THE KILLING OF ENTREPRENEURAL SPIRIT IN OUR YOUNG PEOPLE
A lot has been said about migration of young Nigerian professionals to other countries that are more accommodating and ready to put facilities in place to help actualize the dreams of young people.
Nigerian doctors, engineers, nurses and others are helping develop and run the public system of many countries in Europe, North America, Asia and other parts of Africa. Yet, our under-development can be traced to under-utilisation of manpower.
Many professionals are frustrated by the lack of infrastructure, equipment and support from government and they have no choice but to look for another environment where the authorities are ready to support them and their dreams.
There have been instances where some foreign-trained Nigerians come back home only to become disillusioned and return to their adopted countries.
However, it is not only government policies or lack of infrastructure that kill the dreams of Nigerian professionals.
Sometimes, the communities these professionals have tried to help often revolt against such assistance due to unbridled greed of some community leaders who sometimes feel threatened when a young man offers, often for free, what those leaders would prefer to charge their people for, so as to make money from the same people they claim to be leading.
In other communities, the practitioners who are already domiciled there and fleecing the people do not want competition or anything that would affect their income.
A case in point is that of my young doctor friend, Dr. P.
A couple of years after specialisation in mental health, he decided to set up in this community where he noticed a preponderance of mental health issues. His choice of location was obviously a bad mistake. His story is a classic case of how our young professionals get frustrated and have no choice but to move on to better climes.
According to Dr. P, armed robbers attacked him and he also received a death threat, asking him to shut down his clinic or……. He notes that there were quite a number of quacks around where he set up and he experienced the frustration of a young budding doctor in Nigeria first-hand.
So what did he do?
He said he reported to the Police and they asked him to shut his clinic; that it is dangerous. They said it was a ‘gentleman’s advice’.
Now, all this young doctor wanted to do was give back to the local community and be socially responsible. But he was forced to pack his bags head back to town where of course he’d make more money because his new clients or their families would pay double for his services.
Dr. P. has had to relocate to Magodo to serve a wealthy clientel bracket while the poor suffer due to unaffordable medical expenses.
“It is the sorrow of a young entrepreneur in Nigeria. I started a moderate community mental health hospital with so much potential to help the locals. Had to shut down three years after. Robbers numbering three came in with guns. And I was beaten mercilessly…and hospital gadgets, laptops carted away.
“I still continued, this time, more security conscious. And a year after, I got a threatening message on my phone, warning me of my life and my hospital staff….that if I don’t leave Ikorodu for them…….and the message ended by saying… ‘We are Badoooo! Badooo! Badoooo!’ 3 times.
My friend in the Police directed me to SARS. And there at SARS… they said the phone number is a Ghana number and that it can’t be tracked further. That’s all. That’s why I didn’t push it further. I couldn’t trust anyone.
“All The equipment, beds…etc.are still there. Two million Naira worth. I have already cost it. But what they stole then was … N1.2m. We had to buy other things again to replace them.
“Presently the value of equipment there has fallen to N2 million. Something that was more before.
“Now… In a nation where 60% of its populace live in rural areas… How can they get healthcare? No support from government. No incentives. Nothing. Psychiatrist ratio in Nigeria is 1: 1 million Nigerians. And the few psychiatrists available are leaving in droves. It is sad. I should have gone before now… But, I thought I could wade through. But I’m now having a rethink. Nigeria will soon lose me to a better country. It is well”.
Really? Is it well?
Well, that’s where we find ourselves. The poor man’s hope and prayer!
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