As the 2019 elections draw near, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has expressed concern over what it described as overtly heated inflammatory statements by top political leaders.
According to the NMA, such statements have the potentials of plunging the country into unrest.
Though the medical doctors were not specific, their concern may be connected to the war of words between political leaders after the recent gale of defections from the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC).
Last month, at least 12 senators including the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, 36 members of the House of Representatives and two state governors dumped the ruling party.
“Of note majorly are the overtly inflammatory statements by top ranking political leaders which have the real potentials of incensing partisan conflicts which could degenerate into communal clashes and attendant mass casualties worsening the already cheerless level of insecurity and violent conflicts in the country,” NMA said in a statement jointly signed by its National President, Francis Faduyile, and National Secretary, Olumutiwa Odusote, on Thursday.
The association said it found it important to call politicians and some state operatives to order.
“The Association encourages the spirit of politics without rancor and bitterness and one that is strictly based on constructive engagements, factual debates and constitutionality. If by acts of omission or commission the nation is thrown into serious political chaos, the poor and vulnerable including women and children will bear the greatest brunt.”
The doctors said their worry was based on the fact that the country’s health system still faces challenges ranging from chronic underfunding, poor governance, poor service delivery to lack of political will to implement extant laws, regulations and policies.
“These have manifested in poor health worker-population ratio with escalated emigration of medical and health workers, low carrying capacity of existing health facilities, absence of basic equipment, consumables, reagents, modern effective drugs and other tools needed to deliver efficient, effective, prompt and culturally acceptable medical care to the people of Nigeria.”
The NMA urged politicians, political parties, and aspirants to elective offices and other relevant stakeholders to “play by the rules.”
It also urged law enforcement agents to demonstrate unambiguous loyalty to their calling and the constitution of the country. “They should be stringent in dealing with defaulters objectively and without let or hindrance.”
The NMA advised Nigerians to be law abiding and resist “the luring of politicians in being used as ready tools of the devil to destroy human lives and property in the name of political support and loyalty to politicians.”