MADNESS MANIFESTS ITSELF IN DIFFERENT FORMS

Gora Albehu Dauda.

Before you start wondering, I have this confession to make to the effect that I am NOT a psychiatrist however, in my village many years ago we used to occasionally see a mentally sick individual who strayed to my village. Our parents used to describe or call them in the Hausa language ” Mahaukachi or Mai Hauka ” meaning a Madman and we were warned to avoid them. Since I am not a psychiatrist, I am constrained to say anything as to the illness or medical condition which causes madness. While psychiatric facilities are doing the much they can to help out, it is a truism that it is usually very difficult to restore or cure the condition permanently. The story is told of a mentally ill patient who was admitted to a Neuro Psychiatrist facility for treatment. After some time, his condition improved considerably and it was concluded he be discharged. The story goes that it has been the practice in such facilities that a patient can only be discharged on the recommendation of a Medical panel or Board. This particular patient was duly briefed about the interview and told that all that was to be required of him was to speak on the recipe for cooking or preparing fresh okra soup. On the day of the interview the patient went in and he stated that to prepare fresh okra soup the cheff needed to go to the market and buy the fresh okra, meat, dry fish, peper and all the other ingredients. Coming home the meat was to be washed and seasoned he told the panel, after which some little water would be added along with the gratted or pounded okra. He added that the heating was to be reduced so the soup does not spill. From all he told the panel, they were convinced that he was fully recovered. Some of the panelist kept saying that your man was alright and should be discharged without any further ado but the Medical Directed of the facility insisted that due process be followed through. Then the unexpected happened, instead of the patient concluding that the cooked soup be served if required as it was ready he went on to add that the complete head of a dog be introduced into the already prepared soup. The panelists were taken aback at this turn of events meaning that there was much more work to be done on the patient. This, many believe is the nature of mental illness.

Some people with mental illnesses usually engage in behaviors that are abnormal which could include but not limited t eating from dustbins, drinking from water flowing through gutters and may some of the time be naked and walking the streets. For many of those, but for the fact that they are mentally sick yet they look physically healthy. It is not clear if they have feelings of LOVE or if love and compassion makes any meaning to them. The attachment though, that women who are mentally ill but nursing young babies cannot and will not normally under normal circumstances let their babies be separated from them.no matter is quite instructive. From this background,it is bo be expected that normal people or people considered to be normal should be guided by those basic qualities of LOVE and COMPASSION. This is only an assumption but it is not true for in the area of LEADERSHIP there are a number of people with mental illnesses in the driving seats of leadership. Such are driven by their warped way of thinking such that they completely disregard the obvious fact that the votes of ordinary people put them in positions of leadership. When a leader is SELF CONCEITED, that could in my humble view amount to a form of mental illness. Where a leader sees himself/herself as ALL KNOWING society has a big problem on its hands. When a supposed leader fails to listen to those he leads you cannot but agree that you may be having someone with mental illness in charge of proceedings. Where also a leader santions without going through legal processes the demolition of people’s houses, you cannot but agree that there is a problem with his mental health. A commentator was saying the other day that mental illness flows in families meaning that if someone has had a history of mental illness that such a condition is likely to flow in some if the upsprings of such a family. He did not however support this hypothesis with any medical evidences.

In a democracy, a genuine democracy at that, the people (the electorate) are the barometer who’s reading tells the health of such an entity. As a result of the recklessness on display by some of the characters parading themselves as leaders I wrote and suggested in an earlier post that psychiatric evaluation be included as requirement for any candidate throwing himself/herself up for a leadership role in this country. Clearly as things stand in today’s Nigeria, there are a number of rascals who a psychiatric examination should have exempted from contesting for leadership positions. We can only lay the blame for this state of affairs on the 1999 Constitution as Amended for making the requirements so pedestrian that some of these guys with mental illnesses squeezed through and now society is having to pay such a huge prize. When a society elects a leader who immediately he assumes power turns his/her back against those who elected them, there couldn’t be an aberation more than that. According to the 1999 Constitution as Amended the primary responsibility of governments is the provision of welfare and security for the people. When a government fails to deliver welfare and security for the people, such a government has all but failed. Welfare by my modest understanding includes job creation and remuneration for the workforce. It also includes payments of retirement benefits and pensions of the retirees. A government, any government for that matter that fails to deliver on these basics in my view has lost the moral legitimacy to govern and therefore may be building its own time bomb.

If the current government in Kaduna State has achieved anything aside the few streets in Kaduna North and Zaria LGAs that have been resurfaced in what she calls Urban Renewal Programme there is practically nothing to write home about in the past 6 years. If anything at all, it has been a litany of TEARS, SORROWS, BLOOD and PAINS. The purge of the workforce has relentless been pursued . It may be a requirement by government to prune the workforce to a more manageable level but it is also imperative for those losing their jobs to be paid their entitlements otherwise how will they survive out there? Adding insults to injury, people’s private lands are in the process of being irresponsibly taken over and handed over to so-called private developers without ADEQUATE COMPENSATION having been paid. These private lands are all that some of those forcefully laid off from their jobs have to return to so they can eke a living. Recall that the entitlements of those workers whose appointments were terminated starting in 2016 including traditional leaders, teachers as well as many others from the State Civil Service are yet to be paid. It is very difficult to find any decent word to describe what is playing out in Kaduna State. I can only but pity him/her who will take over from the current government as the debts to be inherited will be so humongous as to dwaf and frustrate even the most patriotic leader. To God Be The Glory.

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