In 1985, 35 years ago, I, Edmundson Thompson Akpabio, was the President of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA. Late Dr Beko Ransome-Kuti was the 1st Vice-President. Dr GTN Ajakpo was the 2nd Vice-President, and Dr Ayo Falope wàs Secretary-General. This same General Buhari was the Military Head of State of Nigeria.
The NMA, under my leadership did everything possible to persuade the Government to see the need to give a little more attention to improve the grossly inadequate, dilapidated, achaich Health Care System in Nigeria.
But all our pleas fell on deaf ears. In the argument that followed, NMA was proscribed, the entire leadership of the NMA, including yours truly, was hunted down even in the streets like rabbits, including our younger-than-teenage children , arrested and clamped into solitary detention under inhuman condition’s with occasional torture for six months.
The gross inadequacies have remained to this day, and the struggle has continued.
A few days ago, on 21st March, 2020, I was 85 (eighty five) years old, and I thank God Almighty most sincerely for keeping me alive, healthy,and strong enough to see what is happening today, much as I regret that it has taken a Coronavirus pandemic to open people’s eyes to see what NMA had seen and fought to remedy 35 years ago.
History, they say, repeats itself. It does so because usually people don’t listen to it. This pandemic will end just like every other thing that has a beginning. When it does, let those of us who remain alive thereafter not forget the lesson – the dire need to totally revamp the entire Health Care System in Nigeria to the highest possible international standard.
Dr. E. Thompson Akpabio, a Past President of the most NMA(1984 – 1988).