What is the worth of the Nigerian life? -By Sesugh Akume

Filed under: National Issues |

Emmanuel Akem


In Nigeria we hardly value human life. The expression ‘sanctity of human life’ means absolutely nothing to us, it’s just another fancy expression. If we hardly value human life as precious, let’s not even go to human capital.

Earlier this week, Tuesday 15 August, Emmanuel Akem died reportedly in a road accident on Akwanga-Abuja road. Akem was a director at INEC, he it was who introduced the concept of the PVC and card reader towards more transparent and difficult-to-manipulate elections, and oversaw its buy-in and implementation. Many of us would admit that the PVC and card reader gave the people a stronger voice in the 2015 elections and more faith in our democracy. We have many unsung heroes in Nigeria working quietly behind the limelight to make our system work.

I asked, and was told that a bus avoided a pothole and ran into his vehicle. However he didn’t die on the spot, he bled and died after 3 hours of excruciating pain and helplessness. Such is the worth of the Nigerian life. There were no healthcare facilities to attend to him. He was taken to one healthcare facility after the other but they were helpless. His family came in all the way from Abuja and met him alive dying, but there was nothing they could do to help. He later gave up. What a way so see a loved one’s last moments!

Such an asset, wasted. We fail to see these connections, but there’s a direct link between corruption and the failure of governance, and potholes on our roads. There’s also a direct connection between corruption and the failure of a non-existent healthcare system in Nigeria. Those who should fix it don’t, they’d rather go elsewhere to enjoy what others have put in place. What we in turn do is burst arteries in defending these ones tooth and nail. Actually our Stockholm syndrome is what’s killing us the most, and we refuse to see.

How many more precious lives shall we keep losing daily through needless and avoidable deaths? What is the worth of the Nigerian life? May the soul of the departed rest in perfect peace.


One Response to What is the worth of the Nigerian life? -By Sesugh Akume

  1. Thank you Sesugh! Your writeup expresses the helplessness we felt to see him suffer in such a way. He worked tirelessly to make this country great. When people were done with work at the end of the day, he would stay on at work to ensure that nothing was left undone. During the 2011 general election, when all plans put in place by “experts” to print the voters register failed, it was this extremely hard working civil servant who came to the rescue. He got that register printed by working harder and smarter than everybody else. His country needed him and he was there.

    When I got to the Federal Medical Center in Keffi and saw him, I knew he needed to go into surgery immediately! “How soon can he be get into surgery? Has the Surgeon been called?” The surgeon wouldnt come. ” Does the surgeon have a private hospital we can take him to?” He was not taken into surgery. I thought that if at least he could get blood then maybe he would survive the trip to Garki Hospital Abuja were arrangements were being made to receive him in the theatre. The circus surrounding the 4 pints of blood is better left imagined.

    My dad was an incredibly strong man! We all had the impression that nothing on earth could hurt but he was badly hurt and was gasping for breath. Every breath of air he took in was a struggle. He was bleeding from so many wounds. He legs were broken. He hand was broken. He had a deep gash by his side. And he was naked. He last moments were devoid of any form of dignity. An extremely good man who gave so much for his country died the way you would imagine a criminal would die. My father needed his country in his last moments and it failed him totally.

    Afa Ava Akem

    Afa Akem
    August 18, 2017 at 10:41 am