3 April 2021
Former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, once said that is opponent Chris Ngige was “too short” to be a governor. Ngigie, an ex senator and former governor of Anambra State, is now Nigeria’s labour minister. He may be diminutive in stature but intelligence is where he chronically comes up short.
Ngige was at it on Channels TV trying to justify President Muhammadu Buhari’s current trip to London for medical reasons. Buhari has reportedly been to the UK for medical reasons about 12 times since he became president in 2015. His medical tourism was curtailed in recent months by the Covid-19 pandemic and he must have broken his own record by staying in Nigeria since March last year without a foreign junket.
Former British prime minister Harold Wilson once said “a week is a long time in politics.” For Buhari, a year is a long time to stay in Nigeria and there was no delay in Ngige coming on air in defence of Buhari’s shamelessness. As a candidate for president, he asked at Chatham House in February 2015: “Why do I need to go for foreign medical trip if we cannot make our hospital functional?”
Yet, in his sixth year as president, Buhari couldn’t make the clinic at the presidential palace in Abuja functional. But Ngige, who is incidentally a doctor, saw nothing wrong with it. Watch his daft reasons here for the medical abroad here:
A ruler of a presumably independent country should not be putting his life in the hands of foreigners. It is a clear security risk, that the likes of Ngige are not bright enough to understand. Buhari also asked during his Chatham House speech: “What is the difference between me and those who elected us to represent them? Absolutely nothing.” The people that elected Buhari have to make do with hospitals that are not fit for purpose. Many of which could be revamped by the costs of Buhari’s foreign medical trips.
Chapter 2, section 17(3)(d) of the Nigerian constitution states that: “The State shall direct its policy towards ensuring that… there are adequate medical and health facilities for all persons”. Ngige claimed that Buhari has a right to treatment abroad, but ignored this constitution right for all Nigerians that his government has failed to uphold.
Ngige has form in broadcasting his stupidity. In response to the brain drain of Nigerian doctors as they abandon the conditions at home for foreign climes, he said they were free to leave since the country has enough.
However, Nigeria’s doctor to patient ration, according to the federal government is 1:2753. The World Health Organisation recommends 1:600. Nigeria is critically short of doctors and Ngige comes up short in the understanding this crisis as both he and his president rely on foreign treatment.
At a party to celebrate his election to the Senate in 2011, Ngige said: “One promise to Nigerians is that Dr. Chris Nwabueze Ngige from Anambra Central Senatorial District will champion a bill that Nigerians will never forget in their lives. The Senate will know that some people passed through there. Even if it is for one day, or two days or for four years, Nigerians will feel the presence of Ngige and other progressive senators. It is a promise.”
He didn’t champion any bill and his presence was not felt. But his stupidity is proving to be unmissable.