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TRUTH ABOUT ANAMBRA DOCTORS' STRIKE

By NBF News
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For quite sometime now there has been a deluge of arid prose written by hired hands criticizing the Peter Obi administration in Anambra State. The grouses of the writers are legion. They span across the performance of APGA as a party to other issues concerning the way the Sate is administered.

Some of the writings which came in the form of opinion, feature, or even news never made any pretence at edifying their readers. They are so ordinary that they portray their authors as being incapable of objective assessment of the issue written about. The stories are not more than mere propaganda intended to advance the fortunes of their sponsors.

It must be stated here that politics in this clime has assumed some form of disdainful disposition which makes decent Nigerians who ordinarily should take the plunge blush with embarrassment each time their names are linked with it. 'A man who wants to act virtuously in every way' wrote Machiavelli in The Prince, 'necessarily comes to grief among so many who are vicious'. Nigerian political environment is not just vicious but is a mix baggage of unpredictability and brigandage which makes the virtuous keep a noticeable distance.

Indecent writing now jostles for space as a potent weapon used by a politician to bring a perceived opponent down. A desperate politician uses hack writing to weaken an opponent before delivering the sucker punch. That is why today a lot of falsehood is spread in the name of writing just to gratify some entrenched interests. A typical example of such bad writing is the unconfirmed news report by an Onitsha based reporter. In a national Newspaper's edition of Tuesday 29th March, 2011, entitled Anambra doctors' strike claims 29 patients, the reporter wrote some obvious lies against the Anambra State government. In a bid to serve an interest yet to be known, he made some indefensible claims which do not measure up in the face of challenging facts.

In his report he claimed that not fewer than 29 patients died in various public hospitals in the State due to the industrial action embarked upon by medical doctors in the State. He went ahead to apportion the number of the dead in the general hospitals in the State as follow, eight persons for Amaku,twelve for Onitsha, nine for both Nnewi and Ekwulobia, making a total of 29 dead. In the usual characteristics of delivering provocative reports at minimum risks to both reporter and his medium, he couched his sources in the language of the anonymous.

Even in the interview he claimed to have had with the Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in the State Dr. Emma Ekwesianya, he still could not have that figure confirmed by the medic. In fact, he got the medic to discuss other issues pertaining the strike action without so much as broaching the sensitive report about the score and nine dead patients.

How curious?
However the question is how did the newspaper arrive at the number of the dead patients? Why was credible source of confirmation in any of the four general hospitals impossible that he had to use a source? How come that report appeared only in his newspaper among the avalanche of other papers that make daily appearances in the State?

Not even in Lagos State which can boast of well over 20 health facilities have such number of deaths been recorded. The doctors' strike action in that state since early March has not claimed this much. According to the report in Vanguard newspaper of 8th March, 2011, it stated that approximately a death or two was recorded daily. It even went as far as interviewing two of the relations of the victims one Mrs. Agatha Egere who lost her husband and Bola Badejo who lost his wife after child birth. It is only in Anambra State that the victims of the strike action have no relations who would confirm the reporter's story.

•Louis Ejikeme
Lagos