The trained doctors are back in Borno, all thanks to VP Shettima

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By Stanley Nkwocha

Gratitude, they say, does not play around. It goes straight for the heart. It is what happens when we stop long enough to notice all the good stuff. So, it was not surprising that a group of medical doctors were among well-meaning Nigerians who availed themselves of the opportunity created by the Eid-el-Fitr celebrations on Thursday to pay the Vice President, Senator Kashim Shettima, a thank-you visit at his residence in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

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The medical doctors were among the 60 female medical students sponsored for MBBS courses in 2014 when the administration of Senator Shettima in Borno State awarded scholarships to students studying different health professional fields abroad.

In 2014, then Governor Shettima took it upon himself to sponsor female citizens of the state to study Medicine at the El-Razi Medical University, Khartoum in Sudan and other citadels of great learning. During the launch of the Female Medical Intervention Programme of his administration and presentation of scholarship letters at the Government House Maiduguri, Shettima had said the female students were drawn from the 27 local government areas of the state.

“Having 30 female medical doctors which the state desperately needs is the greatest legacy the government can give the state, in view of the fact that women have peculiar health challenges arising from maternity, menstrual and other issues that women would be in the best position to handle as a result of the African culture and religion,” Shettima had said, noting that 30 female candidates would be sent every year for training as medical doctors and that no amount of money spent on their training would be a waste.

Not satisfied, Shettima had directed the then commissioner for Higher Education, Mr Bello Ayuba, to add three more Christian female candidates and two female students from the Northern part of the state to the 30 scheduled for the training, imploring the candidates to be good ambassadors of the state and the country.

True to his words, as good ambassadors they were urged to become, the medical doctors were back on Thursday with an unquenchable desire to thank and appreciate Kashim Shettima for his capacity and the will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character which inspires confidence.

Recounting their experience and how they were recruited, one of the 60 girls picked from across Borno State and sponsored by Shettima to study Medicine abroad, Dr. Aisha Kaumi, told journalists immediately after the Sallah homage to the Vice President that they have since graduated, with 50 of them working as medical doctors in the state.

She said, “My name is Dr. Aisha Kaumi, one of the medical doctors sponsored by Vice President Kashim Shettima while he was governor of Borno State. So, we came here today to pay a visit to thank him for all he has done for us and to congratulate him on his well-deserved position as the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Alhamdulillah, we met him and everything went well, and he (the VP) assured us that in case we want to specialize he was 100 percent ready to assist us.

“We were 60 then, 30 of us from El-Razi Medical University, Khartoum in Sudan, and the other 30 who graduated from the National University of Sudan. Alhamdulillah, all of us graduated and currently, about 50 of us are working with the state government here in Borno State. The remaining ten are yet to pass their medical exams but, Insha Allah, we are hoping that they will catch up with us.”

On the motivation behind studying Medicine and the impact on them and the state, Dr. Kaumi said, “It was indeed a dream come true because I never ever thought I will become a medical doctor. So, Alhamdulillah, I’m very grateful to the Vice President. Without him, I don’t think I would have become a medical doctor today. It was not easy; it was a kind of roller coaster of hardship and the courage to study well so that we can come here and help our people in Borno State. So, we are very grateful to him. His Excellency, the governor of Borno State is really doing well in trying to equip the hospitals. We are really grateful.”

Retrospectively, the health and education sectors received adequate attention in Borno State under Senator Shettima as governor. Apart from human capital development which led to foreign scholarships for the ever-grateful medical doctors to study abroad, the then Governor Shettima utilized available resources at his disposal to rehabilitate hospitals destroyed by the Boko Haram insurgents and for the procurement of equipment for some reconstructed health facilities.

As Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, an opportunity given to him by his boss, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, VP Shetima is poised to replicate the same leadership of lifting the vision of Nigerians complementing Mr President’s effort at raising performance to a higher levels as well as improving standard of living beyond normal limitations.

The signs are becoming very clear in just less than a year of the Tinubu-led Renewed Hope administration. As the administration advances in the course of changing the narrative for Nigerians, it will become glaring to all why President Tinubu settled for a Vice President who is trustworthy, visionary,  loyal and capable.

Nkwocha, spokesman of  Vice President Kashim Shettima wrote in from Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

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