Dear Republic of China,
I hope this letter meets you well. If so, doxology. I have heard with one ear that the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) are angry and threatening fire and brimstone over the decision to involve you in the battle against Aunty Corona. I also heard with the other ear, that, you are coming to further disseminate the virus among Nigerians because the number of cases we have is too low. All these are rumours I picked up on the corridors of our hospital; please, nobody should come and arrest me.
My dear People’s Republic of China, don’t mind them jor! These Nigerian doctors, they are just jealous! Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time, everything in Nigeria was made in China. Our engineering and medical equipment, furniture, plastics, down to the Hb pencil I used in nursery school; all were made in a large warehouse in faraway Shanghai, Guangzhou or some other exotic province that I can neither pronounce nor spell.
Now, more than 30 years later, you, China continue to lead the world in manufacturing and exportation of over a million range of products. Despite all the jokes our Nigerian comedians like to throw around about substandard products, your economy continues to wax stronger year after year further proving that it is us, Nigerians, that order and import products of inferior quality.
Over the years, the love affair between us has continued to blossom, so much so that, everywhere we turn in this country, the fruits of our union are seen, staring brilliantly back at us. See all the roads your people have constructed – beautiful! Without even a hint of a pothole! If it had been our Nigerian engineers, shey we would have all died by now? Never mind that the number of road traffic accidents attributed to bad roads are on the increase; it is not your fault! How can you take responsibility for the crazy way Nigerians drive? Are you also supposed to teach us how to drive? Haba! The work will be too much for you, let the VIO earn their wages. Take a look at the magnificent edifice that is the office of the CCECC along Airport road, Abuja. Is it not wonderful? Which Nigerian Construction company can rival that? None, I tell you.
Which brings me to the gist of this letter; rumour has it that CCECC as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is planning to dash Nigeria over 150,000 pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE), 1.3 million face masks and plenty, plenty ventilators! Kai China! We hail you! You will do well, you hear? Your children will never fail you! Your praises will be sung in Heaven, so help me God! In this era of Buharriyya, you people are blessing us like this? Ya Salam!
Never mind those bad belle people that are bringing up stale news about World Bank blacklisting you for fraud and corruption in Nigeria. So what? Is it this small fraud that is worrying them? Corruption that even Nigerians themselves partake in? Abegi! Besides, that was in 2019. What happens in 2019, stays in 2019. Was it not a Nigerian President that said ‘corruption is not stealing’? You see? You have been vindicated!
Again, never mind these quack Nigerian doctors. What do they know sef? Is not only malaria they treat in this country? Even the chloroquine that they use to treat patients with, where do they get it from? Yes-China! Come closer let me tell you what is worrying our Nigerian doctors: Inferiority complex. Plain and simple. They are afraid that you are coming to steal their thunder. They do not want you to shine like star beer, as you did in Wuhan.
We know that this infection originated from you people, but we Nigerians, have a forgiving spirit. We forgive you for what you have done to Italy, Spain and France. We even forgive you for what you have done to that country headed by that Blonde man who called us a ’shit hole’ country. We forgive you for all these atrocities because of our long and beautiful relationship. Except for the cancellation of the Premiership league and our yearly Umrah; I am not so pleased with that.
Anyway, I digress. The NMA is saying that they do not want Chinese doctors to come and interfere with our healthcare system. That, it is an insult to us as a country. That you people should just donate the items and leave us alone! Chai! There is God o! Since when did Nigerians start doing anything for themselves?
What is that you say? That Nigerians have highly qualified public health experts? That we are doing well so far? And so? Don’t you know that by bringing these Chinese doctors and their equipment, our health system will magically change overnight? Or do you want to deny those ministry officials the money they will use as estacode and per diem (or whatever fancy term it is called) when accompanying these Chinese people all over the country? Why are you NMA people always so uptight? We know you are qualified but are you also qualified in the art of corruption? I think not.
Besides, Chinese Medicine is better. Everybody knows. Are our people not running to hospitals in China? Or is it India? I forget. Live and let live NMA. Dear China people, we the good people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, welcome you.
This piece was originally published by Daily Trust on Saturday, April 11, 2020.