Abuja & You: Nigeria’s Federal Capital City Collapsing Like a Deck of Cards

Abuja is probably the worst-hit of Nigerian cities by this recession. It is only understandable: Abuja works at nothing but revels in wanton opulence, fed strictly from pens adding zeroes behind a whole number. Its buildings are populated with straw companies gliding on patronage and privilege, not rights, merit and productivity. Most of its inhabitants are currently in what seems to be a state of disbelief, if not shock.

My son and I walked lazily to Sheraton two Saturdays ago and from the gate you got a surprise: no line of traffic! The lounge was empty as the car park was vacant. We sat in surprise at the little corners of decay creeping on the lounge, part of which was even poorly lit. Of course, even Maitama and Asokoro are wrapped in thick darkness these days, at 8: 00 pm, if grid power fails.

I was surprised at the black silence I met in these desolate palaces. Everywhere, signs hang on homes and high-rise office buildings begging for tenants. I called a number on one and the voice that answered said it was on sale for N3.6 billion a seven-story building with a footprint of about 250 sq.m. “I see”.

There is good hiding in evil and sometimes, you don’t even have to look too deeply to see it. Too many of the wealth in Nigeria is strictly in figures without any underlying source or feeder spring. If you had gotten your money through work and creativity, you will still replicate the same feat even if they put you in a barren desert.

What is called a recession in regular economies is but a dethronement of false money in Nigeria – the overthrow of pretenders and wealth built with the tip of a pen so that reality and productivity can take over. It is an inevitable passage if nature is correctly programmed.

In a hilarious circle, I was told about a typical Abuja moneybag whose fortune has now turned around. He was in money – and you know what I mean. In height of his affluence, he collected two more wives to make a total of three. But the noose had been getting tighter and all streams gone dry, he applied for a loan from a bank. Not so well exposed to the hazard of seeking credit from Nigerian banks, he was exceedingly positive he will soon be provided with a line of credit and so went with gusto to the manager’s office on an appointed day to get the final answer on his application.

When he was told that he had been turned down, he lost control of himself – so completely that he pooped on himself right there in the bank. He was helped into the bathroom and offered a ton of tissues and when he had become manageable, they led him into a taxi and gave him a thousand naira, to the bank’s happy ending of the personal tragedy.

The story teaches us that wealth without foundation will end in sudden failure. It is not only Abuja or the typical, overweight Nigerian big man, Nigeria itself is a victim of lazy wealth: oil is not a result of hard work or creativity. We don’t even as much as have local capacity to drill the oil! If we don’t build our economy by adding value through processing and developing our human resources, we won’t end up much better than that poor individual…

Crises in the Collapsing Health Sector Nationwide

Very soon, Nigerians will go to government hospitals and won’t see a doctor. The health crisis in Nigeria is unprecedented as the mass exodus hits alarming proportions. Already, it takes a patient 2 hours to see a doctor on the average; 3 hours for new patients.

  1. Over 100 doctors have resigned from UCH this year.

  2. 800 Doctors have resigned from Lagos State hospitals over 2 years. 100 this month alone.

  3. Kebbi State has been unable to employ a single Doctor in 2 years despite multiple adverts for employment.

  4. Over 200 Doctors and nurses have resigned from Ladoke Akintola Teaching Hospital this year.

  5. Nigeria has 80,000 registered Doctors. More than 50,000 are currently practicing abroad.

  6. 92% of Doctors in Nigeria are considering finding a job abroad.

  7. 70% of Nigerian Doctors are making plans to leave for foreign lands, and are taking exams to that effect.

  8. 5 years ago, more than 1000 doctors wrote the Primaries exams for West African College of Physicians to gain admission to Nigerian Teaching Hospitals for Residency training. But this year 2017, only 236 medical doctors applied for and wrote the same exams.

  9. While 660 doctors wrote PLAB (to practice in the UK) in preference over the Residency exams in Nigeria in preceding years, As at October 2017, over 1000 doctors have already registered for the next PLAB exam that will hold in Lagos, March 2018.

Across the nation, the story is the same. And the scary part is no one seems to be bothered!

Credits: Attah Essien