or several weeks now yours truly has been absent from the writing beat - forced to focus on difficult circumstances of life partly created by the failure of the Nigerian system that has no plan for medical care and the well being of the people beside the overseas treatment the people in Aso Rock avail themselves and their heavy, state funded, self-prescribed and procured indulgences of office. Malaria is very much a deadly disease and it continue to kill, incapacitate and mutilate children in a nation that sells more than 2 million barrels of crude oil each day. The state of Primary Health Care and Teaching Hospitals in Nigeria are terrifying and desperate. The nation and its people have been going through nightmares and hardships created by the very people who run the nation's affairs in Abuja and who are making a hell of doing it to the full advantage of themselves and the anguish of Nigerians. Is Nigeria being run for the benefit of the people and to ensure development, progress and prosperity for all and sundry? I do not think so. It is so easy to see that the nation is being run to the ground as personal interests of Goodluck Jonathan, his wife, errand boys, sidekicks and co-travelers take higher priority over the well being of the nation and its people. Mrs. Jonathan had a needless, hopeless, and self-serving Peace event in Abuja at a time when the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) was on strike and hundreds of thousands of Nigerian youths are idling away at home and exposed to all sorts of danger. The peace of the graveyard is what Aso Rock desire and that is what they will get. ASUU has been on strike since July 1, 2013 over the failure of the government to fulfil the 2009 Agreement entered into by the government and ASUU. Goodluck Jonathan and his town criers are behaving like all is well in the land as they plot and scheme around banal matters in self-service and for personal gains.
These are perilous times when university undergraduates in federal universities are homebound and greatly exposed to the antics of a free mind, very impressionable young minds. They have been sent home and their schools shut down because the government has refused to live by an agreement it freely entered into which was expected to improve academic freedom, academic enhancement, research and training. The students are not sure when the government will wake up and begin to fulfil an agreement it reached with ASUU, and allow them to return to the classroom. It is not certain anymore if federal universities can produce well-rounded graduates considering the regime of frequent strikes and campus lockdowns. If the federal university system continues to produce graduates like Goodluck and Patience Jonathan then the future of our nation is bleak. If the couple find it very hard to understand simple issues of daily living and even tougher to reason logically despite their claim to paper certificates from the University of Port Harcourt, then you know federal universities are in steady decline. Ensuring that education is well funded and research and development heavily supported and encouraged is central to national development, and if Jonathan still has not realized this then we have every reason to be worried. A huge problem such as the closure of universities ought to have taken central stage in the plans of Jonathan, his education minister and the National Assembly, even if the junior minister in the education ministry, Mr. Nyesom Wike has been very busy fomenting trouble and causing anarchy in Rivers State, and doing so with impunity and the support of the Nigeria Police. Even Jonathan has been very busy causing bad blood and chaos in Rivers State, fighting to control the political contraption, the PDP, at war with some governors of the PDP and as such distracted, leaving him unable to address and focus on a very important national issue such as ASUU strike. Perhaps we are the ones who consider ASUU strike as a very important national issue because ASUU strike may mean nothing to Jonathan; it may be the least of his worries. It could even be the reason why he was recently tagged the kindergarten president. Kindergarten, ah ha! That is like more like it - a name that rightly and properly fit Jonathan's cap, the feeding bottle cuddling baby chief. Of course that is beside the ogogoro and other hot drinks that dull the brain of the kindergarten inside Aso Rock. Education is the passport to the future, according to Malcolm X, but not in Nigeria, because in Nigeria education is the passport to nowhere, maybe even the passport to unemployment.
Bill Clinton as American president slogged it out with the Republican-controlled Capitol Hill in the face of a total shut down of government because he stood his ground and refused to allow the budget allocations for education and medical care, particularly Medicare and Medicaid, to be slashed by the Republican controlled House. Jonathan might learn one or two things from Nigel Hamilton's book, Bill Clinton: Mastering the Presidency, although I think that may be too late since Jonathan's days in Aso Rock are numbered. The republican succeeded in shutting down the American government for twenty-one days, but it was Bill Clinton who succeeded at the end of the day in safeguarding Medicare, Medicaid and education. Clinton got the full support of the American people in the fight to preserve the budget allocations for Medicare, Medicaid and education because education was considered the nation's priority to ensure "competitiveness and living standards" of the American people in a new information age.
But Jonathan does not care about education and health care; his priorities are narrow and forever selfish like those of a give me, give me toddler in the kindergarten class. Sadly, in Nigeria the people are determined to make education a national priority while Jonathan prefers making it unimportant and unnecessary. Even Jonathan's un-elected prime minister and minister of finance insisted that the government does not have the money to fund education, the same minister who has never complained about the excessive budget allocation to Aso Rock and the National Assembly. Education is a burden to Jonathan and health care is also unimportant otherwise things would have been different and the ASUU crisis would never have happened. Nine long weeks since the strike started there appeared to be no solution in the horizon. The students are fed up, very unhappy and with nothing to do, and their parents are sad and angry about a regime that so fend for itself exceptionally well it forgot that the funds they are wasting and looting actually belonged to the people whose major needs they have refused to provide for.
One major duty that endeared most Americans to Bill Clinton was his desire and determination to provide for the health care needs and education of children, women, seniors, the poor and students. Which leader who is a father and an uncle will even close his eyes to the closure of universities for one day because he did not do right by those universities and their teachers? It is the people who are fighting and pleading that Goodluck Jonathan should support and protect education, pleading that he should demonstrate his commitment by seeing to it that enough funds are provided and voted to train and develop our youths. Here is the same Aso Rock tenant who wanted billions of naira voted for his wife's hopeless project, and this leaves you wondering and asking why he is occupying the Villa.
The two most important sectors of the nation - education and health care - are spiralling into disarray and steadily grinding to a halt, yet the response of Jonathan is a do-nothing kindergarten defiance, a response that ensure that Jonathan's family get the best treatment overseas that money can buy while the people suffer in hospitals where there are no tools to work and heal with and no drugs. LUTH is so bad that patients have to bring their own gloves, plaster and bandage; otherwise they will not be attended to. Admission rooms are no more than the room of death and final passage. Just a week ago a relative was at LUTH and another relative has been attending the Igbobi Orthopaedic Hospital for several weeks now. The one who attended LUTH until last week and who suffers from diabetes and stroke cannot find diabetic nutrition/meal that are readily available in other decent societies; Glucerna, Boost Glucose Control, Boost Diabetic, Diabetisource, Glytrol and Resource Diabetishield that provide meal and nutrition for sufferers of diabetes - some of whom are unable to swallow - are not available in Nigeria. The drugs needed to treat simple conditions and diseases are also not available in the hospitals. We have to buy these drugs and special meals and nutrition drinks and ship them from North America to Nigeria. And the young lady who needs food supplements to aid her recovery and improve her health condition cannot find the food supplements and nutritional drinks anywhere in Nigeria. She needs Ensure Plus (which is provided by the NHS in the UK free of charge to children who require it), Boost Nutritional Pudding, Boost Plus, and Boost Breeze to aid her continued well being, but none of these products is available in Nigeria. However, Jonathan and the legislooters at the National Assembly drive the latest sports utility vehicles (SUV) and limousines that money can buy. Luxury is readily available in Nigeria while basic health products and medicine are not. You wonder what kind of a nation is this whose self-appointed leaders lives in a bubble and are masters of self-delusion, kings of denial.
The federal universities should not be closed a day longer. Rather than having the time, energy and resources to wage war against the Rivers State governor and some other governors in his own party Jonathan should focus on pertinent issues that are very urgent and require immediate resolution and solution? He must care about the exposure of the students to danger as they travel to and from school, as they travel here and there, on needless trips made possible by forced school closure in an effort to mitigate the frustration of school lock-down. Two months and counting yet this strike action has not gained the attention of the National Assembly! This is an assembly that cost the nation far more than all the universities put together. No one can claim to be serving the people when the people he claimed to be serving are going through so much hardship, poverty, unemployment, and the youths are locked out of their university campuses, and the person serving them is not working hard enough to improve the lives of the people or bring succour to them where their shoes pain the most. The agreement with ASUU must be fulfilled in its entirety now to allow universities to reopen and academic life resumed.