Tag Archive: society


Nigeria is a country made of many ethnic groups with divergent views, beliefs and cultural practices. The complexity of the Nigerian people has made coexisting together sometimes nearly impossible as issues of mistrust and favouritism along ethnic and religious lines continues to spring up. Hence, the tension among ethnic groups remains; ticking like a time bomb and waiting for a stimulus for it to explode. It is not uncommon to hear parents tell their children to be wary of members of other ethnic groups because of certain characteristics which have been attributed to these groups from time immemorial. Some are regarded as been violent, others are seen as been too materialistic, some are said to have higher powers and special skill in witchcraft and others are concerned only about money while we are reminded that some groups cannot be trusted no matter the circumstances. The myths are endless. We erroneously generalise and label groups differently probably because of what we were told by friends and family or what we read in newspapers, journals or magazines even if we have never really had any direct contact with these people.
The quest for education and improved economic conditions has made it necessary for individuals to migrate from their places of origin. This has offered them the opportunity to relate and deal more closely with people from other ethnic groups. It is not uncommon to see an Igbo man residing in the North or a Yoruba in the North and people from other ethnic groups moving to “foreign” places. New friends are made, new cultures learnt and accepted and sometimes it goes even deeper than that. People find love in places they probably were told they should be careful of. This sometimes offers some serious and difficult challenges.
The problems usually faced could make the weak give up. It is not uncommon to have serious and fierce opposition from both parents and if the couples involved are not willing to put up a fight, the love usually dies even before it begins to blossom. The adaptation period is also an issue. Many have never been able to understand why they would have to lie down or kneel, as a sign of respect, before their father-in-law and other elders because they were not trained that way. And while we learn new customs and traditions, we realize that it may not be a walk in the park to adapt. We could get easily offended when we discover how a certain people live their lives. For many, because they were not brought up that way, it is usually a reality shock. Children born into such homes may not learn the languages anyway. These homes usually are “English homes”. This is understandable especially if the man doesn’t understand the woman’s language and vice versa.
However, the benefits of intertribal marriages and relationships cannot be overemphasized. With the growing level of mistrust and violence in the country, such marriages have helped to foster unity amongst families and tribes. And in successful cases, it helps in changing our erroneous views on others. It teaches us not to generalise and label a group simply because of an old encounter we had with a random person or stories we were told by our bitter parents, friends or relatives. The chance to discover a new way of life is also important. We learn to see things from a different point of view. We learn about new foods, places and traditions. These are things we ordinarily would not have learnt if we married that lady or man whose house is less than one kilometre from my home.
Finally, in every relationship, the most important factor is to have two individuals who understand and love each other truthfully. Issues like ethnic or religious difference should never be the most important factor. After all, what is the point in marrying someone from your village if that will translate to a lifetime of unhappiness? So we must learn to love without restrictions. We should not have a list of places we cannot marry from. People find love in places they never thought was possible. We may just be the turning our backs on people who sincerely care for us. There is no guarantee that the so called “safe option” of an intra-tribal marriage will have a happy ending. The single most important thing is to find someone we love, the one whose heart and ours will be in perfect synchrony. By limiting our choices, we may have turned our back on that one person who will love us in ways we never imagined.
Have a nice day.

Hear All Evil But Say Nothing

Life is full of choices and secrets. The life of a doctor is unique. Having the knowledge, skill and expertise to keep an individual alive or prolong that life is a blessing. In the course of practicing, you learn that certain information about your patient must be kept a secret, regardless of how unpalatable they may be. Many of the things a patient tells you must never leave the consulting room. It is common knowledge that many happy families have secrets littered around which if exposed changes and affects how relatives relate to one another. Many family ties are broken beyond repair because when these secrets come out in the open, there are elements of doubts, disappointments and distrust. Depending on the content, there may be no way back. Questions are asked and we wonder what else is being hidden from us?

Few years ago, I got out of medical school. During the induction ceremony, we were excited to join a group of men and women who could affect lives. It finally became clear to us that our actions or inactions could determine the outcome of a disease and go a long way in determining whether an individual got worse or better.  In the midst of all that euphoria and excitement, right in front of our families, relatives, friends and teachers, we were asked to read the Physician’s Oath. With our hands raised and broad smiles on our faces, we recited with pride in our voice:

·         I solemnly pledge to consecrate my life to the service of humanity;

·         I will give to my teachers the respect and gratitude that is their due;

·         I will practice my profession with conscience and dignity;

·         The health of my patient will be my first consideration;

·         I will respect the secrets that are confided in me, even after the patient has died;

·         I will maintain by all means in my power, the honour and the noble traditions of the medical profession;

·         My colleagues will be my sisters and brothers;

·         I will not permit consideration of age, disease or disability, creed, ethnic origin, gender, nationality, political affiliation, race, sexual orientation, social standing or any other factor to intervene between my duty and my patient;

·         I will maintain the utmost respect for human life;

·         I will not use my medical knowledge to violate human rights and civil liberties, even under threat;

·         I make these promises solemnly, freely and upon my honour.

It was quite possible that many of us never really understood the implication of every word and sentence of the oath. We were just too happy to receive the provisional license to practice medicine; our reward for all the physical, mental and emotional stress we had endured while in medical school. I sat down a few days later and thought about that line “I will respect the secrets that are confided in me, even after the patient has died”. The details were clear and precise. The implication was a patient had the right to confide in a doctor and also add that he or she didn’t want anyone, regardless of how close he or she was to that person, to become aware of what had just been discussed in the course of the consultation. I will offer two imaginary scenarios.

Amanda is getting set for her wedding to Dave. The arrangement for the wedding was in full swing and everyone was looking forward to the big day. Dave had insisted there was going to be no sexual relationship until after they had been joined in holy matrimony. He wanted it to be special. However, for almost a year, Amanda had been feeling ill. Symptoms included a recurrent and stubborn cough, fever and unexplained weight loss amongst other symptoms that had become untreatable. He advised Amanda to see his cousin, Amanda, in clinic. Then she walks into the clinic, not as family but as a patient. Then all necessary laboratory investigations are carried out and there seems to be some problems, which luckily can be solved. HIV screening is also done and then there is an even bigger problem. She is HIV POSITIVE. She is told of the result and she is in shock and weeps uncontrollably. When she becomes relatively calm, she looks at her doctor and says, “You must not tell him. If you do, he will leave me. I can’t let that happen”. It must be pointed out that this conversation isn’t an informal chat. She is speaking with a doctor in a hospital. As the Physician’s Oath clearly states, she is entitled to a right to confidentiality. The doctor is in a fix. It is a difficult choice, his patient or his cousin? The oath is quite clear. He can say absolutely nothing unless she wants him to. In countries where litigations are strong and common, he can lose his license if he discloses without the consent of his patient. Later that day, his cousin wants to know how his fiancée is doing and the outcome of the laboratory investigations. The doctor offers him solutions to other minor problems, leaving the HIV aspect, and reassured him that all was well. Unfortunately, he can only advise Amanda to try to disclose to Dave. It’s difficult; he lives with the guilt, knowing that he has kept such vital information away from his poor cousin. Would he have reacted or acted differently if he was his sibling? And would you?

Jennifer has been married for about three years now. However, she has been unable to get pregnant following this union. What her husband is unaware of is that the last time his sweet Jenny saw had her menstrual flow was two years before the wedding (about five years ago). She has somehow managed to deceive him for three years and he actually thinks his wife always has a normal cycle. Five years ago, Jenny had an induced abortion after she got pregnant for a guy she had met at a club. Attempts to find the mystery man when she found out about the pregnancy proved abortive. She had the pregnancy terminated by an auxiliary nurse at a local pharmacy store close to the university she attended then. She had an incomplete abortion with other complications. This was finally taken care of in a proper health facility. But, not everything returned to normal. The damage had been done. While her husband keeps the faith, believing that God’s time is the best, believing in the infinite mercy of God, there is a problem he may never find out. Jennifer is at the Obstetrics and gynaecology clinic to see a doctor because she is under enormous pressure from her mother-in-law and her husband’s siblings to deliver a child. She needs a solution to this dilemma. She tells the doctor the truth and accepts that the problem would certainly be from her. She is however scared of her husband’s reaction if he finds out and insists that this conversation doesn’t get out of the room. She is instead focused on looking for solutions.

The consequences of revealing a patient’s secrets to a relative or friend could be devastating. Families could be broken and friendships lost in the process. This could be ties and bond which have been built over many years. Don’t forget, those we reveal secrets to may be incapable of keeping these sacred details to themselves. They are never settled until they tell a friend who in turn tells another friend. And a chain of communication with connections at different levels is started. Many patients could become victims of stigmatization due to their health status. That should never happen. But you live with the guilt. You know that by keeping these secrets to yourself, you expose innocent people to even greater danger in the future. Unfortunately, they may remain oblivious of the health details of their loved ones for the rest of their lives.

Finally, the job entails you say nothing. Patient can only be advised to disclose such details to their loved ones so that they too can seek help where necessary. They however cannot be forced to reveal these sensitive details if they do not wish to do so. The final decision ultimately rest with the patient. If they vehemently refuse, then for the doctor it’s a case of ‘’hear all evil but most importantly say nothing’’.    

 

Have a good day.

Uche H. Okafor.

A lot of ladies go through what I am about to talk about. It is a bad and very sad experience, one which no one should ever go through. It is made particularly worse by the fact that so many ladies are victims and are painfully dying in silence. I am also extremely perplexed when the woman decides to cope with it.

 

I grow up in a family where love was and is in abundance. My dad NEVER beat me. His relationship with my mother is one every woman dreams about. For over two decades of my existence, I had never seen my dad hit my mum. Like every relationship, they had little misunderstandings which were always settled pretty quickly. Perhaps, due to the small age difference between them, they were more like best friends. To put it differently, they complement each other in every way. I was raised in an environment where we learnt that beating up a woman did not show strength. It only exposed and highlighted your cowardice. I soon began to understand that anyone who had to beat up a lady to prove to the world that he was the boss was pathetically weak.

 

Hence, when I grew older and realized that this horrible act actually occurred in some homes, it was a rude shock. I even found it more difficult to explain why a lady would choose to cope in a relationship in which she was a readily available punching bag for the man. The dangers of physical abuse in a relationship are numerous. I will highlight a few. Many pregnant mothers will lose or have lost their babies because a man was too weak to keep his tempers in check and also walk away rather than get into a fist fight. Ladies could have their faces and bodies badly disfigured sometimes permanently during such abuses. Sometimes, they are not so lucky. They could even lose their lives. When the woman feels that she has had enough of the battering, she decides to retaliate and may mistakenly kill the man out of self-defense. Women who leave such relationships to start another one may have serious trust issues. Little boys born into such homes soon begin to erroneously believe that beating the opposite sex is an important factor in showing that you are in complete control of the relationship. Even the young girls soon begin to have doubts over relationship because of the environment they were raised in.

 

Therefore, the ladies must realize that they are too precious to be beaten up by anyone who feels that having the XY chromosome makes him superior. Anyone who beats you up simply because he is your boyfriend or husband does not deserve you. For those who understand what positive feedback means, he will continue beating you the moment he starts. Such people hardly change. Never forget that you are too valuable to have to go through such experiences. The ladies should never be afraid to walk away when it happens. There are thousands of reasonable men out there who will accept, love, pamper, protect and cherish you like never before; Men, who are tolerant and will not punch, kick or slap you at the slightest provocation.

 

Any guy who beats you has lost the plot and does not deserve you. He also does not deserve a second chance because the chance of him turning a new leaf is so slim. The girls should never be afraid about what the future hold for them. Uncertainty has never killed anyone. After all, it is better to be single and happy than to be in a relationship that is a constant source of frustration, fear and unhappiness. If you are going through this, take a good look at the mirror. Be sincere to yourself and ask yourself if you are better off remaining in a violent relationship. It is not too late to get your life back. Act swiftly. The time is now. Everyone deserves a shot at happiness. It is not the sole right of few or certain people.

 

Finally, if you are a guy doing this to any lady, you have lost the plot.

 

 

Uche Okafor

ROTARACT: More than a club.

Rotaract has grown over the years, becoming an important organization involved in the complete transformation of young men and women with divergent views and belief. Formed in 1968, it is a club which is open to individuals between the ages 18-30. As a club, it focuses on the development of young adults with the aim of making them excellent and dedicated leaders and is also involved in service within the community. Young individuals are taught that service to humanity is an important part of our existence. They are also made to understand that people need you to move forward. After all, we all need a helping hand once in a while.

The importance of international peace and unity cannot be overemphasized. In the current state of unrest, insecurity and escalating violence in the world, getting young individuals to work together to achieve a positive goal is important. Rotaract does that. Clubs are encouraged to take part in international service projects, in a bid to promote peace, unity and international understanding in the world. Hence, it is common to see Rotaract clubs in different districts or even countries carrying out joint projects. Clubs hold meetings regularly, at least twice a month, and also undertake visits to other clubs. The clubs engage in programmes usually within their community, usually charitable ones. Hence, young individuals, university and college students are able to give something to the society and expect nothing back in return.

Some Rotary years ago, I joined the Rotaract family because it offered me a unique opportunity to serve humanity. Hence, I joined the Rotaract Club of Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (ROTANAUTH) at Nnewi, Anambra State. This was an opportunity I did not want to miss. I soon realized that the club was blessed with excellent individuals who were selfless and good examples for everyone to follow. Their commitment to service was never in doubt and I soon realized it was a club that offered an avenue for the complete transformation of individuals.

A Rotaractor at a medical outreach

Club members during a visit to RECDOT at Ozubulu, Anambra State

I learnt a lot from more senior Rotaractors and Rotarians at the Rotary club of Nnewi, our club sponsors. Joining the club taught me that service was the greatest gift an individual could offer his community. I learnt that one could actually go the extra mile to put a smile on a stranger’s face. Seeing someone who had no hope smile was a blessing. Rotaract touches lives, always trying to give something back to the community.

I joined a club who in spite of her numerous stellar projects did not make any noise about it. Members of my local club are usually students or individuals involved in the health profession. During my stay at the club and even after my departure, medical outreaches were organized and members of the community were able to discover medical problems they did not know they had early and were subsequently advised to seek help promptly. Dictionaries were also distributed to some primary schools at Nnewi helping pupils in their studies and it was a point of duty or tradition to visit the Rehabilitation Centre for the Disabled, Old and Tramps (RECDOT) located at Ozubulu, Anambra State in February every year. During the last Rotary year, the club was also able to get individuals to donate over fifty pints of blood.

Club member carrying out free blood glucose screening

A donor during ROTANAUTH’s blood donation project

Seeing young individuals with drive, energy and enthusiasm engage in these activities was a joy to behold. There was always a great urge to join in at the sight of club members making sacrifices and going the extra mile to make things work. For me, the experiences have been worthwhile. I learnt to keep a calm head even in the most difficult situation. Rotaract is not just your typical, ordinary and average club. We don’t just hide under the “Red and Gold” umbrella. Rotaractors are individuals who take the bull by the horn and understand that there is a lot that can be done. The individuals who formed this organization have certainly not been let down.

Finally, I am out of the university now but I can boldly say that Rotaract has improved me. I am better equipped to face the challenges the world has to give. I am not the same guy who was inducted into a Rotaract club some years ago. Interacting with members from my club and other clubs within my country has certainly given me different views to life. I have learnt so much. I am certain that Rotaract can play an even bigger role in the world. Anyone who joins this great and is committed can never stay the same. Join Rotaract now.