While were all busy minding our businesses this week, our Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige, went on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Wednesday morning and said some rather inflammatory things. When asked about the current mass emigration of Nigerian doctors to various countries abroad, he said:
“Who said we don’t have enough doctors? We have more than enough. You can quote me. There is nothing wrong in them travelling out. When they go abroad, they earn money and send them back home here. Yes, we have foreign exchange earnings from them and not just oil.”
This statement was made about a country whose doctor-to-patient ratio is 1 to 5000 people, with the optimal recommendation by the World Health Organization being 1 to 600 people. These words cam through the mouth of a person supposedly in charge of all matters concerning labour in Nigeria, a former Governor, a trained medical doctor.
I marvel when events such as this occur. On one hand I’m not even surprised anymore by what these lawmakers say, I think I have gotten to the point when nothing can shock me again. On the other, I’m confused. Shouldn’t a minister should have a team of informed subordinates working with him? Someone, anyone, could have googled this information before he went on that show, and it would have prevented him from appearing on a live television broadcast and disseminating inaccurate information (then again it could be intentional, and I won’t be surprised as well).
I wish the Minister was the only culprit of a blunder such as this. Unfortunately many of us fall into this category. We are quick to speak, often without doing our research to obtain facts on what we speak about. Being ignorant about a subject matter is one thing, insisting on giving ‘opinions’ on it is another. That is probably why those street interviews with unsuspecting civilians also double as comedy videos, because a lot of us would rather talk on a topic we know little about than calmly say “I don’t know”.
The more troubling issue here is that a good number of humans don’t make self-development a priority. It is not a problem specific to a geographical location, although it is more prevalent in some than others. It’s not just a ‘Nigeria’ problem (read some tweets or YouTube comments and you will know) but it is a major challenge for Nigerians. Many cannot remember the last time they read a book, read a news article, or looked up some facts on certain topics. Do you leave your education on current affairs to chance, or do you actually part it a part of your routine?
Never in history have we been exposed to so much global information (thank you Internet), yet so many are comfortable living in nescience, and even worse, are quick to expose their ignorance.
I was shocked and mildly upset by the Minister’s interview and I know I was not alone in this, but I feel that what happened is a pointer to a pitfall in our society. In the midst of all the criticism, it is important we look inward and make decisions to keep us from falling prey to mishaps in our various spheres of influence. We all need to do better, especially in the fields of life in which we specialize in. Please make it a point of duty educate ourselves on prevalent issues in our fields,and if you are asked a question whose answer you’re unaware of, it is not an offense to say you do not know in order to avoid embarrassment.
Earth is a global village; there is almost no excuse to not broaden your knowledge base.
Thank you for reading.