The oppressive system that is on rampage in Nigeria continues to grow bolder and even more reckless with the passage of each political administration. The Nigerian in the lower cadre of life has never had it easy. He is the waste basket into which all forms of garbage are dumped. In his abject poverty, he is the one who is called to sacrifice for the nation in the face of economic impasse. But our political elites, prime enemies of the people and the nation itself, continue to live in abundant flow of wealth, never to be interrupted. This oppression has been extended to other areas in the Nigerian life. Docility has turned Nigeria into a jungle where the battle for survival is utterly fierce.
One of the traditions established by the political class is the unremitting trips to Europe, America and Asia in their desperate quest for ‘reliable medical treatment.’ Such is the towering value that our political oppressors attach to their own lives. And more disturbing is that Nigerians have ignorantly come to see these medical trips as normal. No, there is nothing normal about these trips! The act is heinous, roguish, deplorable, oppressive, and above all, it is a monumental injustice to indigent Nigerians who die daily on our own soil as a result of minor ailments that should have been prevented.
President Buhari left Nigeria for Europe on 19th January, 2017 for what was known at the time as ‘vacation’, before it was later rebranded ‘medical vacation’. Simple arithmetic shows that the president has been on European soil for more than one month since that departure, boosting the British economy and wrecking Nigeria’s. Buhari’s tourism has costs taxpayers millions, not in Naira but in British Pounds, when one put into consideration all the expenses for himself and his aides during this period, including the cost of maintaining the presidential jet on British soil.
Indeed, Buhari’s resort to seek medical treatment away from Nigeria is a confirmation of the failure and utter mismanagement that have come with his administration, especially at a time when his cohorts sing songs of recession. To say that Buhari has mismanaged public resources in Nigeria is a desperate attempt to be mild. Truth is that Buhari had no right as a public office holder to travel anywhere to seek treatment when he should have checked in at National Hospital, Igbobi; General Hospital, Marina; General Hospital, Surulere, and the rest of other public hospitals across Nigeria where his compatriots visit in times of health challenges.
Even on his sick bed in faraway Europe, Buhari must be told the truth that he is a failure who has not only disappointed the people but has recklessly mismanaged Nigeria. Politicians, with their self-acquired superficial memories, must be reminded that civilisation does not germinate like grasses in the middle of an unknown forest, it has always been the daily toil and sweat of people in their persistent quest for idealism, social advancement and justice.
In an ideal world, where the people are serious and things are done right, President Buhari should have been impeached – I was going to say banished for this grand mismanagement of public resources. But not in Nigeria where the normalisation of these monumental defects have taken root. For instance, we have seen very often how health and education ministers in Nigeria take their families to foreign hospitals and universities in search of first-class facilities. These ministers, with the connivance of other political actors, are the people deliberately militating against development in Nigeria.
The culture of politicians dying abroad and incurring additional expenses for the nation to fly their corpses into the country must stop forthwith. The death trap hospitals that have been raised here are the products of our political oppressors, they must therefore be part of the myriad tragedies that emanate thereof so frequently. Nigerians must rise and insist that all public ‘servant’ receive treatment in our public hospitals. No negotiation, no compromise!
In rounding off, I should like to ask a few questions on transparency, being one of APC’s deceptive promises during the 2015 campaigns.
1. How many millions (in British pounds) has Buhari’s treatment cost Nigerians so far (including feeding and everything else)?
2. How many millions (in British pounds) have we wasted on his aides during the period of this tourism?
3. How many millions (in British pounds) have we wasted to keep the presidential jet on British soil after more than one month of exiting Nigeria for medical tourism?
It is an open secret that the Buhari-led APC government is adept at telling well-refined lies, and so only documentary evidence will be accepted in responding to these questions.
I look forward to the day when a British Prime Minister, Her Majesty the Queen of England, American President, Russian President, French President and the rest of the world will troop to Nigeria to seek medical treatment and education. Until then, the likes of Buhari and his accomplices who have mismanaged and wrecked Nigeria since 1960 should be ashamed of themselves. In fact, it continues to be clear with the passage of each day that a revolution, capable of consuming these desperate oppressors, is the only way out.
Elias Ozikpu is a literary author and an activist.