How To Be A Nigerian Doctor By Aminu Yusuf Malam
” Our faults provide opportunities for others. ” – Asian-Indian Proverb.
I believe in grabbing opportunities. Tag me a believer. A believer in the Opportunity religion. I can worship, even. The opportunities therewith the belief, two important things. The epiphany that it leads to is entirely different. I need not to bother about any heaven either; my slum is strictly realistic. Some people would label you an atheist (a term many people erroneously refer to someone who does not believe in any religious thing) because you say this world is realistic than the scriptural heaven. Caveat: I just declared my belief in Opportunity. I dare you to rebrand me. But if you insist on libelling me, continue; there is God. The preceding sentence tells all: There is God, I said. Say what you like, I don’t care. I believe in savouring opportunities from every threshold. From everyone, everywhere!
You might be in a why-must-he mode of confusion, on why I used a proverb as a gambit. Let me clear your inquisitiveness. However, keep in mind, as I forgot to tell you, that I am addressing you as a Nigerian (doctor, if you are qualified. And if you have not been to any medical school, this is not for you. But you are not wasting your time. You must have had unemployed medical officers around; help relay the hints herein to them.)
As an unemployed medical graduate, a serious one, who has been looking for a decent job, you must have been married to tons of newspapers, or betrothed to that old, battery-hungry radio which you inherited from your grandfather, and must have been making non-platonic love to your mobile phone or that hard-laboured-money iPad. I salute you for your perseverance, persistence and patience. The three P’s! Very important for your struggle.
News were all over that President Goodluck Jonathan had sacked thousands of Nigerian resident doctors. Heard, read, that? Then what are you waiting for? Remember: ” Our faults provide opportunities for others.” Reverse it : ” Others’ faults provide opportunities for us.” True.
I want you to believe, that’s why I am elaborating on why I chose to start off with the Asian proverb. One, my faith in the Asians, when it comes to motivation and exploring opportunities is enormous. Look at China, India, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia… are not these developed countries in Asia? See? Why not Africa. They make use of opportunities. We do not. That is where we fail: exploring opportunities and making use of them. Two, I have some similar proverbs, from Africa, to use, but I safely opted for non-African one. Why? Because I am going to talk about sacking (stupidly; pardon my French), something that rarely happens in Asian countries. At least not on doctors. ( Had it been in Asia that thousands of doctors were sacked, Wikipedia must update its page on Harakiri vigorously). Thus my choice for Asian proverb. Weak choice, you may say. Never mind my choice. Focus on the advice I will give you. So we can have more doctors, you inclusive definitely.
It is a common knowledge that those sacked doctors may not be reinstated unless someone – say Malala – intervenes. You know the value of Malala in the Villa, don’t you? I bet you do. Well, alas! as well, Malala is a girls’ right (for education) activist. And this has nothing to do with girls’ education. No way could Malala worry herself, travel to Nigeria – again– and ‘order’ the President to reinstate those sacked doctors, as she’d done in the case of Chibok parents. One will be forgiven for saying that Mr Jonathan dreads Malala’s wrath, or something close to that. Just something. Say what you like; he obeys her! So, I urge you to, forget the possibility of any external stimulus. The Malala factor is out of count. Out of thoughts. Out!
Those doctors, the spaces they left are vacant, you know. Thus, as a medical graduate, you are now left with one, lone option: To make best use of this opportunity and ‘get in’. But how do you ‘get in’? Just like that? No. Follow me.
As we all know, nothing comes for free. Nothing! When we say nothing, we mean anything. So, anything, whatever it is, does not come for free. You agree with me, I know. Good!
In Nigeria one must build an i-know-so-so-and-so-so-knows-me fortress of prominent people, preferably high-ranking politicians from the ruling party. As a starting doctor, one must need these people. You need them more than you need your would-be patients. Do not take patients for granted. Once they get well, your tie is cut, unlike your helping politicians who will see you up to the election day. God ennoble our blessed politicians. Then, your, only, duty is to help heal those patients and let them go and eat soaked-in-sugar garri, tuwo or eba to alleviate their persistent hunger, which contributed greatly to their visit to you. As a medical graduate, you must have been taught what hunger is doing here. For instance, if a patient is brought to you, ask him to go and eat well and come back in minutes, or give him some cooked chicken et cetera; we like free things. You will be utterly surprised to find out that the symptoms they initially gave completely decreased or there is not any. That is Nigeria for you, doctor! Let someone be your saviour.
Let me assume that you got the job. It is a guarantee that I will guarantee you. You will get it as long as you will worship those political gods. I assume you genuflected towards them, bowed and kowtowed to them in worship. Well done for your strenuous effort. You deserve the praise, plus some rounds of ovation. *claps*.
You are now a medical doctor, by lobby. I do not want to make this too trite, but sorry: Congratulations, once again.
As a Nigerian, I may need something in return (for that is what and how we do). Do me just a favour, promise it. Promise me that when I come late to your hospital, or I bring someone (God clears that), even if I am to come after many ill-looking, exhausted patients, you will ‘see’ me first. Promise it, I trust your words. You, doctors, are not like those indolent tailors or carpenters who would ask you to come on Friday for your work only to be informed and comforted that it will be ready on Sunday… I don’t need to complete the bizarre sentence. You know them, but you are not like them.
It does not matter if I come late or not. Queue or not. I want that favour, forget my lateness for I am a Nigerian. Laziness and lateness are essential for survival here. Wonder how? I will expound further. Mark it as an advice, it’s useful to know this.
In – most of– Nigeria’s public offices, the honest and the innocent suffers. Be honest; they will like your suiting work-well-done. Be industrious; same. Still, if your upright behavior costs them a thing, you are an enemy. One thing they hate is that your honest, dedicated behavior, but they enjoy the likable outcome. So, learn to do what you see in Rome whenever you get there. You need to fit in.
Why am I saying all this? To prove a point. Be late. Do not be that always-law-abiding medical doctor. When you are supposed to show up at 9am, leave it till 11am. It does not matter whether or not you are busy; please, busy yourself. Do not just be lateness-free doctor. It will cost you a trust. You need that trust. You may think this is all negative and wrong. No. Not at all. There is a wisdom in it. See, if your colleagues understand that you are strictly honest, they will not trust you on any chuwa-chuwa or mago-mago that falls in. They may think you will oppose and expose it. Your honesty is bad for their collective subterfuge. See why? Now if you have that habit of abiding by the no-late-coming rule, and want to do well, go along with your fellows, give that habit a fierce punch. Out, go! You are good to go.
There is something I would like to round off with. It’s very, very important. You are not certain if you are a doctor for a day or two; for a week or a month, you are ignorant of this. It is not your fault. It is Nigeria, everything needs some skeptical premises. Who ever thought that those doctors would be sacked one day? If anyone had, it was not you. You know how hard you had strived after your NYSC. So do not rejoice yet. You have a work ahead of you. But I can help you lessen its flexibility. Rejoice, now.
It is believed that the doctors were sacked because of the strike they recently called off. Strike strikes every sector in Nigeria. Education, Health…the only sectors my eyes are on, which do not embark on any strike of a thing, is Finance and Aviation; the most scandalous. Forgive my diction. I’m vexed.
Think of the strike, it may occur for the new batch of doctors to embark, if they are offended or whatever they hold as a reason. However, they may not dare to close for any strike, in view with what happened to their predecessors. A lesson has been learned. In case they do, which is [un]predictable, you can save yourself. Exactly what I will suggest.
Write and share articles censuring their decision. Whatever, they are wrong. Agree with the Federal Government, they have the rein. Let your libels travel fast enough to Abuja. Mention the President’s aides on Twitter, with a link to your works. Do not get tired; tweet, and tweet. Take to Facebook; update and tag famous people who you know have access to the Palace in some ways. They will see it. They will take note, yes. The advantage is that even after your batch of doctors are to be sacked, you have a place somewhere. Believe it, something, somewhere will happen. As a Nigerian, you believe in miracle. You will not know when an appointment letter flies to your mailbox, or sees your threshold. If you do these things in Nigeria and still did not make it to the resident doctors list, then interrogate your chi. Your chi is an evil, retrogressive one. You are not lucky. Hapless doctor. Go home and help add to the native doctors counts. It shall be well. Try and understand. Thank you as you understand.
Aminu Yusuf Malam ©
@AminuYusufRoni on Twitter.
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