Conversation with KB

Life expectancy in Nigeria is 56 years. This makes us the country with the 4th lowest life expectancy index in the world, struggling with Lesotho, Chad, Central African Republic. It is important to note that life expectancy in war-torn Somalia is higher than that of Nigeria.

The figure of life expectancy in Nigeria is real and permit me to illustrate this with 2 stories. Both are sad but one is sadder. I will begin with the saddest.

I was with my personal physician and he told me a story of man, who visited the clinic he once worked for. The man was referred to a cardiologist after preliminary checks. He coughed out the money for the test and received a prognosis that required an urgent attention.

Here was the man’s dilemma. Though he needed to start his treatment immediately, the dealine for the payment for his daughter’s WAEC fee was that same day and if paid for the treatment he would not be able to pay the WAEC fee.

Despite the doctor’s stern warning, the man opted to pay the daughter’s WAEC fee.

He told the doctor he was expecting some money in the next 3 days and he would return to start treatment once he got it.

This man in his early fifties never returned. He died within 3 days.

KB is my faithful and hardworking car mechanic. He has been having a running and scary battle with his health for a while now and the same has become fragile.

I called him this morning and KB is down again. He is in fifties. I asked him what the issues were and he alluded to the acute stress of daily journeying from his home in Ogun State to his Ilupeju workshop.

The general hospitals are not available to serve KB and his likes and as a hardworking Nigerian he cannot afford the services of the private hospitals in his area.

Since 1948, the World Health Organisation submitted, ‘health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.’

In the absence of democratised medical services and the active and ubiquitous presence of other social variables, which negate the definition of health by WHO, life expectancy will go lower and lower and only those who can pay for their medical bills within or outside Nigeria will continue to boast of health.

I am truly worried for KB and seriously thinking of how to support him. But more than that, I am worried for Nigeria, which has become a land with very a morbidly and uncanny creative capacity in devising multiple ways to devour the lives of its people.

Question: shall we continue like this? If no, shall lamentations alone change our nation? If by the lamentations of the people, a nation does not prevail against an irredeemable Nigerian ruling elites and their operating system, when shall be begin to organise ourselves into a formidable force of a mass movement, which is able to galvanise a Public Will for our deliverance from Social, Political and Economic manacle, noting that in the words of Montesquieu, ‘power does not shift except for superior power.’

I am Taiwo AKINLAMI and this is my SOCIOLOGUE today.

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