“I can’t understand what’s happening anymore!” lamented Dr. Johnson, an ophthalmologist who relocated to Nigeria from America a couple of months ago. “Did you run away to escape the deportation order of Donald Trump when he becomes the President of USA?” I had teased.
Trump, during his campaign, had threatened to deport Nigerians from the USA if he became the President. “Why can’t they stay in their own country? They’re everywhere. “We can’t have that! If I become president, we’ll send them all home.” I could recall Dr. Johnson saying, “Do you think United States is Nigeria where anything goes? Trump can never become the President of USA.”
Now that he has been elected, Dr. Johnson is very upset. Perhaps this is the cause of his pensive mood. He snarls at everyone, his driver, assistants and all.
Several people have taken a swipe at candidate Trump. I had taken him up, during the campaign, on his choice of words. “Words are like atom bombs, handle them carefully, for words have more power than atom bombs,” said Pearl Strachan. As distasteful and disgusting as we may feel about President-elect Trump, there are several truths in his words and he spoke the minds of 60 million Americans who voted for him. Let us ignore his style and concentrate on the merit of his words.
Why can’t we stay in our country? When Ghanaians were relocating to Nigeria in the late 70’s and early 80’s, many Nigerians were unhappy and openly canvassed for their deportation. Ghanaians left hurriedly, in droves, because of the fear of molestation. Those who could not afford suitcases used raffia bags to pack their belongings. This is the origin of the Ghana-must-go bags. Immigration must be controlled in every country. Donald Trump is thus right. Imagine if USA were to open its doors to Nigerians, US Customs would find about 150 million Nigerians at its doors!
Trump went on to tell us the reason why Nigerians are running away from Nigeria to the US. Hear him, “Their Governments are so corrupt. They rob the people blind and bring it all here to spend and their people run away and come down here and take our jobs.” Isn’t that true? Let us forget about the messenger and pay more attention to the message. I have just come back from a visit to India and USA. It was the most depressing journey I ever made.
I met scores of Nigerians in the airports and on the plane, many in wheel chairs, travelling to other countries especially India in search of a cure for their ailments. In India, I ran into dozens of Nigerian doctors, some self-sponsored, others sponsored by NGOs and their state governments who had come to acquire surgical skills to improve their practice. What a sacrifice? But then, many had come before them. What happened to them?
Like Dr. Johnson, “I can’t understand what is happening anymore.” Is it really true what I read in the papers that billions of naira and millions of US dollars are found in people’s homes? Is it true that things have gone so bad; that judgments had been for sale and that judges are being arraigned in court for trial for corruption? I am a doubting Thomas and “except I see and feel” the evidence, I will not believe these hear says.
We can’t rely on newspapers and TV stations these days. This is what Trump said about journalists, “I hate some of these people, I hate ‘em.” Didn’t they prove him right? They said openly and authoritatively that he couldn’t make it. And he did!
Let us assume that these things are actually true. I have pleaded loudly and publicly for generous donations to transform Eleta Eye Institute, Ibadan to become the “Aravind” of Nigeria. Aravind Eye Hospital, India performs about 360,000 eye surgeries a year. It is only one of many eye hospitals in India. It does more! It trains ophthalmologists and other eye care professionals for its country and several other countries in the world. We have about 2million people in dire need of cataract and other sight preservation surgeries. The total number of eye surgeries done in the whole of Nigeria is less than 100,000! What happens to the patients?
A few years ago, when I made a request for one more doctor to be trained in some special surgical skills for us in Aravind Eye Hospital, I received this legitimate response, “Dr. Ajayi, we have trained about 60 people for your country. Why can’t they train others?” Trump has provided the answer!
President-elect Donald Trump has sounded the trumpet. His mission is to make America great again. Nigerians and all those who stand in his way will be sent back to their countries. He has challenged Nigerians abroad and at home; he has challenged the politicians and the government. Using DT’s slogan, let us join hands together to make Nigeria great again. Then we shall earn respect in international circles.