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Kayode Fayemi (right) and the recuperating Opeyemi Bamidele in London

Ekiti State deserves better

27 July 2018

Opeyemi Bamidele, a former federal legislator, was shot in 1 June this year reportedly by a trigger-happy policeman during a rally in support of Kayode Fayemi’s eventually successful bid to become governor of Ekiti State.

After surgery to remove two bullets from his stomach and leg at the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, Ado Ekiti, he was taken for further treatment to the private Euracare Multi-Specialists Hospital on Victoria Island, Lagos.

Bamidele, who served as commissioner under then Lagos State governor Bola Tinubu, was then flown in Tinubu’s private jet to London for further treatment because his former boss insisted that he would get better care there.

There are many things wrong here.  If Bamidele were an ordinary Nigerian, Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital would have been as good as it gets for him.  He was campaigning for Kayode Fayemi, who ran Ekiti State from 2010 to 2014.  Fayemi did not establish a hospital capable of providing adequate care for victims of gunshots.

Fayemi ran against Olusola Eleka, the current deputy governor of the state.  Eleka and his boss, the current governor, Ayo Fayose, were in charge since 2014 and didn’t provide the state with a hospital fit for purpose.  Fayose was previously governor from 2003 to 2006 and it was the same record of failure in adequate healthcare provision.

Ekiti State could plead poverty, but there is never a shortage of funds to make their governors millionaires.  However, the same excuse won’t fly with Lagos State, the richest state in the country, where Tinubu was in charge from 1999 to 2007 and has since installed two governors – Babatunde Fashola, who served two terms and Akinwunmi Ambode, whose first term will end in 2019 and he is likely to be reelected.

Tinubu’s apologists love to claim that he and his successors “transformed” Lagos State.  But it appears the “transformation” didn’t cover adequate treatment for gunshot wounds.

What all these rulers don’t seem to recognise is that by failing to build and equip adequate hospitals, they are putting their own lives at risk.  There may not be enough time in an emergency to get them to London.  A hospital of the standard that Nigerian rulers have become accustomed to in London may be what is required if intervention is essential in the critical hour following a serious incident such as a shooting, heart attack, road traffic accident and so on.

But Nigerian rulers refuse to learn this critical lesson and keep relying on British healthcare.  While the Nigerian electorate continues to fail to call into account failed rulers that have failed to provide the basics in their states.

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