This is Zikoko Citizen’s Game of Votes weekly dispatch that helps you dig into all the good, bad, and extremely bizarre stuff happening in Nigeria and why they’re important to you.
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If you’re feeling mischievous and throw a stone into a United Kingdom hospital, there are good odds it’ll land on a Nigerian-trained doctor who’ll scream, “Wetin be that?”
Seven years ago when Buhari became president, only 233 Nigerian-trained doctors moved to the UK. But that’s only 33 more than the 200 Nigerian doctors who moved to the UK in September 2022 alone.
If you had to guess how many Nigerian-trained doctors have relocated to the United Kingdom the entire year, what would your number be? According to the UK’s General Medical Council, the number of fleeing doctors between January and September is 1,307.
And there are more doctors waiting on the queue to get out of the country [Image source: Zikoko Memes]
For a country that already has a shortage of doctors in the health sector, losing even one doctor to other countries is a concern. To lose 1,307 professionals in just nine months is a tragedy. According to research by BMJ Global Health, low and middle-income countries lose $15.86 billion annually when locally-trained doctors migrate to high-income countries. The greatest total costs are incurred by India, Pakistan, South Africa and, of course, Nigeria ($3.1 billion).
The unchecked loss of highly-qualified doctors to new dispensations poses a threat to Nigeria’s already troubled health sector. Not only is it a loss of human capital with economic consequences, but can be a matter of life and death for Nigerians that need quality care.
[Image source: Zikoko Memes]
Nigerian doctors, like other Nigerians surfing the japa wave, are fleeing poor working and living conditions in pursuit of better opportunities abroad, and you have to wonder when the Nigerian government will tackle the exodus with ideas more sophisticated than just simply chaining them to hospital beds.
What else happened this week?
The 2023 presidential election is finally gaining life
The top three candidates for the 2023 presidential election finally breathed some life into their campaigns two weeks too late. On September 28, 2022, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officially opened the floor for candidates to start campaigning, but all three have been sluggish with kicking things off.
What changed this week?
The candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, announced a presidential campaign council comprising 1,234 (seriously, this number isn’t a joke) members. Former presidential spokesperson and Obi’s current ride-or-die, Doyin Okupe, is the campaign’s director-general. Okupe boasted Obi already has a minimum of 15 million votes waiting for him at the polls, as long as INEC doesn’t do anyhow.
Notably, Obi skipped the committee’s unveiling ceremony for a speaking engagement at the ICAN 52nd Annual Accountants Conference. But with how low the standards have got, you’re just thankful he wasn’t off somewhere in London secretly treating an undisclosed illness.
The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, officially flagged off his campaign and promised Nigerians would never again suffer from hunger and insecurity.
[Image source: Zikoko Memes]
But his campaign is still haunted by the ghost of Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, who predictably didn’t show up at the campaign launch, putting a question mark on Atiku’s high regard for himself as a unifier. In fact, days later, the party postponed two campaign outings in two states reportedly to give the candidate more time to patch things with Wike.
The candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, also oversaw the launch of the party’s Women Presidential Campaign Committee. He charged his campaigners to preach his gospel and politely tell people that want his party out of government to shut their dirty mouths. It’s a great way to endear yourself to undecided voters if the goal is to lose the election.
Question of the week
What should the Nigerian government be doing about the ongoing flooding crisis that it isn’t already doing?
Click here to tweet your answer to @ZikokoCitizen on Twitter.
Ehen, one more thing…
The governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, appointed over 28,000 officials for political units this week. When you get over the taxpayer cost of these appointments, you have to wonder if the governor is preparing for an imminent war the rest of us don’t know about.