

The first lesson in a driving school says: plan for your journey. That particular lesson will cure about 50% of the insanity on Lagos road. Where are people rushing to? They will overtake you with the narrowest of margin beside you or in front of you! What are they chasing?

There are rush hours and heavy traffic in major cities across the world. But the cars keep rolling. In Nigeria, the traffic stands still not only because of bad roads, but also because of bad driving and total absence of knowledge about safe driving.

So if the people plan their journeys, if drunkards are removed from the roads, and if the roads become motorable say 100 years from now because Nigerian roads are still among the most dangerous road in the world today, maybe more than 90% all the accidents on Nigerian roads will become preventable. Lofty goal l guess.

The traditional custodian of Lagos and the governor of Lagos, where do you go from here? Lagos drivers don’t know how to drive. They just move the vehicles. They need help and deliverance. You need help too because right under your watch, Lagos has fallen apart.

 

aderounmu@gmail.com

 

all images taken by Adeola Aderounmu

Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, Please Clear This Biological Weapon!

The challenge before President Buhari and Governor Ambode is to order the immediate demolition of the illegally built houses and structures that have been used to block the underground sewage channels in Festac Town. That is the only and final solution.

We are citizens of Nigeria and they owe us this responsibility-to clean our environment. The government should stop killing us with biological weapons!

Governor  Akinwunmi Ambode, Please Clear This Biological Weapon!

By Adeola Aderounmu (Sweden)

One of the most disgusting views in Lagos State is embedded in my local government area. On 4th Avenue, 402 Road in Festac Town is a deep river of sewage flowing like the River Nile.

The sewage accumulating and flowing on the streets is a source of death and therefore represents a biological warfare against the people of 402 Road in Festac Town. Is the Lagos state government or the federal government of Nigeria at war with the people?

one

There are a number of theories on why faeces that are flushed from the toilets in this area of Festac now flows directly to the streets on which the people live.

No one can doubt that the plans for Festac Town were destroyed by the Federal Housing Authority when lands reserved for recreations and natural conservation were sold to some useless Nigerian millionaires by some useless government workers on behalf of the federal government of Nigeria.

The consequences and results of the deviation from the original, functional plans of Festac are what we are facing today. There are rivers of sewage scattered around in the estate. In addition, the estate is now over-congested and bastardly disorganised.

Once the pride of Africa, Festac town is now an area filled with shame and filth.

two

The sad reality is that it is not only in Festac Town that the citizens of Nigeria sleep and wake up surrounded by sewage. But l’m staying with the Festac problem as that is my constituency.

 

The end of festac

[To watch the video, visit my Youtube channel-Adeola Aderounmu, or my facebook https://www.facebook.com/adeola ]

 

The most obvious danger ahead of the people of 402 Road is that an epidemic is imminent. That is if one is not already in progress because the people have been surrounded by this flowing sewage for several years.

I wish a student from a Department Medical Parasitology of the University of Lagos can understake a medical research project on 402 Road/4th Avenue area of Festac Town. The results will be useful in understanding the statuses of the health of the people in the area.

The probability that the inhabitants of this area are suffering from ill-health and infections like typhoid as a result of this crime committed by government, is high.

three

One cannot rule out deaths related to this polluted and heavily stinking environment. Children and the elderly would have been particularlty susceptible.

If the useless government workers who sold land to the useless Nigerian millionaires had not sold the land area adjacent to, and surrounding the 402 Road area, the flow of sewage would not have been disrupted.

The greatest fear is that this river of sewage could be an accumulation of all the faeces flowing from the entire Festac Town estate. My hypothesis is based on my knowledge of the area.

There is a playground nearby which also houses the facility for recyling sewage waste from the estate.

It is the only place in Festac where l have seen the facility. When we played football those days, our football used to fall inside the facility. So we had some catchers whose job was to save the ball from falling into the sewage recycle facility.

I have not fully investigated if the recycling center is functional now but l saw that the area was inaccessible. Why would anyone make a fence around the center? Has someone bought and refilled the sewage recycle facility?

Faecal wastes and sewage are not flowing away from residential areas because the federal government of Nigeria sold the areas/lands where the sewage systems have been chanelled underground.

The foolish people and the useless millionaires who bought the land sealed off the sewage channels.

The challenge before President Buhari and Governor Ambode is to order the immediate demolition of the houses that have been built and used to block the underground sewage channel in Festac Town. That is the only and final solution.

four

4th Avenue by 402 Road, Festac Town                  

There are a lot of messes in Festac Town that are now irreversible. But this particular one is reversible no matter how long the houses have stood. They are illegal structures. If those who sold the land on behalf of the federal government can be found alive, they should be rounded up and prosecuted.

There is a report that one colonel in the Nigerian army actually contributed to this problem. Like many people living on the sewage system and blocking the channels, he is alleged to have applied ”cement” on his side of the channels. That was his own permanent solution to the problem. The implication is that for all he cares ”all the people on 402 road can die of diseases”.

On this matter it is very important that the Lagos state government and the federal government do not apply the Nigerian solution. That would be the sucking away of the river of sewage with the full knowledge that the river will overflow again. We don’t want that!

Nigerians are in love with temporary solutions. They love cosmetic solutions. This is because they want the problem to persist so that someone or a contractor can always make money from the contracts of temporary solutions.

Have you ever wondered why Nigerian roads for example are never going to be of international standard? Go figure now.

Anyway, as for this river of sewage in Festac Town, no one should expect that this is the last time they will be reading about this especially if the state and federal government continue to pretend as if this problem does not exist.

This is now one of my struggles.

My intention is to inform the governor of Lagos State and in fact Mr. Buhari the president of Nigeria, about this danger and for them to act without any delay. There is no need for more paper work or talking on this matter. They should get up from their comfort zones and clear this nonsense.

We are citizens of Nigeria and they owe us this responsibility-to clean our environment. The government should stop killing us with biological weapons!

The people living in this area of Festac Town and people visiting them are exposed to diseases that could end their lives prematurely. They can all die of diseases because of the river of sewage. Invariably the government has been at a biological warfare with the people.

Again, if nothing is done soon, l will be reminding governor Akinwunmi Ambode of this problem. If the tenures of Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode as Lagos state governor and Mr. Buhari as the president of Nigeria do not succeed in demolishing the houses that are blocking the flow of sewage out of Festac, we will carry the struggle to their respective successors.

Our people must not be left to die of diseases because of the carelessness of goverment workers-those who sold lands that are meant to be reserved and preserved.

It is obvious that the residents have done their best and got tired of writing letters of appeals to the local and state government. I can imagine hundreds of letters to the local government. I can just imagine thousands of letters to the Federal Housing Authority. I can imagine some whispers into the ears of former Governor Fashola about this problem.

My columns and my blog pages will not rest until this matter is solved.  We will remind the state and the federal  government about their wickedness and heartlessness.

How can any government allow her people to live under this condition for even 1 day out of life?

It is unacceptable and as a matter of fact, those who knew about this problem before now and refused to act have committed crimes against humanity.

By international standard, allowing people to die unjustly in the absence/presence of war is a criminal offence and that angle will also be pursued in due time.

I am sure that with time, we will find out those who knew about this problem and did nothing.

five

                       402 Road, A Close, Festac Town                            

We are talking about the living conditions of humans here.

I am actually surprise that the people of 402 Road have not made a decision to close down the local govenrment through massive protests. They are faced with a biological warfare and in ignorance have chosen to die because they got tired of writing letters of appeal.

I hope they will find the courage one day to lock down the Amuwo Odofin Local Government so that the sole administrator or the chairman can report to the governor who should tackle the problem head-on or call on the Federal Minsitry of Works and Housing to remove all obstructions in the way of sewage flow in Festac.

We must combine all our efforts and unite in order to rescue ourselves from maladministration.

The people everywhere must move away from the era of writing letters of appeal to actually carrying out demonstrations that will shut down their local councils or even the state government if necessary.

The problems and challenges facing Nigeria are many but we must tarry and remain united in the fight for the good of all.

Evil will continue to rise in the land when all the good people remain silent

Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, please go and clear Festac Town of the lingering biological warfare.

Mr. Mohammadu Buhari, please go and clear the messes left by the federal workers who planted biological warfare in Festac Town.

I stand with the people of 402 Road.

#Istandwith402road

 

aderounmu@gmail.com

 

 

[Story and All Images by Adeola Aderounmu]

My Random Reflections @ 44

The most amazing thing for me is the story of our present day heroes-the people who keep Nigeria running. These heroes are owners of surviving small and big businesses that run on generators and power plants for 24 hours a day.

My Random Reflections @ 44

 

20160626_165132.jpg

In 2009 l started this series called My Random Reflections. The first edition was My Random Reflections @ 37. How time flies!

For me, writing about Nigeria on my birthday has become a tradition.

This particular edition is remarkable in a number of ways. This is the first time l am writing one from homeland-Nigeria.

In an attempt to put up this edition, l’ll try to give a summary of some of the things that continue to be a source of heartache for me with respect to Nigeria.

Having spent a few days in Nigeria, l could write more than 1000 pages on what l have experienced so far. Majority of what l have seen and experienced are negative things.

In this year-2016, hopelessness pervades the country.

I am the man who cries when he writes about Nigeria. My heart bleeds. This was not the dream for Nigeria. Madness has overtaken this land.

There are uncountable issues to be addressed in Nigeria. I don’t even know where to start from. No one does. The level of destruction and general decadence is out of this world.

Things have finally fallen apart. Sadly, majority of the people don’t get it. No, they don’t understand the meaning of life.

If you are looking for the definition of selfishness, don’t look at the dictionary. Just take a trip around your neighbourhood. The selfishness of men and women have turned them to haters of fellow humans.

The government of Nigeria continues to fail the people, hence majority of Nigerians have been battered beyond repair.

Seriously, I don’t even know how to proceed with this essay. Nigeria is the dark country both figuratively and in reality. I have seen many long, dark nights and many boring afternoons of no electricity. It is almost totally absent so much that Mr. Fashola is now called the Minister for darkness.

I take long walks and l drive about town, what l see is [almost everybody doing the wrong thing] just to fulfil their own personal ambitions or missions for the day.

Nigeria is in a total mess.

I have thought about writing an open letter to President Buhari.

One of my suggestions to him would be that he needs to take a road tour of Nigeria and find out how the people are living and how they are suffering from day to day.  I will implore him to travel by land and water for once. He should fashy the plane for this fact-finding mission.

When l finally write the letter, l intend to point out the failure of the APC-Buhari mandate so far. A friend of mine got upset last weekend because he read somewhere that the APC still blames the PDP for the problems in Nigeria as if Nigerian politicians are different from one another.

Together my friend and l agreed that things didn’t have to get worse before they get better. The APC-Buhari mandate does not know what Nigerians are going through. If they know, how can they be so pretentious and callous?

The APC is just like the PDP (birds of the same feather) and together they have ruined the country and failed the people. The APC-Buhari mandate was not ready for its own change agenda. Under the APC-Buhari mandate thing fell apart very quickly and they are still falling like a pack of cards.

The verdict have been given on the APC-Buhari mandate: majority of Nigerians regretted their votes. This does not mean that they preferred the PDP-Jonathan government. They are just confused and confounded.

The people have concluded that Nigerian politicians are criminals who go to Abuja and other government offices across the country to steal and loot. It is this criminality that pervades the society. That’s one of the reasons why everybody looks at the other person with suspicious eyes and inqusitive minds.

Away from their pastors and imams the people you find in churches and mosques praying are the same people raining curses on the APC government. They have tagged this regime and they have pinned it down as the worst regime ever in terms of human suffering and the collapse of the economy.

Even my suggestion that the pdp-years would be the worst years of the Nigerian life has been dwarfed by the one year of APC-Buhari regime.

It’s getting worse with each passing day.

It does not matter what any APC-asslickers think or suggest. Everybody has reached their own walls and the chickens are eating one another’s intestines.

That is the people’s verdict-that this regime is the worst ever in Nigeria’s history in terms of human suffering and government insensitivity.

This is the verdict l’ve heard everyday on the streets of Lagos in the last 2½ weeks.

This is the verdict of the market men and women.

This is the verdict of the ones who have been thrown out of jobs and the ones who have never been gainfully employed.

This is the verdict of the men and women who run their businesses running on generators and plants round the clock.

This is the verdict of the old people who sit in front of their flats/homes everyday just steering at the sky hopelessly. Many old people in Nigeria are tired and without pension and care. They live like beggars.

Majority were not even civil serrvants. They did small businesses and they are now old and hopeless.

Some are not even very old. They are just jobless and hopeless. I see them and l cry. Nigeria is hell for them.

Even many young jobless people live like beggars too. They do unnecessary things and provide useless services and then beg for money. Someone can even remove a stone in your way and systematically ask you for money for lunch.

If your car breaks down on the road, some people will approach you for ”owo taku”-money that your car has broken down. These are some examples of the sad state of Nigeria.

In the anticipated letter to the presidency, l would point out to future governments in Nigeria that they need to set out at dawn and that they must make hay whilst the sun shines.

I intend to share the message of Mrs. Obi my secondary school teacher with President Buhari and the rest of the Nigerian population including the opposition-the PDP-that what is worth doing at all is what doing well. Mrs. Obi would be happy if l add her favourite line: nearly does not catch a bird!  We just have to get it right to make it work.

In addition to the letter to the presidency, l also intend to write a letter to the governor of Lagos state, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode. In fact, l intend to write a series of letter to this number one man of Lagos. I hope he’s warming up for them.

I understand from some quarters that the regime of Mr. Ambode has embarked on some road construction and repair. I saw some myself.  I don’t praise public servants. Becoming the governor was never an obligation. It will forever be a choice.

Still, there are many, many bad roads in Lagos state. Ha ba! You have to raise your car to the first floor before you can drive on Lagos roads that are full of ”wells”. The use of the phrase ”pot-holes” is an understatement. For me, l don’t want to live in a state where there is a single bad road. I want all the roads to be like paradise road. By applying sense and responsibility, we can do it.

Rather than put pressure on the state and local government on the need to provide good roads everywhere, almost all the citizens of Lagos have bought Jeeps or in the process of buying one. This is one of the remarkable but terrible characteristics of Nigerians-they don’t seek to address a problem, they beat about the bush.

If everybody in Nigeria buys a jeep, whose responsibility is it then to point out the failure of the government in providing good roads? Naija sha!

In my attempt to call the government to order, l will not leave the local government chairman of my community out of the picture. He or she is the nearest person on whose shoulders the burden of governance rest.

In that letter or essay which will be coming in a matter of weeks, l am going to inform the present sole administrator and the future local government chairman of my estate about the problems that l see in Festac Town and l will give suggestions for the solutions.

We cannot go on like this. Again, it appears that we all sleep and face the same direction. The society is full of many mad situations.

I will not be sparing the governor of Ogun state as my country home lies in his domain. In fact from what l heard about the Lusada road connecting Winners Chapel, l have very strong words for him as soon as l set to work on all my complains.

I wished l have all the time in the world in Nigeria. I want to start talking to the people again. I have done that in the past before l left Nigeria.

I have thought about blowing my whistle again just like old time when l led the young people in my community on many missions just to keep the sanity of our community. Now hell is on the loose.

I have thought of writing an open letter to the Nigerian Police because l am so scared of the guns pointing at me everyday on the roads. Why are the police pointing their guns at every motorist? What is going one? Are we at war?

I have thought of writing an open letter to the Federal Road Safety Commission to complain about the absence of a single sane driver on Lagos roads. Everybody is mad they tell me! I see it too. Nigerians don’t know how to drive, and l mean it. They just move the cars like crazy people.

It is so bad l have not seen a single Lagos driver who knows how to turn left at the end of the road. Rather then turn, Nigerian drivers make sharp manouver. There is an unwritten agreement that everybody on the road must be agressive and drive like someone who is crazy. How can we stop the madness?

I have thought about writing and talking to every single Nigerian alive about their civil responsibilities, about the meaning of life and how to pursue happiness.

I have thought about writing a letter to the Ministry of Transport on the need to withdraw all the Okada drivers in my community and march them onward to their villages to different farm settlements where their children can be educated and they as adults can be gainfully employed and productive.

People need to be reintegrated into normal existence as soon as possible. Things are getting out of hand and getting worse by the day.

The government is failing. The people are failing. I have never seen anything like this anywhere else.

In Nigeria, since my return, l have done a lot of things to fulfil my roles and obligations within my immediate family.

I have lost family members who are close to me including my mother.

In this country, we have all gotten our shares of the Nigerian tragic existence. What a sad story we all share.

I have been on live program on Channels TV. On Rubbin’ Mind, l made a case for the Niger Deltans. If we make their home paradise on earth, no one will be mending or avenging any mess. It’s as simple as that.

I have done a newspaper interview and l spoke about the need to re-introduce reading into the school time-table for children. I also made an argument for the maintenance and bulding of libraries across Nigeria to ensure that the reading culture is kept. Reading from books will remain the best way to extract knowledge and inspiration.

If l’m opportuned, l could do one more TV interview/discussion on my new book, the Madrilenian. It was launched in Stockholm on June 18 and will be launched and released in Nigeria on July 16.

Oh, l almost forgot, l have spent substantial part of my return to Nigeria visting my father. He is an old pal, a jolly good fellow at that.

I have spent quality time with my friends and acquaintainces. I have mingled with mechanics, vulcanizers, petrol station attendants, civil servants, traders, journalists, young and old people. I have walked the streets, walked into peoples’ homes unannounced and even chatted with strangers.

I have done my best and l keep my head high.

I know we can turn this country around. If we start from adopting a system of government that works (regional government for example), we will be able to re-educate our people in the different parts using our local culture and heritage as the re-starting blocks.

We can tap people’s energies, knowledge and creativity to put Nigeria back on the path of progress. We can bring back our people in foreign countries through reverse brain-drain.

Oh, what greatness we can achieve with sincerity, patriotism and honesty!

 

aderounmu@gmail.com

The Boy With The Golden Ears

When l arrived at the hospital, l met the nurses and did the necessary registration for the day. Then l waited. I waited, and waited and waited. When l got unsettled by the unusual long wait, I asked the nurses when it would be my turn to be attended to.

The Boy With The Golden Ears

By Adeola Aderounmu

Adeola_4years_old

Adeola Aderounmu

In 1986 as a 14-year-old boy, I took the bus and went to the General Hospital in Lagos for an ear operation. It was supposed to be the end to a series of visits and appointments at the hospital. When l was born, my ears were not ready. The defects were so obvious that my ear tunnels were usually loaded with yellowish fluids.

My childhood memories would be totally incomplete without the agonies of my mother who sat and watched my infant head decorated with 2 defective ears.

I remember my childhood, during the primary school days. I was always loaded with cotton wools at home and sometimes l took them to school. Soon l learnt how to wrap cotton wool around a broom stick and stuck them into my ears right and left.

On so many occasions we ran out of cotton wools. What did l do? I turned to the cover of my BIC pen. The lid became my best companion for several years. If l didn’t have anything on me, l had the lid of a blue, black or red BIC pen.

I stuck the object into my ears and excavated tons of fluids from them. When l found cotton buds later in life, l used them. They were valuable, like gold.

When l look back now, l am so grateful to my mother for all the efforts she put into cleaning my ears. I can remember she warned me against the sharp objects. Sometimes she just looked at me with pity because in my case, it was similar to living with someone with an addiction.

I mean with my ear problem, when the urge to put in something into my ears surfaced, there was nothing in the whole world you could do to stop me from inserting any available object into it.

I am also grateful that l wasn’t classified as a handicap because Nigeria could have destroyed me totally in that sense. I was lucky not to be categorized as someone who needed special education because of my hearing difficulties.

Prior to that day-the day of the operation, l’ve learnt to wake up at 5 a.m. in the morning, joined the bus and made the journey from our home in Festac Town to the General Hospital situated at Ikeja. We, that is my mother and l usually get off the molue buses at the PWD bus-stop and then trek beside the bridge all the way to the hospital.

It was an inconvenient journey. It was not totally safe because it was always still quiet with few people on the way by the time we walked beside the bridge towards the hospital. My estimation puts the journey at about a 40 km stretch, maybe 50. It could take an hour and a half with at least 2 or 3 bus connections.

On the day of the operation, my mother let me made the journey by myself. She would come after me later on. I don’t remember the sequence that led to the decision but if you are a mother of 6 children, you soon learn to make them independent at the appropriate age.

I would imagine now that l had won my independence by the time the doctors decided that l would be operated to correct my ears.

When l arrived at the hospital, l met the nurses and did the necessary registration for the day. Then l waited. I waited, and waited and waited. When l got unsettled by the unusual long wait, I asked the nurses when it would be my turn to be attended to.

The response l got was a shock, one that l will never forget.

This is the hospital l have visited several times with my mother. I had become a regular customer. In fact, one day l got a tiny piece of fish bone stuck to my throat whilst eating some delicious meal. I could not sleep that night and my mother had to take me to the ENT.

I knew the Ear, Nose and Throat department at the General Hospital in Ikeja like l knew the palm of my hand.

When they told me that they couldn’t find my file and the documentation that stated that l would be operated on that fateful day, l thought it was a “simple” mistake of misplacement. I thought they would find it and my ears would be operated.

When my mother arrived she was very upset. She gave me a correctional slap to express her anger. I cannot remember any other day before and after this fateful day that my mother had slapped me. She never did.

As a child l was very confused.

The nurses could not find my files. Who should have been slapped?

Now when l think back about the entire scenario, l can guess a few reasons why my files were missing.

One, the nurses were probably in shock that a boy showed up for his own surgery. Where was my mother who could pay the tips so my file does not go missing on this important day?

Two, from another perspective, were they expecting that my family would have made advance contact and advance payment prior to the day of the operation? How well did my parents realize that such opportunities must be “assured” by keeping a tab on the nurses and doctors to avoid disappointments?

Why did my file go missing on the day of the operation?

Three, did the doctors chicken out because they were incapable of carrying out the operation? The last statement is quite unlikely because my memories portray an array of competent, professional doctors with tools and instruments checking my eardrums, ear infections and throat as an out-patient.

Still, why didn’t the doctors remember my appointment? An operation should not be something that one should just forget like that? Why didn’t the doctors come to the waiting-room to look for me? Did the nurses tell them that l was no show?

What actually went wrong? My mother slapped me because she found me sitting calm and collected despite the scenario of likely missing my one-in-a-life time opportunity of correcting my defective ears. She probably knew at once that the chance will never come up again.

Many things must have gone through her mind when she arrived to hear the latest bad news about my ears. They easiest avenue to let go of her frustration was the slap l got. She probably thought l just got there and sat down without making any effort?

What can a 14-year-old do when the old nurses had thrown away or hidden his medical files?

I can’t remember ever getting angry at my mother. She was my god. She was the woman who taught me almost everything-how to read, how to write and then how to cook. My mother taught me humility and perseverance even in the face of difficulties and adversities.

So we went home. There was no operation in 1986. I continue to insert everything into my ears to take out the fluids and to “scratch” my ears when they itched. At some point, l used sticks and brooms to pick out dirt that are fastened to my eardrums.

I thought l had become an expert of my ear. If l was an ear doctor, l would be the best in the world.

I remember one day when I was picking my ear with a broom stick and suddenly somebody ran into me. I bled from my ear and of course that was also another opportunity to insert more things to bring out the blood. My addiction was hopeless.

I have been living in Sweden since 2002. I continued to suffer regular ear infection because of the vulnerability of my eardrums. So one day when l visited the doctor, he recommended an operation. I mean my ears were tested over a period of time and the results l saw were heartbreaking.

I have been straining myself almost all of my life to hear what people say.  The results l saw showed the threshold for normal hearing and my hearing. I have been deaf!

In 2007, 21 years after the nurses at Ikeja General Hospital botched my scheduled operation in Lagos, I finally did my ear operation, in Stockholm. One of my ears was already gone at that time! After the operation it became the better of the two. This means that in the real sense of it, the ear that was better before my operation in 2007 was itself gone! They were just deaf to different degree.

The operation was done at Danderyds hospital in Sweden.

At old age, which is fast approaching, l guess l know what my biggest challenges will be.

I have a bad hip from playing football in my teens and will definitely not be able to walk well. I can use some help. I will also be almost deaf on both ears. I will get some hearing aids but their usefulness for my deafness will be interesting to discover.

I decided to write elaborately on my deafness because it exposes a lot of problems in public health in Nigeria. I don’t know how my case was handled as a toddler. Could l have been operated as a baby and healed for life? That is probable.

But with time, I became aware that despite the availability of good health system in Nigerian up till the 1980s, there were lapses in the system that made it difficult to correct my hearing defect. That part was unfortunate.

An operation was botched. One friend told me my death on the doctor’s table was postponed! But I trusted the health system in Nigeria in 1986, even though the nurses were mischievous.  I blame the botched operation on the nurses. I think they were insincere and that is so sad to remember now.

What is the present state of health care delivery in Nigeria? In one word, disaster!

Nigerian politicians and policy makers must think about the citizens and work hard to ensure that health care delivery system is improved and adapted to the demands of a fully-blown rural and urban populations. The ordinary citizens must be given the benefits of affordable health care system where life is a priority.

As a teenager, I risk my life and travelled the miles. Then l walked the roads to the doctors in Lagos, Nigeria. I am the man with the golden ears.

If any Nigerian politician, including the president, wishes to travel abroad for medical reasons, they should be barred from doing so. In a country of more than 170m people, politicians who cannot deliver should be dismissed. They even deserved my mother’s correctional slaps.

aderounmu@gmail.com