Nigeria: In Buhari’s Practice, Only The Doctor Gets Better; Patients Die

On Awolowo road, “Round about”,Ikeja, Lagos, Usman 19,sits daily ,looking at his wheelbarrow from which he sells Pineapples.  He is no longer wearing his usual smile. He has also stopped calling me Jonathan,  a reference to Nigeria’s former president which he doesn think is a bad name anymore. It used to be a taboo to him.
“Usman, wetin happen”? ,I ask. He ignores  me and sprinkles  water on his pineapples, longing for customers.  
“Pineapple, e don cos, people no buy”? He replies much later. 
“Why”? I ask.
“Buhari, I don close boda”. Usman relies on selling pineapples supplied from Cootonu, Benin republic. The only other place he can get supplies is Edo state, but the journey is far. And he will have to pay bribes at the battery of check points mounted by Nigeria’s police. 
“Wetin you go do now”? He doesn’t know. And nothing to look forward to back home in Hadeja, Jigawa state. His village is ravaged by bandits and herdsmen. 
Ruth, 17, is writing a CV and only has a high school certificate. I get curious and ask who for. “For myself sir” .She replies. 
“What about university” .Her single mother already has a daughter in a university and Ruth and a younger brother must earn money ” to help out mum”. The young girl’s education has been put on hold because of a faulty system, just the same way Usman now only snarls  at people. 
In 2014 and ’18, a year each before Mr Buhari’s elections, young men like Usman were “empowered” with wheelbarrows and shoe shine boxes. And as for Ruth, Mr Buhari’s party promised her free education “at all levels”. Young man and woman now live with a crippling disappointment because they were born in the wrong place at the wrong time. 
There must be something fundamentally wrong with a hospital where the patients don’t get better but the doctors always do. There must be a fatal flaw in the practice. Usman and Ruth,are just two casualties of Mr Buhari’s kind of clinic. 
 Nigeria’s current socio-economic nadir has its roots in a quark remedy  that was doomed to fail precisely because of wrong choice of personnel. Those who lead Nigera are simply unsuited for the job. Pure and simple. 
Mr Buhari has closed the nation’s border with Benin republic because he claims that ” there is too much smuggling of rice through that route”. His government also tells the world that Nigeria has attained self sufficiency in food production.  Why it has not occurred to Mr Buhari and the interests he serves that nobody believes him if only because no nation on earth is self sufficient in food production does not surprise me.Let’s not forget we are discussing a clinic where those who perform operations are not even doctors. 
Of course, it is not true that Nigeria produces enough rice to feed its increasing population.  What’sworse, Nigeria doesn’t know its own population and impoverished people from Chad,Niger, Cameron and Benin republic cross into the country daily in the hope of a better life that no longer exists. 
What is far worse? All the systems,called “Institutions” here,  that Mr Buhari could destroy in his first term have been killed. 
The national assembly is a useless echo chamber of yes men and women.  The courts are dead. Mr Buhari has just re-appointed Adamu Adamu as minister of Education whose first term was woefully inadequate. 
Cabinet ministers must now report to Abba Kyari, his chief of staff, which makes you wonder what exactly is Nigeria’s system of government.  Ministers and heads of agencies actually fear Mr Kyari. 
What’s far worse again? Mr Buhari is petroleum minister.  In 4 years, he didn’t attend one OPEC meeting and like before him, NNPC, doesn’t remit money to the central bank.  Instead ,it reports quarterly losses. It matters that Mr Buhari is petroleum minister because crude oil accounts for more that 80 percent of the nation’s earnings. Mr Buhari doesn’t know how much, for instance, a barrel of crude should sell in order to balance the budget. 
Instead, Nigeria is neck deep in debts, domestic and foreign.  Its 2019 budget was passed in July and the government is shopping for more loans to fund it. And nobody is ready to give out more money because Nigeria is now a “risky frontier”.
Nigeria is most likely to lose about 20 percent of its external reserves, $9 billion, to an Irish firm, R$ID. And that will be cataclysmic. 
Nigerians famed for their thick skins are over stretched. Killings and kidnappings have only increased with some government people being complicit. 
 Usman can’t go back home. He will join the army of the idle from the North lining the railways in Lagos and Ibadan. He will most likely experiment with cheap drugs and then ,crime.  
Ruth might get a very low paying job. She will be paid the first and second month to get her hooked.  If her employer is a male, her job description will widen.  Something that is not good for a girl who wants  to go to school but can’t afford to do so.
The reason for this tragedy is that in Nigeria,  the clinic is about the doctor; not the patient.  And it doesn’t look like the practice will change. 

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