OkikiJesu Olawuyi: The Pathetic Story of a Baby Born without a Skull
“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. What I can do, I should do. And what I should do, by the grace of God, I will do.”- Edward Everett Hale
It was a pathetic story as I listened to AIT’s magazine programme “Focus Nigeria” when Gbenga Aruleba interviewed a representative of the foundation behind the course to save the life of three year old Okikijesu Olawuyi.
Information gathered revealed that OkikiJesu was born on May 11, 2010 with a rare birth deformity which means over 50 per cent of her skull doesn’t exist. It is believed that the medical world has not seen anything of this kind in recorded history.
“Complications arose as a result of inconsistencies in her medical history during the first surgery which lasted for 14 hours in May at the John Hopkins hospital, although, it was a maiden attempt in pediatric neurosurgery. Since her birth without a skull, fluids have accumulated in her head held only by skin, the surgeries were to divert fluids from her head to her stomach hoping to reduce the mass on her head and then create a new skull using bones from her pelvis and her rib cage. No child has ever had a similar health condition and this strange condition could enter the Guinness book of records because the surgery is the first of its kind and the second most expensive surgery in the world”.
With the support of GIPLC, a sum of $234,000 (N37,000,000.00) was deposited at the John Hopkins Medical International, Baltimore, Maryland in the United States of America as the required amount needed to commence the series of surgery on Okiki. She had the surgery in April 2013 and due to the extreme condition, a three days assurance that OkikiJesu will be in the ICU eventually took six weeks which of cost the foundation “about four to five thousand dollar” every night. An amount that exceeded the budgeted plan of three days. According to the coordinator, the need for more money resulted in coming back to Nigeria to raise more fund.
According to a statement by GIPLC “prior to the complications which have risen, what made a determination of the full cost of Okiki’s surgery difficult is that the modern times, it is an extremely rare (perhaps singular) medical condition with no precedence to draw indicators from. This latter facts also means that it is equally difficult to tell what other medical complications may arise, just like the fluid that were retained in her cranial cavity has posed an unforeseen challenge and may have led to a fatal infection.”
A stunning revelation from the interview by Gbenga Aruleba was the fact that a proposal to publicize the condition of OkikiJesu on the Cable News Network (CNN) in order to draw sympathy to her health concern so as to raise funds for her medical treatment was subtly turned down due to the fact that Nigeria does not belong to the countries regarded as being “poor”, therefore, assistance to broadcast got stalled.
Now that’s the sad truth. Nigeria as a country has the money to fund the medical bills of OkikiJesu. The Oyo state born baby has been in this condition since 2010 and it is well known that a government in Oyo state, the origin of her birth has been in existence. I wonder why the attention of the “pet projects” and “charity organizations” of the first lady of Oyo state has not been drawn with sympathy to the case of a fellow citizen.
I believe the little girl can live. The optimism is not about the knowledge that her full recovery will be a landmark in the Guinness Book of world records. My optimism is about driving the support of genuine human feelings to a life battling for survival and normalcy. If the sympathy of the Americans could not be drawn to the plight of OkikiJesu- no thanks to the corrupt, insensitive and bad leadership plaguing her home country, the sympathy of Nigerians living with human feeling should be drawn to her condition. To a large extent, the media organizations had contributed their quota by airing the news and giving chances to the organization seek for financial assistance. As Nigerians, we have an obligation to be of support to the family of OkikiJesu by offering the financial support we can afford.
Okiki’s parents revealed that “sometimes, two nurses are stationed to take care of her daily and it costs a lot of money. The good thing is that they are not taking any chance. They are all over her all the time. They are monitoring her regularly especially as she is an international patient. The bill is growing higher.
They have appealed to Nigerians “not to give up on Okiki. With their support, God will not disappoint us because she keeps improving daily. All the operations have been very critical. They took bones from her hand and leg to construct her skull. And she is doing fine. We appreciate efforts by all Nigerians including individuals, groups and corporate organizations. Everybody has been very supportive. We thank the Nigerian government, the National Assembly, and particularly the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal and other kind-hearted people and members of our family for their support.
“On behalf of our daughter Okiki, and other children and parents in this condition, we urge government to institute a Special Trust Fund to take care of such rare and critical cases in the country. This fund should be adequately funded to cater for such critical needs. For us, Okiki’s parents, we are in this condition but hope that one day God will deliver us. In this situation, we repeat our appeal for quick intervention from the government and other Nigerians. Our wish here is that others should be spared this experience. We plead further with government to establish a fund to cater for such children in this condition.”
GIPLC expressed that “Okiki, her father, mother and little brother will be in the United States of America for a year assisting Okiki on her recovery. We therefore appeal to you all our good partners in progress to still reach out please and make your donations no matter how small to see to their upkeep untill they return back to our shores. We still need to pay for their air return tickets, accomodation in America, feeding, transportation, communication and utilities [power, water, heating and cooking gas] medical variant and complication expenses running into millions of naira. You have always responded whenever we ask and we know it will not be different this time. Thank you and God bless”.
OkikiJesu need support from all Nigerians because she is a Nigerian. I believe the Oyo state’s first lady has a major role to play in rallying support from other 35 first ladies of the federation to the plight of little OkikiJesu.
The mother of the nation, Dame Patience Jonathan is not an exception in this drive to save a child. Rallying women for political votes is not the only demand that is required of her. At this time, we expect her to rally women in the whole federation to save the life of Okikijesu Olawuyi.
With your support, I believe Okikijesu Olawuyi will survive, come back home, give glory to God and live a normal life as a fellow citizen. Fellow Nigerians, please support the efforts to save her.
Kindly reach the foundation in charge of raising funds for OkikiJesu through:
No.11, Thames Street, Off Alvan Ikoku,
Ministers Hills, Maitama, Abuja-FCT.
Telephone: +234 09 290 7139
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