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The president’s departure also coincided with the downing of tools on April 1 by a large crop of doctors under government employ over unpaid salaries and emoluments since December.
After a series of untoward statements from Chris Ngige, a federal government delegation last Friday met with officials of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) at the ministry of labour in Abuja in a bid to resolve the dispute.
The strike was called off shortly after. Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour, who is a doctor himself, had during an interview on Channels Television penultimate Friday threatened the striking doctors with the ‘no work, no pay’ rule just a day after the strike commenced.
The equation of such action by the executive amounted to nothing less than bullying of resident doctors after they had been poorly treated. Out of about 43,000 doctors in the country, that a whopping 16,000 of them who are residents could down tools for 9 days before being able to reach an agreement with the government shows unseriousness on the part of our leaders.
The stranger thing about the whole fiasco has evolved into the perpetual nonchalance being shown by the presidency to issues of national importance while still showing a preference for personal goals.
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That Buhari could travel to the U.K in the middle of a Doctors’ strike and leaving the health institution at home in a dilapidated state is akin to giving the middle finger to the entire nation. That as long as the president is healthy and being taken care of in the U.K, what fate befalls the rest of countrymen is no concern of the president.
A testimony to the rot in the healthcare scene was revealed when the president’s driver who recently died could not be given proper medical attention due to the condition of the State House clinic after he was reportedly tortured.
The tone-deafness of the presidency to issues of national importance is not a new thing, but it is rather strange that even significant voices in the country, as well as the collective, have altogether stopped screaming at the president’s insolence.
A glimmer of hope in the resistance to this lackadaisical culture being engendered by the presidency, however, was shown by Nigerians in the diaspora. When Buhari arrived in the U.K, Nigerians flocked out en masse to the Abuja House in London to express dissatisfaction with the president enjoying medical tourism after condemning the same in Nigeria. Is what is good for the goose no better for the gander?
Again, it may seem that Nigerians at home have completely overlooked this inconsistency and disregard for the people; but the irony and hypocrisy displayed by the president’s travel while handling Doctor’s strike with levity is not lost on those who have added it to the list of Buhari’s transgressions.
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