Working for the unborn

Wilson Orhiunu
First Gentleman with Wilson Orhiunu
Email: Twitter: @Babawilly
The streets tell you if anyone cares about the unborn children. Litter everywhere means no one is particularly worried that disease follows litter and that the babies on the way need to inhabit a disease-free world.

That babies are on the way is no surprise to any. It is possible to predict how many babies a community can expect in the next few months judging from past statistics.  These are like guests to a party. A good hostess starts working to create a great environment for her guests the minute the invitations are sent out.

The babies on the way need preparatory work. Parents, the community leaders and government must all work hard. With all the weddings happening weekly there has to be a plan for the fruits of romantic labour.

On some streets, none of the residents plan. There are no baby clothes on the delivery day and definitely no plans to start saving for future education. Some governments do not plan for the incoming citizens. Antenatal and obstetric services must be prepared for the incoming ones just as customs and immigration services at major international airports prepare for flights coming in from Nigeria; they put more resources on the ground. (I don’t like it but it happens).

It is sad to be born on a street that is filthy. The filth creeps into the pocket and then works its way into the mind. A live for now attitude is forged with no plans for the future.

If the residents of a street come together and agree to clean up, they would succeed even if the local council is useless. So why does the street remain filthy and attract rats and roaches into the ecosystem?

Why do people not vow that their newborn children will not grow up in the filth that has become the status quo? Why do the dirtiest of places have the highest birth rate and the lowest plan-rate?

Why do governments feel free to ignore the education and health of the future generations but are happy to spend heavily on the next few meals?

Doing very inspired work daily can sometimes bless future generations even though that was not the original intention. William Shakespeare reached a lot of people during his lifetime with his creative output. He, however, could not have envisaged how many people would get to know about his work after his death. One could say his main service was to those unborn. He toiled and left a legacy which is still making impact today. The same goes for Tesla, Edison and many other inventors.

William Shakespeare did not win the Nobel Prize for literature as it had not been invented yet but the rich patronage he received may have gladdened his heart while he lived however excellence transcends generations.

In Nigeria, excellence, inspired work or intentionally working for the unborn are areas that need to drastically improve. How can people go anywhere without good and clean roads? Why bequeath debts and bad roads to a generation?

Filthy and bad roads are a good reflection of the heart of a people. It is also a crude yardstick to what the unborn children can expect from life.

The places with excellent airports for the landing of planes and a good road network out of the airports are the same type of places that have labour wards that safely deliver babies.

These are places with the lowest infant and maternal mortality figures.

If the airports are rubbish, the streets filthy then the labour wards will be rubbish and the immunization programmes and education programmes will be filthily inadequate.

Getting used to filth is not really an adaptive process but more of a mental illness. Filth on the brain makes disorder the default setting whereby, given a clean street; people soon convert that clean street to a ghetto mirroring the filth in the mind.

That explains the grand big openings of hospitals full of shining equipment that become filthy in five years. Some say no maintenance culture but I say it is filth in the brain.

Those who built good airports worked for flights that had not landed yet. They estimated the need and built an airport with the right capacity. Those with adequate obstetric and paediatric services are no geniuses. They just made provision for the number of babies coming.

Those who know babies are coming and divert all the available cash to great political campaign rallies where N4,000 are distributed to the people show that they have filth in the brain as does the electorate and it is always certain that you drive to such campaigns through filthy streets and return home through the valleys of filthy and flooding.

While planes land publicly, babies are delivered privately yet the dire happenings in secret are revealed from the rooftops.

Nigeria contributes to 9% of the Neonatal mortalities of the planet. Neonatal death is the death of a baby in its first 28 weeks of life. 34.1 per thousand live births die. This is not counting the many that do not make it to five years of age. The total number of babies not making it to five years of age is too gruesome to be extrapolating.

The problems to solve in Nigeria are large and many become frozen in inactivity when they realise that it is extremely unlikely that they would see a change in their own lifetime. That unwillingness to act because of the absence of rewards and personal gains is the kind of thinking that confirms generations unborn to re-experience the filth that their forbearers endured. There always have to be people working for ideals that they believe in no matter the assurance or uncertainty of present reward. The reward just might be for those unborn.  For the line from the National anthem

The labours of our heroes past shall never be in vain to ring true someone actually has to labour today for a payday to be enjoyed by the future generations. Complaining with no sacrifice does not make any changes.

The planes continue to land in Nigeria, cars arrive at the ports and the babies continue to be delivered. We all know what is coming.