Corruption and Bad Governance as the Bane of the Health System Development in Africa.

The continent of Africa, to the eyes of the uninformed in the western world, is a beehive of poverty, diseases, and conflicts. I speak with the mindset of someone who has spent substantial time in the United States talking to groups and individuals to provide education about the deplorable situation of the health care system in Nigeria, my country. I have discussed  ways in which people in the United States can contribute in helping Nigerians to develop our infrastructures. I find amazing the huge number of persons in United States who are willing to come to our aid, even in small measures. Many are even willing to relocate to Africa to provide help as well as to experience the amazing beauty of nature in its entirety, and our rich culture and heritage-. the pride of Africa
Many Americans have asked  me recurring questions that burden my heart.  Those questions include,"What is the problem with African Leaders?" "Why can't African Leaders learn to stop stealing from their people and to work to develop their countries?" and "Why is there no dignity in governance in Africa?"  When posed such questions, one can easily imagine the uncomfortable position I have to deal with.
Come to think of it, why is corruption prevalent in Africa and  endemic in Nigeria? I agree that even the developed countries have their measure of corruption, at least those found to be corrupt in these countries always pay the price. In Nigeria, institutional corruption has become the norm. Each day we are inundated with news of the fragrant stealing of our collective resources by our leaders. They tend to do this shamelessly and use the same communities that they have impoverished to serve as a shield for them against prosecution. People in these communities are being tricked into believing that those leaders are victims of  political victimization and marginalization. These corrupt politicians often times use tribal sentiments to their favor, in causing disaffection and communal crises. They use the same loot so acquired to pollute the judicial system. It has come to a point where fighting corruption in Nigeria has become extremely difficult as almost every past and present public office holder is culpable.
I would not have been bordered with this shameful situation if the health care system in Nigeria, with all the oil money of over five decade, was world class. Or if our educational system competes favorably with that of advanced countries. Or if the par capita income and wage profile in Nigeria was such that encourages our best brains to remain back home and continue to contribute towards national development.
I am bordered because the disease burden in Nigeria is essentially preventable for the most part. It is hard to believe that in 2010, one of the leading cause of deaths in Nigerians is preventable illnesses such as Typhoid fever.  Nigerian children still dies from measles, diarrhea, malnutrition and other preventable illnesses. Pregnant women still dies in large numbers during child birth because of lack of access to quality health care services. In 2010, access to clean water is still a major issue in Nigeria. In 2010, one of the major issues in the health care system in Nigeria is still wages disputes. While the elected officials had the temerity to ascribe to themselves millions of dollars in annual wages for doing next to nothing other than mere petty politicking, without any serious interest at pushing for reforms in the polity. Health care workers are still begging for at least an opportunity to get meaningful wage for their labors.
It is shameful to see our late president being held captive in a far away land, just because we do not have a good health care system that would have saved his life as well as reduce the financial burden to the nation. Some one said that the evil that men do, lives with them. My take to this is that by the time the evil men realize their evils, they may have been far gone.
There is a need for intellectuals, professionals of African decent to come together, and say No to bad governance in our nations. We have been here for so long. We need to rise up and speak out. The hope of the African continent dwells on this generation. We cannot afford to disappoint. I have been privileged to meet lots of intelligent and forthright emerging African Leaders in the course of my travels. Among these are also Nigerians who have excelled in their professional endeavors but are unwilling to go back to Africa to contribute in the development of our nations due to these inherent problems.
I have to say this, its is only Africans that can develop Africa. Little by little we can all make that difference.

 Dr Osita Okonkwo

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Hi Dr Osita Okonkwo

This is a really nice piece. The issue with Nigeria is the lack of willingness to revolt. People are afraid to die for a just cause. Based on your assessment what is the best way forward? I would like to see a group of Nigerians forming a party that the main objectives is to realise all the goals highlighted. I have seen some groups in the UK, which is just the extension of the thieves in Nigeria. If there are any such group in existence, I will be interested in joining. Enough is enough for all those thieves parading as leaders. What makes my stomach turn is the audacity by these thieves continually coming back over and over to contest elections. People are divided using religious, Tribal sentiments. This was evidenced by the paedophile Senator that abuses a 13 year old girl. I was discussing the corrupt practises, endemic in Nigeria, with my colleague at work and he cannot understand how the people (Nigerians) allow these unscrupulous thieves to get away with it. Why is there no uprising? This was his question. I told him that the people are afraid to die as they enjoy life.
I would like to agree with you for the most part.

What makes our situation almost hopeless is that not only is the system corrupt but it is also actively corrupting. It will not surprise me if our diasporan saviours arrive only to become the rogues and charlatans we are trying to free ourselves of.

We have among the house of reps fighting today (in full view of camera over lucre) Nigerians who were educated in the best schools in Europe and America.I have had opportunity to interact with some before they got into government and I can tell you that the desire to bring about change was genuine. Now they have joined the maurading gang devising ingenious laws aimed at legitimizing loot acquisition and sharing-nothing else. As ongoing events in the House will show, there can be no true honor among thieves.

My point is that unless there is a candid and honest will to confront this institutionalized corruption from the very top all attempts to bring about change by any group of people will suffer lethal frustration. Our diasporans can help by taking issues to the Government of their host countries to which looted funds are ferried and where our noveau rich politicians enjoy their spoils to derecognize visibly corrupt Governments and if necessary apply intelligent sanctions that will discourage their perverse behaviour.
@Shehu, My brother, the fight against corruption and bad governance in Nigeria is that which only the willing heart would do. Like you rightly pointed out, our people love life so much that they are unwilling to loss it, even while fighting a just cause. The politicians easily manipulates the poor masses based on this premise. There may probably be such a group of diaspora Nigerians. I am not aware of such yet.
@ Kay Cee, You are absolutely right my brother. No one would have believed that the Speaker of the House of Rep with all his exposures would be entangled with such disgraceful behaviors as we are witnessing among these Rep members. I believe that the problem is more with the electorate than with the elected officials. The Nigerian electorate lack the political will to hold these leaders accountable. Until we empower the electorates, things will never change.
Aondoaaka and his family banned from US.

This is what I am talking about. Diasporans in every European, Asian and American country can contribute to our fight for a new and corruption-free Nigeria by agitating that their host govts take the same step. Resources, talent and skill are not in short supply in Nigeria. In order words we are a rich country and a rich people that have been short-changed by gangster leaders.
@Kay Cee, you are absolutely right. Our leaders exploit the opportunity of governance to commit all kinds of evil. They steal, they kill, and they even end up ruining the lives of our youths, whom they engage in violence using all kinds of means. They have ruined our health care system, destroyed our educational system, and have now made it impossible for the masses to elect credible leaders of their choice. The case of area-boy, Michael Aondoakaa is very pathetic. He was so corrupt and arrogant that it stunk to high heavens.

What the US government have done in Michael Aondoakaa's case is commendable. It is echoing the wishes of the Nigerian people. These pen-robbers of our collective wealth should not be allowed to enjoy such stolen wealths in the comfort of these nations. They and their kins should be made to stay here and account for their deeds in and out of office.
May God bless Nigeria.


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