Thursday, January 14, 2010

Medical Report: Private document?

Section 14 (2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides the following:
a. Sovereignty belongs to the people of Nigeria from whom the government through this constitution derives all its powers and authority;
b. The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of the government; and
c. The participation by their government shall be ensured in accordance with the provisions of this constitution.
Section 17 (2) (c) provides that governmental actions shall be humane.

I am sure you are wondering where I am going with my preamble.
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice of Nigeria, Michael Aondoakaa (SAN) told us, the Nigerian People, that we are not entitled access to the president’s medical report as it is a private document.

I am going to divorce sentiments from reality and tackle his misstatement head-on.
The above sections I have quoted show that even if there are no express provisions for the president to disclose his ‘private’ issues, he is bound to ensure that he is accountable to the people at all times as we possess sovereignty.

I wonder why section 140 of the same constitution provides for the declaration of the assets and liabilities of the president and there is nothing I can find on declaration of health status. (Remember the president is to show that he is of sound mind so I wonder how that would be shown without a medical report).

In my mind, if the government is to make sure that its actions toward the people who hold sovereign power are humane, I wonder if it is humane to say we are not entitled to his medical records of the president because they are ‘private documents’.
The president is a PUBLIC FIGURE!!! What has privacy got to do with being a public figure? He sacrificed his privacy on the altar of service to the nation. Now, I am taking it persona. Please forgive me.

I move on objectively.

The president is the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, Head of State and Chief executive of the Federation. What an exalted position! He is accountable to the people because we voted him into power: he is our employee, we are the boss! See, the position does not seem so exalted after all because without us, he is not and without him, we are at best in chaos. It is supposed to be a symbiotic relationship.

For the A.G to tell us that we are not entitled to the medical records of our employee, the President and so-called servant leader, is at best mischievous. That would be akin to setting a dangerous precedent. He is indirectly stating that civil servants are not bound to disclose health issues or tender medical results because they are private documents; employers would not be able to study the medical reports of their employees...I can go on and on.

In my next article, I would adequately state what constitute public documents and what are classified as private documents.

Until then the A.G has to view these issues in their right perspectives and take actions that are humane...or simply keep quiet.

Monday, January 11, 2010

My take on some issues in Nigeria.

People who read my blogs would wonder why I have not posted anything in a while. With all that is happening in Nigeria, I’ve had only scathing and rude remarks to make so I have waited this while to simmer down a bit.

Let me start from the top.

We woke up one morning to find that our president was not in the country. No announcement, no warning; he had gone to Saudi Arabia for medical check-up. We thought it was one of his usual “medical checkups” so we let it go. Then it became 10 days, 20 days and now 49 days! It is all our fault things deteriorated to this level in the sense that on previous occasions when he went for his medical check-up, we did not demand that a medical report certifying him to be fit and proper should be issued. Even in some secondary schools, you are denied the privilege of attending or being a boarder if you are found to have ailments like asthma, ulcer, diabetes and the like.

Alas, I deviate.

We did not take his absence seriously until the “crotch bomber” incident took place on the 25th of December. I did not realize on time that the man in question was a Nigerian and by the time I did, I marvelled...but that is another story. All that rings in my head after the incidence is Dora Akunliyi saying that Abdul-M “sneaked” in Nigeria, his own country oh. The little respect I had for her evaporated. How can a Nigerian citizen, no matter who he is or what he has done SNEAK into his own country? Did she even think through her statement before she made it? Does she know the meaning of the word SNEAK? I understand she was under some sort of pressure when she set up the press conference after the incidence but did she have to speak in that manner? I wonder.

The Vice-President just “fell my hand” (as we would say in Pidgin English). The least he would have done would have been to address us as a nation, the best he would have done would have been to contact Joe Biden or have a meeting with the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria. In my view, it would have been better to err than to do nothing and further rub pepper in our wounds.
Then it hit us in the face: we were black listed...and rightly so.
Before I get crucified for my statements, hear me out. Put yourselves in the shoes of the USA. In 2009, Nigeria had the Boko Haram Crises, Jos crises, Niger Delta Crises; bombing of the Atlas Cove jetty, corruption issues, bank reforms...need I go on? And to crown it all, a Nigerian citizen was caught red handed (or should I say down to his pants?) trying to commit suicide and murder in the American jurisdiction (we all know the details, except of course you live under a rug). To make matters worse, the president was MIA, AWOL etc and no official diplomatic measures were taken within 48 hours!!!

Do you not think they are entitled to protect their nation from unwarranted attacks? Everybody is entitled to their opinions no matter how flawed.
We need to stop lying to ourselves; all the Americans saw was a nation without direction ripe for terrorist invasion or at least had tendencies to be a fertile ground for breeding terrorism. So we were placed on a watch list like any right thinking sovereign country concerned about its safety would do. I firmly believe the crotch bomb scare was not the cause; it was just the last straw which broke the camel’s back.

If Yar’Adua has any regard for this country, why did he not pick up the phone and call Obama? If he was well enough to sign a bill, surely he was well enough to have spoken to the nation. Has the president not heard of Skype? or Google Wave? I could send him an invitation you know. Video calls on Skype are free and he could install it on his laptop and speak to us from his bed. After all, I remember Fidel Castro speaking to the Cubans in his pyjamas. He said, and I quote, “it would be a betrayal to my conscience to accept a responsibility requiring more mobility and dedication than I am physically able to offer”. Gosh, I cannot believe I am comparing Yar’Adua to FIDEL CASTRO! When did this happen?

The A.G is not even helping matters at all. What does he think he is saying? The president can rule from anywhere? I won’t repeat the other insane and obnoxious words he has uttered these past few months for fear of sounding like him.
Ojo Maduekwe is someone I would speak of in passing...he has failed miserably like the rest of them...running his mouth when he should sit and ponder.
The church seems nonexistent at the moment. This issue is not so important to warrant a speech from them? Or a lawsuit like some sensible thinking Nigerians have started? No. They are concerned with building bigger churches, being Arch-Bishops, presidents of Christian associations and the like...any other thing than issues that concern the sanity of our land.

The rest of those making noise about how we should pray endlessly for the speedy recovery of a president who has insulted our intelligence and spat in our faces should keep quiet already. I hope he recovers soon, but that does not mean I would not critique his shoddy arrangements. Seriously, those in government saying rubbish should keep quiet and not let us think less of them daily. Have they not heard the adage that says: ‘it is better to keep quiet and be thought a fool than to speak and erase all doubt’? (Hmmm, maybe that is what Goodluck Jonathan is doing).

But who am I angry the most at? The Nigerian people. I’m angry at our annoying silence as a people, our laziness being depicted in not standing up for ourselves (they spit in our faces and we say thank you); at our ‘siddon look’ attitude; at thinking that as long as we eat and are not killed, we are ok; at not holding our leaders responsible for their actions and inactions; at condoning the corruption in our society; at waiting on each other to change Nigeria; at allowing miscreants, fools and thieves to rule us, govern our states and rob us blind while we applaud them for constructing roads that would not last two weeks (okay, I am exaggerating), providing bore hole water that does not flow, ‘keke napap’ (tricycle) that is an insult to our sensibilities...I can go on. We applaud them for doing what they are mandated by the constitution to do.

The truth is that nothing, and I mean NOTHING, would change if we do not stand up together as a people, let our voices be heard and get rid of the cancer that is eating deep into our nation.

Forgive me if this article is not coherent; the issues plaguing our land are not coherent thus, I find my thoughts darting from one area to another.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year!!!

I would start with the typical Happy New Year greeting. Today has been a restful and somewhat lazy Saturday. Although I am looking forward to work on Monday, nevertheless, I would enjoy the weekend to the fullest.

The new year brings opens doors for new possibilities, opportunities and more. Make the best of it. Explore the mind blowing ideas you have and write them all down. Read a lot...this is the key to enlightenment. Make no excuses, take responsibility and above all, be diligent in whatever you do.

I'm so excited about this year and I run the risk of boring you with my exciting ideas...I would not fall prey to that temptation :).

On a more serious note, no lazing around at work, seek to be the best wherever you are and learn lessons.

Happy New Year!