Politics is indeed a game of deception. An act of politicking lies, propaganda, self-reflection and fake promises. This is what we see in Nigeria’s political landscape where most politicians hardly fulfill what’s in their manifesto and what they promised during their campaigns and rallies.
Before Muhammadu Buhari was ushered in as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria after the decisive defeat of his predecessor, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan at the 2015 General Elections, he promised to ban medical tourism to other countries. It is indeed abysmal that the same man who made the promise to put an end to the frequent trips for medical treatment abroad is the same man who has been going to the United Kingdom (his second home) consistently in order to seek for amelioration to his health complications.
The president in 2010 reprimanded Late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua for his medical trip to Saudi Arabia and called for his resignation. Today, Buhari is on the seat of power and he has shown to us his double standards as he is now of the “oga’’ of foreign medical trips.
President Muhammadu Buhari before the 2015 General Elections also promised Nigerians that he would take the government-owned hospitals to a world-class level by 2019, but here we are today still battling with the degenerating health sector and the continual industrial actions by health workers.
Despite the billions of naira, which totalled up to 6.4 billion naira, that have been spent over the years on the Aso Rock Clinic since the President took over the mantle of leadership in 2015, he still continued with his frequent medical trips abroad. The budgetary allocation for the clinic was also higher than the total amount of money given to healthcare centres in all tertiary institutions across the country.
From 2016 to 2018, the President travelled to the United Kingdom to treat his common ‘‘persistent’’ ear infections. This action by the president provoked many Nigerians, and he was told to do the needful to the country’s health sector. Since he assumed office in 2015, the President has spent 200 inconsecutive days receiving medical treatment at the UK.
In 2018, the President disparaged the negative impact of the strike on the health sector. In 2019, he hypocritically complained and expressed grief that Nigeria had lost 400 billion naira annually to medical trips abroad. This was the same complaint he made on the billions of dollars spent on medical tourism by Nigerians before he eventually became President.
Failure of the president to end the unnecessary medical trips provoked a leading Nigerian doctor, Mr. Osahon Enabuele in 2016 to accuse the president of breaking his promise to stop Nigerians from going to other countries to seek for medical attention and also criticised the president for his medical trips to the United Kingdom. Failure of the president to address the needs of the health workers in the country had led to their incessant strike actions.
The president had in 2017 promised that his administration would increase their investment in the health sector in order to hinder the loss of its medical professionals to other countries. The budget for the health sector over the years had increased under the Buhari-led administration but the cost of healthcare per citizen is still very low and insufficient. The President of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Prof. Innocent Ujah, at the 8th Virtual Biennal and Scientific Conference and Annual General Meeting of the Medical Women Association of Nigeria (MWAN), Kaduna State Chapter that held in November 2021, disclosed that the country lost 40000 of its doctors registered in the Medical and Dental Council to other countries and urged the government to boost the health sector and curb brain drain and health tourism.
Many times have Nigerians expressed their dissatisfaction. Series of protests were held against the President’s incessant travels to the UK to cater for his health and called on him to do the needful to the health sector. In 2019, the group, Global Coalition for Security and Democracy in Nigeria (GCSDN) led by Gabriel Agbontaen, staged a protest at the Abuja House in the UK to clamour for the president’s return home to fix the public health system.
People from the political opposition also staged a protest against the president. In 2021, a stalwart of the People’s Democratic Party, Reno Omokri led a group of people to harass the President out of London for his neglect of the country’s health sector and called on the president to build more quality hospitals.
The country’s educational sector has also been rendered pauperized and the government isn’t giving it the much attention that it deserves.
President Muhammadu Buhari representing Nigeria at a Global Education Summit that held in the UK on July 2021 said, “Anybody who misses the opportunity of education will miss everything because you cannot succeed outside your educational qualifications.”
No Nigerian Youth in his or her sane mind wants to miss any educational opportunity but the Buhari-led Administration are working against that as they are hell-bent on making education unaffordable at the public tertiary institutions which are owned by the Federal Government.
In 2018, the Federal Government recommended that tuition fees be increased to 350,000 naira for undergraduate students of Arts and Humanities and 500,000 for those in Sciences. The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) who for close to 3 decades have been fighting for the survival of the educational sector, rejected the government’s proposal. That same year, the Federal Government also proposed the Establishment of an education bank that would give the students a loan of 1 million naira per session. The Union similarly rejected this proposal on the grounds that the students if able to secure a job cannot start a life while paying a loan of 4-6 million. Considering the high rate of unemployment in the country, payment of the loan would have been very hard for the students and their parents who served as sureties.
In 2021, the issue on the increment in tuition fees was raised again by the federal government. The government proposed 1 million naira per annum loan to students which would be paid with interest at the end of their schooling.
This shows that this administration simply doesn’t care about the rot in our health and educational sector. As for the defenders, social media stalwarts and die-hard fans of the Buhari-led administration, who are cognitively biased to see what’s glaring, you can keep defending their ineptitude.