1) Any sociologist who has followed meticulously the discussions generated by the Ada Jesus and Odumeje saga would not have any difficulties identifying the reasons for our economic woes and the reasons why Nigerian leaders play Ping-Pong with their citizens’ brains. The blame game has been rotating between Ada Jesus, Odumeje, Rita Edochie and Chi marine Temple but the underlying problem is hardly mentioned.
2) Ada Jesus, a comedian who was made famous by her friends and foes, was brought to Odumeje/Rita Edochie and the priest of Chi marine Temple by her family members to plead with the trio for forgiveness. The belief was that her utterances against these three could have been responsible for her ailment, and as such forgiveness is necessary to restore her health. In the videos that went viral the priest of Chi marine Temple accepted the apologies and forgave her. Rita Edochie after initial hesitations followed suit. Odumeje still believes that the young comedian must suffer for her “sins”. Historically, stories of this sort reminds one of the “dark ages” in Europe or the period of ‘witch-hunt’ (c.1450-1750), when superstition reigned over knowledge and reason in Europe. The truth is that the medical condition of Ada Jesus is not a strange one, though it may have gotten worse due to late detection and lack of proper treatment.
3) Comparatively in today’s Europe, there are thousands of people suffering from one vital organ failure or the other who have been living with them for so many years. As long as they remain faithful to the instructions of their doctors, they are stable. Such cases do not attract any social media noise. Of course, the insurance takes care of the bills, no matter how expensive. I know a taxi driver whose treatment amounted to over 100,000 Euros. He left the hospital healthy without paying a dime, owing or begging on social media!
4) Every now and then we see our respected and beloved Nollywood actors, who spent their healthy years making us happy, beg for money on social media to be transported abroad for treatment. Sad enough many of them hardly raise the money before they die. Thousands of other Nigerians without names go down the same lane without being reported. They are quietly buried and life continues. In a sane clime, the case of Ada Jesus should have opened the eyes of near-to-death Nigerians to the deplorable situation of our healthcare system. It should have opened our eyes to the fact that it could be anyone’s turn to be in the same situation like Ada Jesus. Not my portion, that is what we would say. But sickness, unfortunately, does not ask us of our portion before knocking on our doors.
5) In a clime where people go to school to acquire knowledge rather than largely become gossip bags, the anger should have been directed to the government that has sworn never to provide good healthcare facilities for the people.
6) Part of the outcome of the 2014 National Conference convoked by President Goodluck Jonathan (notwithstanding some of its shortcomings) would have addressed our poor healthcare system. Sadly, instead of improving on and implementing the report, the present government decided to “archive” it. As Ada Jesus is lying helpless, the present leader of the government that refused to implement the recommendations of the CONFAB is in London to see his doctors. In a society where people manure the roots rather than the leaves, the case of Ada Jesus should have been opportunity to renew the clamour for restructuring or a peaceful division of Nigeria. Yes, anyone who believes that Nigeria as it is currently structured will ever make quality health care accessible to every Nigerian needs his brain examined.
7) We live in a country where the citizens are not allowed to demand for their basic rights. Even the social media providers will harass you and threaten you with suspension and removal when you dare talk about the ills bedevilling our country. Consequently, Nigerians are left with nothing than the right to gossip and cast aspersions on their fellow victims of oppression.
8) It is no surprise that cheap gossips and nudes attract more viewers and likes than issues of serious national discourse. No foreigner who visits the Nigerian social media space will ever know that there is no single minute that someone is not being murdered or kidnapped or raped in Nigeria. Which foreigner will believe that as the social media was awash with Ada Jesus and Odumeje gossip that the herdsmen were slaughtering people in Ebonyi, and that Reno Omokiri was staging a protest in London asking Buhari to go back to Nigeria and fix the healthcare system? “Unless you heal the root of a problem, the pain will not go away. You can hide from it, but the problem stays until you dig deep”, Leon Brown once said.
9) Of what use is education if we cannot understand that problems are solved by rooting them out? What do we think is the importance of learning mathematics in school? Why are all university students subjected in the first years to do Philosophy (which is defined as the science of things through their ultimate causes)? What is the essence of demanding that all students must do a basic course in Logic? It is unfortunate that we do not make the connection between the courses and real life. We fail to apply them in how to make our society better. The lecturers themselves cannot make these connections and so cannot teach in a way that students can see the link between the town and the gown. The focus is on ‘passing the exam’. Full stop! The consequence is what we see today: noise, gossip, slander, cheap popularity, thuggery, superstition, deceit and gullibility, suffering and smiling, Ojumeje and Ada Jesus discourse.
10) In 1937, the 33 years old Nnamdi Azikiwe launched his _West African Pilot_, a newspaper which was used in promoting nationalism and fighting for independence from British colonial rule. Of course, he was vilified and threatened by the British government for using the media to sensitize his people on the need for freedom but he remained undeterred. During the Nigeria-Biafra war, it was through the media that the world came to know about the genocide that was going on without which more Biafrans would have died. In South Africa Apartheid would not have fallen if not for the media. Let us use the media in rooting out our problems. Let us stop searching on the branches what only exists at the roots.