As I was preparing to publish collection of my thoughts as a book, there came an experience am humbled to share. I chose to include it as the last chapter of this book because of the life changing lessons I feel I am indebted to share with the public.
The scriptural recommendation that we should always be good to fellow being is as old as existence of the world itself. When the Bible says “Love your neighbour as yourself”, it implies that whatever is our wish for fellow human naturally returns back to us in a way. This is applicable to everyone irrespective of status.
The truism that we are what we sow in terms of deeds cannot be half true. A close shave encounter with death on Monday 11th September 2017 revealed the shortest length between life and death, while the help from ‘doing it right’ that placed an ambulance in the remote Ketu-Ejinrin General Hospital Epe and dividend of my humble goodwill became the saving grace.
‘Living for public good always’ is a ‘best kept secret’ meant for all to earn noble rewards but only the wise make use of it. More importantly, those who are privileged to hold positions of authority should see it as rare honour to touch lives because to whom much is given, much is expected. Public office is a trust and public office holders too are part of the public.
For me as Eleniyan nothing bothers me more than waking up in a day without a programme that will help me bring a little happiness to those who are in dire need particularly on the financial front. Without dressing anything borrowed robes, I am nicknamed Eleniyan not for the fancy of it, but because I see people as my garment each day of my life. Life is short; whatever we give to help and save others from sorrow, agony and dejection are our deposits for the eternal.
Apart from being humanitarian, it is also wise to give one’s best in any situation where service is required. Whatever helps offered in the cause of doing well, it is mere deposit for one’s safety account when the time comes. If Ketu-Ejinrin in the semi-rural part of Epe was not deemed worthy of an ambulance by Governor Ambode under his ‘health service delivery for all’ scheme, or if a bad legislation had stalked such laudable scheme, the narration herewith would have been different, a memorial commendation probably.
I survived a life threatening situation on the fateful day not because of my position or influence; practically if Ketu-Ejinrin General Hospital lacks capability for good medical service, or has no stand-by ambulance for emergency, the eventuality would have be disastrous.
In the public office arena, political and public office holders who fix public facilities to serve all class of people are only wise. Though those who take advantage of their positions to divert huge public resources think they are smarter. Reward of goodwill is peace of mind. A former public office holder in Nigeria who was riddled with all forms of diseases but has array of estate apartments, huge shopping complexes, properties across Dubai and London and unlimited investments while her people languish in abject poverty and penury is not only wicked but cruel in its severest form.
Holder of public office is just a receiver of grace and high privilege because there are so many men and women who hold no distinctive positions but whose contribution towards the development of the society has been enormous.
We have seen viral lessons online of modest world leaders who go on public train, travelled on road without heavy security and a Prime Minister who rode on bicycle to office without hassles. We must continuously strive to make the world peaceful and habitable for all. We have also seen a poor cleaner at Nigeria’s foremost international airport returned millions of naira lost by a traveller - good will is not limited to status. Be you a clerk, office attendant, security personnel, driver or even a cleaner, you are bound to put your best as the good job you do might just be your saving grace when least expected.
To my warmest amazement, the level of care and hospitality received in the hands of our health care workers were amazing. This also has nothing to do with my status but demonstration of the fact that if adequately motivated and encouraged, our health care providers can offer equal or better services than what we seek for thousands of miles away.
I am therefore happy that the vision of the present administration is to ensure Lagosians who live in the remotest part of the State are able to access health care facilities.
Government hospital in Ketu-Ejinrin provided emergency service to stabilise my failing health; a stand-by ambulance took over and LASUTH did the rest. Anyone can find himself in a situation where his bullet proof car will be of no use but that ambulance with a thinning conveyer stretcher while siren is blown to announce the need to save a life.
I was dressing up preparatory to my return trip to Lagos without the least sign of such health emergency scenario, but when it dawned, the car parked outside for my journey was later driven empty to Lagos while I was conveyed with the thinning stretcher inside the ambulance for intensive treatment at the LASUTH. Life is transient for whoever cares to accept the reality of it.
After staying unconscious for almost an hour, the splash of water over my face at a gallop returned me back to life. At that moment, my thought went to Albert Schweitzer who said “the purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.” I offered my silent prayer for the grace to do more for my people and those unknown. It was answered as I regained my consciousness partly until I got full treatment. At that point, the ambulance driver was a factor in the outcome (good or bad) of my situation…everyone is important!
The level of professionalism displayed by Doctors and staff of various departments at LASUTH were so amazing. Services were superb talking equipment and personnel.
I implore Lagosians to continue to patronise our General Hospitals because they still remain the best around. All we need to do is developed them into international model health care hospitals. It was also a thing of joy that every department I was taken to for examination, one person I never remembered I helped in the past came out to offer their best to save my life. The good relationship I maintained with people in the health sector I oversee had paid up.
We must always do well at all circumstances. Our contributions in the cause of our public services are not for anybody but invariably for ourselves. As legislators, if we did not do enough to ensure money was adequately voted for health sector, I would have become a victim of our undoing. As I was there, a senior Doctor was also admitted and operated upon, reaping dividends of his goodwill; such is life.
I want to sincerely thank the Governor, the Speaker of Lagos Assembly, all Honourable members, entire staff of ketu-Ejinrin General Hospital, CMD of LASUTH, Doctors and all staff and all law-abiding tax payers in Lagos State; we are all doing ourselves services needed for a better tomorrow. I thank my well-wishers and associates who stood by me in me low time.
Health is wealth. We need to make every life count and continue to ensure no life is lost as a result of unavailability of basic health care facility or personnel. Our society is only better and safer when we can rely on our local apparatus for saving lives. In all, we must all strive to continue to live for one another. Who knows, the next beneficiary of our goodwill might just be our own blood relation or the next door neighbour.
Olulade is a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly.