Author Topic: Emergence Of Fifth Columnists: Need For Nigerian Nurses To Focus On Unity.  (Read 470 times)

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Idowu Olabode

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 I write to convey heartfelt felicitations to all nurses of Nigerian extract and origin and use this medium to congratulate the leadership of the profession starting with the registered professional association cum trade union - NANNM; the regulatory agency, N&MCN; the directorate of nursing services in the federal ministry, the Committee of heads of nursing departments in Nigerian universities, Committee of Heads of Basic and Post Basic Nursing Institutions of Nigeria {COHBPNIN}, the Fellows of West African College of Nursing {FWACN} and other stakeholders in this noble profession. Efforts of all these stakeholders and their contributions to the development of the nursing profession in Nigeria cannot be wished away and are greatly appreciated. I also want to acknowledge and appreciate the past leaders who have contributed immensely to the profession in their various domains as I realize that the foundation on which today is built was yesterday. It is important to acknowledge the young and active members of the profession in whom the future of nursing lies. It is pertinent to appreciate their undying quest for the betterment of this profession and their numerous yearnings for a better nursing profession which is responsible for putting some of our current leaders on their toes to do the needful.

I have observed with keen interest the recent trend of events as regards the nursing profession in Nigeria especially as some persons have chosen to fan the embers of disunity and it is crucial to note that a house divided against itself cannot stand. Consequently, one is compelled to clear the air and set the records straight on certain issues in our quest to ensure that Nigerian nurses understand the facts of the matter and for posterity sake. It is indeed very important for us as nurses to understand our past, where we are coming from as this will serve as a veritable tool; a compass; to direct us in the quest for where we are going to; a glorious future.

The profession of nursing world over is an enviable and noble one that every nurse should be proud of belonging to. However, as a student of history, I may not be able to give first hand chronicle of the evolution of the nursing profession in Nigeria but with close association with some eminent nursing elders, I was able to gather that the nursing profession in Nigeria has its own peculiarities even from its foundation. This is exemplified in a situation where at the inception, there were various groups representing the interests of the same profession and who were speaking with diverse views and opinions on issues of common interest to the nursing profession. This created a situation whereby things fell apart and the centre could no longer hold resulting in a huge setback for would be achievements for the profession. There were various associations/organizations purporting to represent the interests of the nursing profession which include;
Nigerian Union of Nurses {NUN}
Professional Association of Trained Nurses of Nigeria {PATNON}
Nigeria Nurses Association {NNA}
Professional Association of Trained Midwives of Nigeria {PAMON}
Professional Health Visitors of Nigeria
Nigeria Industrial Nurses Association
Guild of Registered Nurses of Nigeria
Community Nurses Association of Nigeria

This led to a scenario where the various groups representing the interest of the nursing profession were singing discordant tunes on issues of mutual interests resulting to a colossal loss in the Udoji award of 1976. It took the efforts of well-meaning patriots and trailblazers in nursing for whom the huge loss served as an eye opener and a unifying factor to clamor for unity. This engineered the unification of diverse interest groups under one umbrella leading to the inauguration of National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) as a professional association cum trade union and Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) on the 8th December, 1977 at the City Hall, Lagos. The first leadership of the Association emerged with Mrs. Hannatu Omole as the President and Mrs. Julie Omigbo as the Deputy President while Comrade Moses Adelani Olabode was appointed the pioneer Executive Secretary of the association. This set of leaders led the struggle that culminated into the achievement of the IAP Award of 1981 delivered by Justice Savage, which conferred true professional status on Nursing. The IAP awarded thus; “Nursing is a Profession “sui generis” subject to no control or directive by any other group or profession except in so far as it forms part of an organic whole”.

Recently however, nurses seem to be unaware or have forgotten this past and are beginning to get divided on issues of common interests. The fear is that a repeat of the 1976 scenario may be imminent. Thankfully, despite the discordant tunes sang on the issue of the scheme of service and internship, the outcome at the 39th National Council of Establishment in Niger state was a victory for the nursing profession and it was expected that the victory was going to be a unifying factor for nurses in Nigeria. It was therefore a sigh of relief to read the release from the desk of the national president of NANNM in which he congratulated all Nigerian nurses and described this victory as one for all nurses in Nigeria. For me, this was leadership exemplified and humility personified. Only a few persons can share the credit for such an achievement with all, especially with persons who overtly and covertly worked against them in the pursuit of the goal. I became personally endeared to him from the titling of the piece “A victory for all Nigerian nurses” and even with the message he sent via the release. A close scrutiny at the document revealed that the NANNM president did not for once ascribe the success at the NCE as solely the efforts of NANNM, himself or a group of individuals. Rather, he called for all nurses to intensify efforts at working towards the release of necessary circulars and implementation of the internship scheme and the unified scheme of service. He further called for unity amongst all Nigerian nurses and in his words, admonished that Nigerian nurses should “remain and steadfast in prayer for the speedy circularization and implementation of this pronouncement. Our discourse at this historic moment of ours should focus more on generating more light than heat. I will enjoin us to lay more emphasis on the factors that unite us rather than those that separate us. It is pertinent to note that at this point, we should remember that we are first of all nurses before factors such as specialties, race, qualifications put us into different sections.”

One was really expecting nurses to yield this admonition and work together to harness all our energies towards the speedy circularization and implementation. However, there have always been Judases since the days of Jesus and I guess they don’t plan to hang their boots anytime soon. Rather than bring their contributions to the table on how fresh graduates from universities will commence internship or about how to stop, with immediate effect, the retrogression of registered nurses who go to acquire BNSc degrees in the name of conversion to the officers’ cadre, they have started misinforming Nigerian nurses on how the victory was secured or who should take the credit either wrongfully or rightfully. These people who have constituted themselves into fifth columnists did not even deem it fit to congratulate Nigerian nurses on the achievement but were quick to apportion credits and condemnations even though I reliably gathered that they didn’t set foot in Minna the venue of the NCE meeting not to mention having firsthand information of what transpired at the meeting. Let it be made crystal clear that NANNM and N&MCN should be partners in progress and at no point be seen as in a competition as purported by these fifth columnists who are attempting to import themselves into the affairs of the profession through the back door and create animosities where there should be none. They have eventually proven to us that they do not have the interests of Nigerian nurses at heart but are only interested in boosting their selfish egos. Nigerian nurses should ignore these enemies of the profession and yield to the request of a true leader who has called on us to unite and focus on the factors that unify us rather than those that divide us and work together to speak in one voice and sing in harmonious tunes to achieve the set target ahead of us. It should not cost us another colossal loss like in the days of the Udoji award for us to appreciate the importance of unity. He who refuses to learn from the past is doomed to the damnations of repeated blunders.

A WORD IS SUFFICIENT FOR THE WISE.

Sherif Olanrewaju R.N


 
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