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What The Punch’s Abimbola Adelakun Must Learn By Khadijat Adedeji

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Abimbola Adelakun

We all have our lives all figured out; when we would marry, who we would marry, the number of children we’d like to have, even where we would live.  We all, long before we got out of the university, or left our parents’ homes, had pictures of how our first homes, first set of furniture, first cars would look like, in our minds.  We knew the jobs we’d like to have and the kind of lives we would like to live.  We all had plans, all set in; ready for executions.  Until life happened.  And life always happens.   Fate always shows up.

Like it showed up for Barrister Mikhail Adejare Adebisi, Governor Gboyega Oyetola’s Deputy Chief of Staff (General Administration) who just passed on.  He had his life all figured out. He had plans.  He made more plans as he grew.  He wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth. I’m not even sure now if he was born with any spoon.  But he was determined to find his own spoons, wooden, golden and silver.  And he worked his fingers to the bone to make his plans pan out. He made lemonade from the lemons God made available.  He pulled himself up by his bootstraps, struggled through a first degree in the University, and them Law School, Masters degree. He dived into his Ph.D with gusto. He looked forward  to being addressed as Dr. Adejare Adebisi. He had plans. He made more.He did all of that, holding an office so sensitive the Governor and Government depended on him. He worked all kinds of hours, sometimes one day just became another as he juggled his balls and oiled the rigs of government.

Then, one faiteful day, seven years ago, he got up to pick something across his desk and collapsed, struck by stroke. Fate or destiny or life or all of them showed up and changed Barr Jare’s plans. The picture in his colourful mind went dark and for weeks he struggled to come back from the depths of death’s riverbed. Everybody prayed. Doctors ran up and down. Professors of medicine were tasked to bring Barr Jare back. Abere Secretariat, the seat of Government wore gloom like a clock. Barr Jare gave his best to his state and the state held nothing back to nurse him back to his feet.

It was a long battle. He fought . The state fought. His family fought . But the grave won. He died. And a leading light of Ilobu went out in the middle of the day.

Governor Oyetola, the man who holds the reins of power in Osun today was inconsolable. He retreated into an inner room, sat barefoot, bare headed, according to our elders, when they returned to Ilobu, sad that Barr Jare’s story had to end that way.

Adejare Adebisi is gone, never to walk this path again. His wife, children will never hear his laughter again. Maybe in their dreams.

Governor Oyetola must have asked himself a thousand and one questions. 

Did we not do enough? Should we have done more?  Maybe I should have called Professor so and so? Perhaps four cardiologists more would have helped. With two teaching hospitals in the state and all the consultants deployed…  May be I should have flown him abroad as the doctors here recommended with referral to another hospital abroad.

Those who have lost loved ones know those questions. You keep traumatizing, torturing yourself with a dozen ‘what ifs’ and baskets of ‘maybe I should haves’.

Grief speaks when you are reeling in pain.

One is then left to wonder if Ms. Abimbola Adelakun had ever felt the pain of loss, spoken in grief. After reading through her column on the Thursday backpage of Punch, the people of Ilobu, the relatives of Barr Adebisi are wondering if we offended Ms Adelakun in any way at some point.

Why did our pain become a topic that should be dragged through the writer’s angry lines?

Ma’am, did you pause to think what your column would do and did to the sorrowing widow, the distraught children of Barr Adebisi? They all can read, you know? You, Abimbola Adelakun,  pissed on the freshly dug grave of their loved one. It’s totally in bad taste.

Why vilify the governor who did his best in our time of need?

Nigerians who go abroad for their Ph.D, including you, Ms Adelakun go for a reason and they are not crucified for it. I’m sure you could have done  your Ph.D here like Barr Adebisi was before death took him.

You preferred University of Texas, instead of University of Ibadan or ABU, Zaria. It was a matter of choice.

With your level of exposure, I’m sure you know doctors from here to Beijing  and Switzerland refer their patients as they deem fit, sometimes within a state or a country. General practitioners refer patients to endocrinologists, nephrologists, cardiologists in other hospitals as they consider professionally appropriate. We know, you know but you still made a mockery, yes that’s what you did ma’am, of our pain. We are already asking ourselves enough questions.

Ma, swear if your brother or husband suffers a stroke, you’d hold anything back. Swear that because you are learned and believe sick Nigerians should be treated in Nigerian hospitals, you will ignore the doctor’s referral. You will watch him die, to prove a point? You will not express your grief in any way as you watch him being lowered into mother earth? You have never expressed grief, never lost a loved one?

Or wait a minute, Ms Adelakun, are you holding the governor of Osun State, Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola, responsible for the inadequacies in the nation’s health sector? How fair is that? And your choice of words are totally unbecoming  of a Yoruba woman. 

I can’t quite recall right now what Yorubas call a young person who insults an elder but I’m sure you understand what I’m trying to say.

Now, ma, did you bother to even check how much work Governor Oyetola has done in the health sector in Osun. In the state that is cash-strapped, this is one governor who promised to use revitalization of the health sector to power all other sectors.

He promised to rehabilitate, re-equipped 332 Primary Health Care Centers across the state and has so far delivered 250. He bought operational vehicles, drugs, retrained staff, expanded the State Specialist Hospital, Asubiaro among other great things.

We live here, Ms Adelakun, you don’t. This governor has done more that any governor did in less than two years in the state.

Just in February, Governor Oyetola approved the implementation of a 100% of the Consolodated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) and Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) to boost the morale of health workers in the state.

I don’t speak for the governor but as a voter, a citizen and a resident, I know Oyetola has done well.

As for you Ms. Adelakun, I pray your light doesn’t dim in your twilight but you should watch your language, consider the pains your lines can inflict on others because ‘Eni ija o ba nii pe ara re l’okunrin’.

We know you have a space to fill every week, but don’t do it at the expense of other people’s tears or reputation.

Khadijat Adedeji, Writes from Ilobu,

Osun State.

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