My father’s senseless murder must be a wake-up call for Nigeria

11 months ago 129

On the day of 28 September 2021 my begetter was murdered successful wide daylight by Nigeria’s ubiquitous “unknown gunmen”, the sanction fixed to unidentified attackers.

His killing, which happened to beryllium connected my birthday, was gruesome, cruel and senseless. As helium struggled for his beingness nary 1 helped oregon comforted him successful his hr of need. Worse still, his assemblage was robbed.

Dr Chike Akunyili was changeable to decease successful Anambra, the Nigerian authorities wherever helium was born, estimated to beryllium location to much than six cardinal people, wherever the information concern is emblematic of the greater challenges facing the country. It does not bespeak the wide values of the people.

I spoke with my begetter the time earlier his death. He complained astir the authorities of things successful Nigeria. As a surgeon helium had ever been connected the frontline of people’s suffering and helium knew conscionable however hard beingness was for many.

Patients, helium told me, were nary longer capable to wage for care, and galore much treatments were fixed escaped of charge. It didn’t help, helium added, that nary 1 was safe.

Dr Chike Akunyili
Dr Chike Akunyili was murdered returning from a lecture to commemorate the beingness of his wife, Dora, who headed up Nigeria’s nutrient and cause agency. Photograph: Handout

I asked him if helium was being careful, and helium assured maine that helium was, and that helium seldom went retired immoderate more. This was however challenging the information successful the portion had become.

His decease shook the country, not slightest due to the fact that helium was the hubby of the precocious Prof Dora Akunyili, my mother, who, arsenic caput of the nutrient and cause regulatory agency, protected the wellness and wellbeing of millions of Nigerians, who were being sickened and killed by contaminated water, fake and expired food and drugs.

Why, galore asked, would the state repay her dedication successful specified a manner? Others, myself included, asked however could helium dice successful this way, killed for nary crushed by his chap man, to whom helium had dedicated his beingness for much than 4 decades.

I received a condolence telephone from a relative who reminded maine that, arsenic we mourn our father, different tragic furniture is the nonaccomplishment to those babelike connected his enactment and benevolence, not slightest the thousands of patients implicit the years helium had treated astatine nary charge, the galore radical whose schoolhouse fees helium paid, and those helium employed astatine his hospital.

I grew up watching my parents show kindness and foundation successful helping the neediest members of our community, a attraction that extended, successful the lawsuit of my mother, to millions of Nigerians.

There is simply a conception that has its roots successful astir Bantu languages, and crossed assorted African communities. It is ubuntu. It means: “I americium due to the fact that you are, you are due to the fact that we are.”

It captures the interconnectedness of each beings, upholding a content successful the cosmopolitan ties that hindrance – celebrating our codependent quality community.

Ubuntu and the value of taking attraction of 1 different was halfway to who my parents were. We are liable for 1 another, and everyone matters. This is simply a worth we clasp beloved arsenic a people.

Nigeria’s existent path, marked by expanding insecurity, exploitation, poverty, inadequate acquisition and deficiency of enactment and entree to decent livelihoods, has negatively impacted our state for acold excessively agelong and lone leads to much senseless decease and pain. We tin take a antithetic path.

A antheral   walks connected  integrative  discarded  successful  the Mosafejo country  of Lagos connected  12 February 2019.
‘For excessively long, we’ve teetered connected the borderline of hopelessness, lone to trudge on, hoping that someway we don’t extremity over.’ Photograph: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty

For excessively long, we’ve teetered connected the borderline of hopelessness, lone to trudge on, hoping that someway we don’t extremity over. Since childhood, astir of the conversations I person heard betwixt adults person bemoaned the authorities of the country.

Fast guardant 3 decades and we inactive stitchery successful homes crossed Nigeria lamenting the regular decline: hyperinflation, accrued unemployment, rampant crime, deficiency of healthcare, impunity of nationalist servants … and truthful it goes on. Change comes astatine a infinitesimal erstwhile the presumption quo is challenged. It does not hap successful a vacuum and requires the bulk to clasp the invitation.

My parent showed the powerfulness of conscionable 1 idiosyncratic erstwhile she committed her vocation arsenic a civilian servant, notably successful the regularisation of nutrient and drugs, to serving the astir vulnerable, rejecting the temptation of corruption and immoderate signifier that ran antagonistic to the needs of the people.

Dora Akunyili
My mother, Dora Akunyili, was committed to protecting the astir susceptible successful our society. Photograph: Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP/Getty

I anticipation my father’s decease wakes up capable radical for america to nary longer beryllium contented to teeter connected the borderline but to reclaim the immense imaginable of this state successful the vein of the mantra my parent championed: “Good people, large nation”.

Realistically, I bash not expect overmuch successful presumption of justness for my father’s murder.

The antheral who pulled the trigger is due to the fact that we are – the senselessness and injustice of his action, his anger, and his unit are due to the fact that they are mirrored successful the satellite astir him. True justness volition travel if we code the problems that thrust a antheral to perpetrate specified a convulsive enactment for nary different crushed than helium can.

Things request to change. It starts with acknowledging what is broken, and with it, the values that contributed to that breakdown. The way guardant is not lone to imagination a aboriginal we desire, but besides to place our assorted roles successful achieving it.

Ubuntu reminds america of the captious relation of each individuals who marque up the whole.

One idiosyncratic with courage. One idiosyncratic with integrity. One idiosyncratic with compassion. One idiosyncratic to enactment differently, to accidental nary to corruption, to accidental nary to acts of terror, to support our girls, to uphold the values of diversity, to animate a escaped and just election.

We request to situation the biases we person against radical of antithetic taste groups, spiritual beliefs and socioeconomic means. We request to situation the apathy that leads to the decision that determination is thing we tin do. Giving up means accepting that the strategy has already failed. Real alteration volition necessitate everyone to not lone judge that it tin beryllium different, but to unrecorded up to this dream.