All over the world, the relationship between economic insecurity and family health is well-established. In developed countries of the world – where the standard of living is comparatively high – people are less prone to certain ailments, which have almost become the acquired destiny of citizens in developing nations, where good leadership is in abysmally short supply.
In Africa, most electoral processes are flawed with fraud and corruption. This sad reality has been responsible for the inept leadership that has remained a cancer to the soul of the continent. In most African countries, votes don’t count as candidates are selected and imposed on the populace; while in some cases, leadership positions are bought by the highest bidders through the support of godfathers.
One grave implication of the foregoing is that, for a long time now, Africa has been at the crossroads of socio-economic prosperity because those at the helm of affairs are only exploiters who are ideologically disconnected from the masses. They do not feel the pains of the masses because they were never voted into those positions; they only forced their ways to power. No wonder issues like food security and the provision of social amenities have remained a mirage.
The average Nigerian civil servant lives on a paltry 30,000 naira minimum wage, amidst a dilapidated primary healthcare system. The implication of this reality is that life expectancy in the country will continue to nosedive largely because the factors that support a good life are in very short supply.
This also explains why religion thrives most on the continent. When the failings of government at all levels become a norm, the masses are left to their fate. They begin to run after God that has already blessed them, not knowing that their leaders are their greatest enemies.
A country like Nigeria that is blessed with oil and other mineral resources is still groping in the dark in search of the light of economic prosperity, whereas God has blessed it abundantly. Its main problem is that its leaders are looting it to a state of coma. Monies meant for the betterment of the lot of the people are being looted by politicians and their allies. Some of them own luxury properties in the best cities of the world while the masses find it extremely difficult to have a good meal.
Even the religious leaders who are supposed to offer spiritual and psychological succour are now buying private jets and building schools that their members cannot afford to send their children to. They blame everything on Satan whom they have been casting out since time immemorial.
The harsh economic realities that have become the norm in Nigeria and many other African countries will remain for a while until our leaders have a change of attitude. They are busy stealing our commonwealth and asking us to keep praying and studying the word of God. What a paradox!
Family life in Nigeria, unless you are a politician or privileged CEO, is hell. Cost of food and other essential commodities have gone beyond the reach of the common man and this has made him vulnerable to so many problems. Depression, alcoholism, drug abuse and suicidal tendencies are on the increase. Marriages are breaking down because husbands and fathers are no longer capable of taking care of their families. Common ailments like malaria and typhoid fever are sending many innocent children to their early graves.
Family health in Nigeria, in the light of these precarious socio-economic indices, is at its lowest ebb. Even the resident doctors who are supposed to offer cheaper medical services to the masses are currently on strike as I write this piece. The government prefers to reward lawmakers with millions of naira, while doctors receive pittances as remuneration.
Government must rethink governance and get its priorities right. Most of the cases of mental health we have in Africa are hardship-related. Depression is chief amongst them. The inability of many a man to cater to the needs of their families has led to the collapse of their marriages. Many women have left their husbands for more financially buoyant men and there is no disgrace as big as this to a man. Some men even commit suicide when it gets to this point. Those who are emotionally strong enough to bear such experiences become shadows of their once vibrant selves.
So, whenever you see a man, walking on the road and talking to himself, just know that something is wrong with his state of mind. If he is a banker, he may make a lot of miscalculations and pay your money into another person’s account. If he is a driver, I am sorry for the passengers. And if he is a teacher, we should be sorry for our children.