Letter to Wame
You should be bewildered by this mail. We haven’t met. The closest we have come to physical contact was in the conference hall of Eko Hotels about four years ago. It was one of those lavish finale for the Farafina WritingWorkshop. I was still a medical student back then and it was delightful to drink free Nigerian Breweries booze whilst everyone else acted like discussing contemporary African literature was a great deal of fun.
Drinking beer was more fun; it still is. No regrets whatsoever; perhaps if I had paid more attention to the event happenings yeah, I would have noticed a black burly Nigerian man in crouches lusting after you. I can tell these things, not through telepathy, but by precise intuition, like how I know you retrieved this mail from your spam folder.
If you are active on social media (with lots of lousy Nigerian friends) you can guess why you are getting this solicitous mail from me. I came to you by chance, unlike Cash Daddy them. Like I earlier said, I am in the medical line—a Lagos-based resident doctor.
Anyway, I heard baffling news today. We (We being the body of doctors in Nigeria) are currently embarking on an industrial action. The strike is way into its second month. What are we striking for? Simple. In Botswana, who directs the health team of the hospital? I hope it is not the ward porter? Apparently, this is what has been legitimized by Nigeria’s responsible government. The ancillary staff ( Nurse, Laboratory scientists and pharmacists) of hospitals are now permitted to head the hospital.
How chaotic eh? How incongruous? How crass? Well you can’t be surprised by what comes out of President Jonathan’s Ijaw hat. The latest trick in his kitty is that he sacked 16,000 resident doctors and suspended residency training in the country. I doubt if he has the constitutional rights to enact this but I suspect this is one distracting ploy or a ditch in his seemingly inane plans at damning the nation.
The nation is damned anyway. BH (not Benson and Hedges) is ruling the North with unrivalled terror. More people have died in this latent war than some of the most significant epoch making political unrest this country ever experienced. The Chibok girls are still at large. The #BringBackOurGirls hashtag has been crushed in a cyber ashtray and understandably so, people have to go on with their lives. However, I feel bad for the parents of the children who have been slandered by the media for collecting monetary compensations from government. These parents do not have the closure of one who can account for the children he/she brought to life. Another psychiatric epidemic looms like the shell-shocked victims with mangled limbs, testimony to suicide bombings all over the North.
In the midst of such turbulent governance, the recent outbreak of the Ebola Virus in Nigeria and the striking doctors, my president found it important to sack 16 000 doctors and order every other medical staff to resume work at government hospitals pronto!
The news hit me in the middle of drinks with friends at the Ikeja City Mall. I lost appetite for everything around me, not because I panicked for my fate that the president has terminated my appointment, but that the president has:
- An uncanny ability to field the most bizarre solutions to practical problems
- His flock of sycophants who advise him, most notably the dis-honourable Minister of Health
- A staggering myopia that does not let him see budding problems staring back at him but sees himself returning to power in a few months time
A similar occurrence happened in Lagos state sometimes ago, Wame, and it took a while for it to be sorted out, but harmony was eventually restored and peace was allowed to reign. I have no doubt that this truck load of national shit will be cleaned but how soon is my major concern. I don’t have time to continue to patronize myself by being faithful to the fatherland. Its gift of a green passport alone is an international embarrassment.
I hear doctors live like kings and princes in places like Namibia and Botswana. I think I prefer the sound of Botswana, the country that gave the world her literary matriach, Bessie Head. That “Wana” suffix reminds me of the way Lagos OAPs americanize their I-want-to. Maybe people in Botswana speak American accents. From what I hear about your women, they are big breasted and generously built behind. I don’t have anatomical specifications for women, but my people say that if you are going to feast on toads, go for the really big ones.
Nigeria will not miss me. I just don’t want to have to jump queues at the American embassy and stammer about why I should be let into God’s own country. I love small towns. Botswana is a small county.
It will do.
I will be happy.