For anyone who is familiar with the yoruba word: ‘akotileta’, you will understand the point of view of the Minister Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige that indeed, you don’t need to have surplus before generously exporting doctors.
The position of Mr Ngige can also be compared with that of the prodigal son in the Bible who sold the treasure of his father to foreigner and lavished the money. Meanwhile, the prodigal son’s story was better than the tale of Mr Ngige. Even though the prodigal son had intention of greatness, he quickly returned home when he realised that the hope to successful life had turned sorrowful journey.
This is not the case of Mr Ngige. For him, he is an example of ‘akotileta’; one who is so unenterprising as to live only by selling the inheritance rather than generate new wealth. Anyone with the trait of ‘akotileta’ always share the characteristics of two other yoruba words which are ‘oponu’ (an ignoramus who appears confused in his action) and ‘akindanidani’ (anyone with difficulties to act in a rightful manner).
Perhaps, all of these are the characteristics of Nigeria’s Minister of (Un) employment. At first, Mr Ngige was reckless with his position that he was unconcerned about the migration of Nigerian doctors to other countries, claiming they were a source of foreign exchange.
“If you have surplus, you export. It happened some years ago here. I was taught chemistry and biology by Indian teachers in my secondary school days. There are surplus in their country and we also have surplus in the medical profession in our country. I can tell you this. In my area, we have excess.
“Who said we don’t have enough doctors? We have more than enough. You can quote me. There is nothing wrong in them travelling out. When they go abroad, they earn money and send them back home here. Yes, we have foreign exchange earnings from them and not just oil”, the white bearded man simply said without giving any evidence to back his claims.
Few hours after, Nigerians online rubbished him and multiple fact checks by different platforms put Mr. Ngige into shame with fact and figures showing that the (dis) honourable Minister lied.
I have been made to understand that assertive sources cause more harm than good to humanity. Instead of coming to the public to tender apology for spreading fake news and misinformation, Mr. Ngige in his wisdom came out the next day to brag on how he has been a medical doctor since 1979. What is the connection between years of experience and this subject of discourse?
While Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) and the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) disagreed saying World Health Organisation prescribes a doctor-patient rate of 1 to 600. NMA said Nigeria has 40,000 doctors caring for 200million citizens. (Meaning 1 doctor to 5000 patients). Some satirists argued for Mr Ngige that perhaps, he was talking about native doctors, ‘iya agbebi’, ‘woli woro’ and ‘alfa sule’ as well.
If Mr. Ngige included the native doctors in his statement, he would have gotten standing ovation from Nigerians because he may have the statistics of herbalists not known to an average citizen.
I have read about Adolf Hitler and how Joseph Geobbels, one of the then German politicians performed perfectly well as ‘Minister of Propaganda’. This is the case with Mr Ngige who has earned notoriety for his careless disregard for truth and his ability to manipulate the media. To score an “A” in this practice, Mr Ngige should have argued using the popular Nigerian adage that “it is from home that you prepare yourself to appear beautiful to the public”. At least, President Muhammodu Buhari (a public official always on a private visit to UK) will be glad to see a Nigerian attending to him in London hospital. That’s how a real ‘akotileta’ is expected to think.
Anyone who has drank from the water of history won’t be surprise to know that many Nigerian politicians smoke weed and drink ‘ogogoro’ before speaking with the electorates. Mr Ngige’s case may not be different. But as expected, no amount of criticism can stop him from being appointed to a bigger position. This is Nigeria!
Nigeria is a bus with many drivers and If Wole Soyinka was applauded years back for saying that drivers who drive recklessly should be psychologically examined, the political drivers of this country should also be examined psychologically if indeed, we want to stop celebrating mediocrity.
Adejumo Kabir is a student journalist at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife. He tweets @AdejumoKabir2