Monday, 07 May 2012 22:46

Mr. Fashola Has Done It Again

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You have to give it to Mr. Fashola. He is a man of courage. He brooks no nonsense from anybody. If he wants to build a dual carriage way and your house plot has gradually creped beyond the plot master plan, he will quickly push you back to the original master plan as designed many decades ago. Go to Lagos and see what Awolowo Street looks like. It is dual carriage way. Nobody knew that there was enough land for a dual carriage way on Awolowo Street. Go look at Nnamdi Azikiwe. It is now a three-lane street. For over a decade and more it was a single lane street. Landlords and street vendors have been “kept in their place” and we now have a usable three-lane road. This is what is going on, all over Lagos.

All these have been accomplished because a man of courage has been willing to take on the landlords, the street vendors, the labor unions, etc, etc. And we are singing (at least I am singing) his praises.

This time he has taken on the doctors. For over two years now Lagos doctors have been more on strike than they have been healing sick people. It is time to let them go to their private practices where they actually practice medicine. Let them devote their full time to being a medical entrepreneur. Let them rise or fall on the strength of their labor. It is not right that one could be collecting a paycheck from the government and not showing up for day’s job. They merely show up and retire to their private hospital.

There is going to be pain for everybody especially the very poor who rely on public hospitals. But these people have not had any medical services for a long while. By firing them, Mr. Fashola will demonstrate that nobody can hold the people of Lagos ransom indefinitely. The medical union is one of the most feared unions in Nigeria but by letting them know that while their services are highly held; at some point one could price himself out of the market.

Lagos doctors have just done that.

Let them go! I wrote in this same vein when the police joined in oil subsidy strike. Essential service workers must remain in service under all circumstances. Even in war medical personal are allowed into the war front to provide help to the wounded. Red Cross establishments are marked and their exact location provided to the warring sides and usually these places are not bombed. For their part these establishments provide essential services to all and sundry. Medical doctors are supposed to be in the hospitals to attend to emergencies and if they are on a picket line, they no longer answer to their calling and should be relieved.

Let the nurses, pharmacists, medical students and those who have nominal medical experience be permitted to push the borders of their skills until replacements are found.

We survived three plus years of this in Biafra. Lagos can survive much longer than that. America survived when air traffic controllers were fired en mass. Nobody is indispensable.

Mr. Fashola should immediately bring some pains to the doctors: those living in quarters should be made to vacate right away; those who have government issued vehicles should return them within 24 hours along with privileges; I will lock their offices and not allow them to clear their personal effects including their diplomas. Their personal effects would be shipped to them at the last known addresses, not government quarters (such as some where in Coal Camp, Enugu or somewhere in Idiroko or Ado Ekiti) as quickly as the janitors could get to them. I would explore the legal possibilities of delisting them for medical practice in Lagos State and withdrawing their licenses.

My punishment should be swift and deadly. So that next time one wants to bring a government down, one would give it some serious thought.

High handed? Yes.

But as the Igbo say anu gbaa ajo oso aagba ya ajo egbe (If an animal makes a ferocious charge you fire a ferocious gun).

Courageous Fashola, my congratulations, please!

Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba

Boston, Massachusetts

May 7, 2012

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Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba

Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba  currently lives in Medfield, Massachusetts.