By Safiya I. Dantiye
IN the midst of the trying period of her family due to her ailment, the daughter of the former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Sonia, has written a passionate appeal for a kidney donor to save her life few days ago.
“I, Sonia Ekweremadu, hereby appeal to the general public to come to my aid and save my life. I am 25 years old and a graduate of Media and Communications, University of Coventry. I dropped out of my postgraduate studies at the University of Newcastle in 2019 when I was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease, FSGS Nephrotic Syndrome,” she said.
In June this year, Senator Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice, were arrested at the Heathrow Airport in London by the Specialist Crime Team of the Metropolitan Police in London, United Kingdom, for bringing a child into the country to allegedly harvest his organs. They were arraigned before a UK Magistrate’s Court, and have been in prison custody as the case is being determined against them.
When the story broke, many people mistakenly thought the organ harvest was for ritual purposes or trade. But it soon became clear that it was a case of taking a kidney from one Ukpo Nwamini David for Sonia’s transplant, who claimed to be a minor, which is against the rule in the UK. His age has since been established to be twenty-one.
In any case, Sonia’s appeal for a donor to save her life is heartrending, especially as she said her siblings could not donate to her due to genetic problem and her father is also suffering a kidney disease now in detention.
However, while it is human to feel empathy for someone in a dare situation, even your worst enemy, as people say, some have seen it as them versus us; that is, the elite/political class versus the masses.
I read comments of people abusing her, wishing her the worst, as many Nigerians are going through the same problem and dying with nobody to help them.
In fact, when her parents were arrested, Ekweremadu was vilified that having been in the Senate since 2003, representing Enugu West Senatorial District, if he had helped through legislation in building hospitals or equipping them with the facilities to treat kidney diseases, what happened to him would not have happened.
As such they see her as a privileged young woman who had her university degree in the UK, and had even started her postgraduate studies there as well three years ago before the kidney disease.
In Nigeria many of her age mates are still struggling to get admission to universities, having written JAMB many times.
While some that are fortunate to get admission are stagnated because of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strikes every now and then, adding months or even a year to their tenure of study.
Somebody once pointed out what he called a conspiracy against the children of the masses where job opportunities are concerned. They stipulate age twenty-five or twenty-six, but a lot are over that age because of the delay in getting admission coupled with ASUU strikes before one graduates. Then they go through the compulsory one-year National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
So, at the age of twenty-seven or twenty-eight, you are disqualified because you are ‘over age’, which is very dismal before you even started. But those that attend private universities or study abroad graduate at the age of twenty-one or twenty-two, so these jobs are literally meant for them.
It is quite telling, therefore, that due to the way leaders or those in the position of authority behave with impunity or total disregard for the feelings of the people by flaunting wealth, people have little sympathy for them if something bad happens to them. Some see it as nemesis.
This is because you can’t explain how somebody who had nothing but as soon as he gets into certain office, he gets rich beyond imagination, far beyond his salary and allowances.
But since there is no accountability, he gets away with it and becomes a hero.
While our heart goes to Sonia Ekweremadu, we wish our leaders to take measures to develop and improve our facilities including human capacity.
If he comes out of his ordeal, we hope Senator Ekweremadu would try his best to improve the health sector whose neglect has affected him personally, a part from the embarrassment of being in prison in a foreign land where a leeway to freedom is not usually easy to get like in our clime, if only to prove that many lessons have been learnt. And the poor also suffer such ordeals.