Wednesday, 5 July 2017

PROXIMITY OF RIGHT; RIGHT OF PROXIMITY: ABUTH, Restoring Quality Care Delivered at the Doorstep of Beneficiaries By, U. S. Machika

ABUTH, Restoring Quality Care Delivered at the Doorstep of Beneficiaries
U. S. Machika

The news of launching the restoration of full operations of the Tudun Wada wing of Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, (ABUTH) Zaria was greeted with joy across the teaming stakeholders of the Hospital, as good tidings. No doubt, many would benefit from this great achievement. For me, I cogitated over and over again, to place on scale, who would benefit the most with ABUTH Tudun Wada hospital going back into full operation.
The hospital regaining its status is no doubt the effort of the Chief Medical Director (CMD), Prof. Lawal Khalid. The achievement must have taken him many years of fruitful contacts, solicitation, manoeuvres and negotiations. Without any misgiving, he is the major catalyst behind ABUTH Tudun Wada regaining its hospital status. Today, because of his unrelenting effort, ABUTH Tudun Wada has taken off on a sound footing. No one can take away this achievement from Prof. Khalid. The reality of restoring ABUTH Tudun Wada was realised under his watch. Indeed, he would be grateful for another landmark in his CV.

Transforming his initiative into reality is a blessing of his years of effort and hard work. Prof. Khalid’s effort sincerely needs to be commended. Let me simply say kudos to your efforts sir. Many would therefore be tempted to think that Prof. Khalid would benefit from the takeoff of the hospital the most. Yes, he would be happy, but I doubt if he would be the most happiest.
 One can also consider the Director of Administration (D.A.), Alhaji Abdulraheem Sallau to be the happiest because the hospital wing took off just a few months after his assumption of office in ABUTH. This is a sign of more good things to come under his administrative sagacity. Sallau is basking in the euphoria of the ABUTH Tudun Wada achievement. Of course, administration as governance, is a continuum, so, wherever and whoever kick-started the move, it was Sallau that was ordained to be on the administrative seat when ABUTH Tudun Wada took off. Hmmm, who said even in retirement, Barr. Bello the former D.A. wouldn’t be the happier for living to witness the fruit of his labour blossomed into reality? After two meritorious term in office, most likely, Barr. Bello must have been the one who kick-started the process of resuscitating and restoring ABUTH Tudun Wada into full operation. Definitely, wherever he is, the news of the takeoff of Tudun Wada would reach him with great joy and satisfaction of an achiever. Yes, his ardent and rigorous pursuit has not gone in vain. His labour is blessed even in absentia. Certainly, he would be happy.

Of course, amongst other ABUTH Tudun Wada’s beneficiaries, there are the people of Zaria and environs, who are the primary target of the hospital. Certainly, the people of Zaria and environs would benefit from the proximity of right, as their right of proximity to the hospital. The people, even within the same town, had to travel for over twenty or more kilometres to access ordinary Primary Health Care at Shika, no matter how mild the ailment. Today, by making ABUTH Tudun Wada fully operational, Medicare is once again brought to their walking distance. They would definitely be most happy with the development. The takeoff of ABUTH Tudun Wada also came with provision of employment. New and more hands must be needed for the takeoff of the hospital. Although, the biting recession is receding, the soaring unemployment remains. Those employed to ensure the smooth takeoff of Tudun Wada hospital might be the most lucky and thus the most happy of all the beneficiary of the new development in ABUTH Zaria.
No, lest I forget! Kaduna State Government, as a strong catalyst for resuscitating and restoring the hospital into full operation by placing its enormous weight and resources to ensure a smooth takeoff, deserves a higher credit more than anyone else. This is moreso taking into cognizance that ABUTH is not a state government owned hospital. ABUTH is under the purview of the Federal Government. But the direct populace to benefit from the medical facilities at the hospital are the people of Kaduna State. It is thus, not a misplacement of priority for the state government to step in, to ensure that ABUTH Tudun Wada regained its full hospital operational status. In a political setting, with each government seeking for means and ways of placing democratic dividends to its teaming electorates, Mal. Nasir El-Rufai, will see the ABUTH Tudun Wada as his personal achievement. And this may rightly be so.
The intervention of Kaduna State Government has complemented Federal Ministry of Health’s dire need to ensured the operational restoration of ABUTH Tudun Wada. However, this would not take away or even minimize the joy of the Federal Ministry of Health. As the saying goes in this part of the country – “Gyara kayan ka, bai zama sauke mu raba, ba”, which literally mean, advising or assisting a party to take care of his properties, in no way means being a shareholder of the property.
Whatsoever the contribution of Kaduna State Government to have restored ABUTH Tudun Wada, the property still belongs to the Federal Government under the Ministry of Health. Invariably, the true beneficiary of the ABUTH Tudun Wada is the Federal Ministry of Health. Now that life has been restored in ABUTH Tudun Wada, the assistance and the takeoff of the hospital would only make the restructuring and repositioning of the hospital easier for the Ministry of Health.
While I agree that each and every one mentioned above is a great beneficiary for this laudable achievement, it is my personal and candid believe that the greatest beneficiary of the takeoff of ABUTH Tudun Wada is indeed, none other than Shika Hospital Complex. This space would be too small on this piece to advance and elaborate the reasons for choosing Shika Hospital Complex as my number one beneficiary in restoring the full hospital operation in Tudun Wada. Justifying that will need another separate writeup that will be done soon, when presenting the graphical readiness of Tudun Wada hospital
For now, let me surmise that the takeoff of Tudun Wada is indeed a great stimulant for the Ministry of Health to take the bull by the horn and restructure and reposition to complement the kind gesture of Kaduna State Government. It is the Ministry’s responsibility to uplift the hospital to the status befitting national and international Health Facility. Yes, the people of Zaria, Kaduna state and the hospital clients across the country and the Federal Ministry of Health would all be beneficiaries when this status is achieved. There is no iota of doubt that proximity to ABUTH Tudun Wada is a privilege, but utilizing the facility is proximity of right to the inhabitants of Zaria and Kaduna State. 

Without a holistic picture, one from a distance, may not appreciate the significance of restoring full operation at ABUTH Tudun Wada. For the records, ABUTH came into existence some 50 years ago as a regional Teaching Hospital Complex with several constitutes:
1.      ABUTH, Zaria & Tuberculosis (TB) Annex
2.      ABUTH, Kaduna
3.      ABUTH, Malumfashi
4.      Orthopaedic Hospital, Dala – Kano
5.      Urban & Rural Dispensaries in Zaria and Kaduna
6.      Medical Auxiliary Training School, Kaduna
7.      School of Nursing, Zaria
8.      School of Midwifery, Kaduna
9.      School of Hygiene, Kano

It was administered as such until when the Northern Regional Government was dissolved in 1968. The six northern states created out of the old region inherited and took over the responsibility of running the Teaching Hospital up to 1976.  From that date, the responsibility of running all Teaching Hospitals in the country was handed over to the Federal Government. It was after that development that ABUTH ceded some of its subdivisions to the respective states where they were located. For instance, School of Hygiene – Kano, Nursing Home – Kaduna and Dala Orthopaedic Hospital were all handed to their respective states.
The melting point of ABUTH’s development culminated in merging all the constituents in one big umbrella hospital, located in a spacious land in Shika. ABUTH is one big solid Hospital Complex. Unfortunately, this came with its attendant challenges that almost crippled the hospital and ruined the good name it has built over the years of professional and dedicated service to its owners, staff and clients. Shika Hospital Complex remained a bad sore and a bad breathe in the mouth of the hospital right from the merger. The myriad of challenges the merger brought remained a great burden to the management of ABUTH complex from inception to date. For the purpose of clarity and the limited space here, I will only highlight few of these challenges; the rest would equally wait for the piece on the benefits Shika Hospital Complex would get from the takeoff of Tudun Wada hospital.
Let me start by reminding us that the development that brought ABUTH into one complex resulted in completely stripping the hospitals in Kaduna, Tudun Wada and Malunfashi of all operations. In Zaria, only skeletal services in Tudun Wada Zaria, Sabon Gari, Yakawada and Banzazzau comprehensive Health Centres were locally organised.
One of the most visible challenges of the development in Shika was bed spaces. There is a visible acute shortage of bed space in ABUTH. Before the merger all ABUTH’s constituents had one thousand two hundred and twenty bedspaces (1220).  This number was made up of:

ABUTH, Kaduna
ABUTH, Zaria
ABUTH, Malumfashi

Amazingly, as large as Shika is, there are very limited beds for inpatients. This could be better understood by taking into cognizance that in the blue print of Shika, only 1000 bed spaces were proposed. At the takeoff of the hospital, to make the matter worst, only five hundred and thirty seven (537) bed spaces with 315 beds in phase I and 222 beds were completed in phase II respectively. Thus, Shika took off with less than 600 bed spaces, less than half of its combine hospital bedspaces and just slightly above one of its former hospital. Most especially, considering the hospital’s magnificence, grandeur and amazingly impressive edifice with national and international status attributed to the hospital standard. When in full operation, even the 1000 beds would not be able to service the catchment area properly. Instead of the development to bring an increase in the bed spaces of the hospital, there was a drastic shortage. So, one can understand the additional bed spaces with the takeoff in ABUTH Tudun Wada. Indeed this is a lifesaver to ABUTH.
Another important challenge the merger of the hospital brought was of human value. The development sadly, unforgettably, dislocated the staff from their hospitals without adequate provision in Shika.  The staff of the hospital from Kaduna, Malunfashi and Tudun Wada were hurriedly packaged to move along with vital documents and movable facilities to Shika without adequate arrangement of their welfare, particularly the accommodation at the new hospital complex. The gory sight of staff sandwiched in every available corner spaces in the hospital cannot be easily forgotten. The staff were competing with vital documents littered all around for space. Senior officers turned their offices into makeshift homes. The humiliating pain on the faces of staff was similar to any of refugee rehabilitating camps. The staff were torn away from their families, from their comfort zones and stripped of their prestige and professional mystic authority and dignity. Many of the staff, whose resources could permit, were plying the hospital from Kaduna, Malumfashi and Tudun Wada daily to Shika.
The resultant transfer of aggression was all hipped on the innocent hospital clients and patients, a major disservice to professionalism and dedication. The staff’s human relation, their courteous and profession etiquette in handling patients and patient’s relatives was thrown to the dogs. The humiliation they suffered for the shoddy arrangement of transfer brought about by the merger of the ABUTH hospital complex to Shika continued to this day. To augment finances, Public Service Rules were flagrantly abused, as some staff resorted into hawking and running small business, corner-shops and malls within the professional service area took place. Those with capital were urged to “assist” the staff by selling clothes, food items, furniture, home appliances and fittings, perfumes, jewelleries and ornaments, specialised and branded products on higher purchase and  these ‘merchants’ were known to every staff within the hospital complex.
The merger also polarised the Doctor/Nurse superiority in Shika. Many known duties and responsibilities of Nurses at the national and international hospitals settings were stripped from Nurses in Shika and given to Doctors. While Doctors in Shika continue to bask in superiority, Nurses are made to feel as nothing but appendages in Shika. This equally had eroded a healthy and professional relationship between the two separate autonomous, but symbiotic team cadres in a proper care giving institution. The effect of this again falls on the innocent patient and his relatives.
To this day, the staff of Shika did not recover from that sad episode of dislodgement and dislocation. And their human relation on how to treat the hospital clients has never regained it professionalism even years after most of the actual staff who suffered that humiliation had long retired. What happened was, they simply transferred their humiliation as a relay baton to their younger colleagues. This is the primary cause for many middle and elite classes running away from Shika. Clients’ see most hospital staff in Shika as cold, unresponsive and hostile. The hospital cannot be said to effectively provide health care delivery if it continues to focus only on diseases rather than patients. 
The practices in Shika continue to deteriorate because of this. Managerial efforts right from the days of Prof. Rafindadi and now Prof. Khalid tried to solve this problem, but definitely could not eliminate what seems to have been an imprinted psyche. I am emphasising this to ensure that this does not manifest in ABUTH Tudun Wada. The area to start with in ABUTH Tudun Wada is to tackle the vital issue of ‘Human Relations!’ The staff-client relationship really needs complete appraisal. Positive human relations, such as friendship, affection, attention, respect, patience and solidarity should be reemphasised in the day-to-day dealings in the hospital.
This is of paramount importance in restoring ABUTH Tudun Wada. Because of the small number of staff running the skeletal services in ABUTH Tudun Wada, professional etiquette and human relations was of high standard. The Doctors and Nurses in Tudun Wada relate as close knitted family and team-players. The Doctor/Nurse superiority in Shika is completely absent in Tudun Wada. The spirit of team work permeates the atmosphere in Tudun Wada.
This is where the management need to start in their effort of restoring ABUTH’s glory and pre-eminence of quality service delivery to humanity. This is particularly, the greatest litmus test to the new D.A. Sallau. The redeployment of staff to Tudun Wada must be done meticulously. That is where administrative sagacity challenges meritocracy. Merit must be of two faces – Competence and Conduct, NOT a mere CV. The discipline of ABUTH Tudun Wada must start with the choice of the Hospital Matron. Proper orientation must also be given to the new staff before they are corrupted by ill practices of ABUTH Shika. All hands need to be on deck to ensure that ABUTH Tudun Wada sets a new lease and standard in Health Care Delivery. It should set a stage as a true pedestal in providing quality care to its teaming clients. In the long run it is the attitude of these important professionals that determines both the quality of Health Care Delivery and patronage in ABUTH Tudun Wada. 
The leadership in ABUTH Tudun Wada should also frequently put in place processes of evaluation by setting high performance as the main yardstick of quality day-in-day-out. It would no longer be a case of once in a while or Nigeria’s normal window dressing or worst of all – eye service performance (only when one is certain to be noticed). High performance will gradually become an organizational habit, for high performance must not be an ACT but truly a HABIT. It is one thing to set high performance targets and another to enforce it.
It is thus very crucial for Tudun Wada to instill or re-instill in her clients that there are many highly skilled, dedicated people working at all levels ready at all times to serve them efficiently and effectively. It is the responsibility of the hospital to help shatter the walls of doubt about how ‘we are treated’ not medically but in terms of human relations. Since what is driving people away from Shika is definitely not the technical aspect of Medicare but the manner they are handled by the staff, particularly the unorganized, unsystematic procedural waiting. It is very important for ABUTH Tudun Wada to reduce procedural waiting to the minimal. ABUTH Tudun Wada should strive to ensure that it:

i.                    develops better accessibility to their health care services
ii.                  Facilitates better communication between their staff and patients
iii.                decreases patients’ waiting time
iv.                improves their appointment system,
v.                  facilitates the needed information access to patients and patient’s relatives
vi.                motivates their personnel to devote more time to patients

It is only then that the quality of care delivered to beneficiaries in ABUTH Tudun Wada would truly achieve the purpose of restoring its full hospital operation. Shika, can then focus on research, teaching, graduate and post graduate transition and the handling of major secondary and tertiary referral cases.  

Tuesday, 10 January 2017


U. S. Machika

The major reason for travelling to Zuru was mainly to attend the Inaugural Meeting for HOPEFORLELNA, now ZURU PROGRESSIVE INITIATIVE – ZUPI. In fact, based on the current recession and other considerations, I decided not to attend the meeting. However, one of my elder brothers in the forum insisted that I must be there even if it would take him to either ‘export’ or ‘import’ me depending on where he was at the time, he will do it. So, to be on the safe side, I decided to carry myself before I became Buhari’s Umaru Dikko – Diplomatic Baggage to Zuru. Actually, I had no option. However, I decided to just find my bearings and square root. Thank God I took that decision, or else, I might not have gotten this souvenir to present to you.
It took voting to get Zuru to host the inaugural meeting. Our intention was to host the meeting in Kaduna or Abuja. The reason was to ensure a near 100% attendance. Those out of security establishments do not know of the “no leave, no pass” travelling curfew often barring Officers and men from leaving their bases at festive and tensed period. We were sure many of our members in uniform may not be there because of the present security challenges. But, what could you have said to Ibrahim Doro’s emotive cries? With Talatu Maganas sombre sobering, even the elders knew, they have to change course and allow Zuru to host the meeting, no matter how poor the attendance. So, there we were.
I am not starting with the baptismal of fire I receive on my approach to Ribah through Maga with my tyre burst. Doro would simply say, yours is only once, we experience that on daily basis.  Actually, that was somehow expected. The poor road network as death traps is an open secret and a good tasty souvenir any day.  However, that and many others can wait another day. A single episode that consumed my being in Zuru was the story of a young lad and his dynamic exploits as a career development agent for many of the Zuru unemployed or underemployed. He has made a successful mark where many elders or those in position either failed or out rightly refused to attempt. I have heard the story of the same young man many times over, by different people, sometimes from opposing spectrum.
For instance, when the issue of membership between the high and mighty, men and women of timber and caterpillar and the upcoming youths almost polarised the forum, somebody championing the cause of the youths to be in the forum cornered me alone and narrated the story of the young man to me. He told me that the work the young man did in the area of assisting many in Zuru to gain employment, many of the ‘so called’ elders and leaders did not achieve. He felt that was enough to qualify all youths to be in the forum. It was the first time I heard the story of this young man in regards to how he helped many unemployed secure employment or some in the employed of the State to transfer their appointments to the Federal level. It was before the inaugural meeting.
Hours later, after the inaugural meeting, an elder to illustrate why not all youths need to be in the forum at this developmental stage, repeated the same story, which I heard earlier of the young man, insisting that only such exceptions should be considered. He went on to tell us how the young man always calls on him when he heard of job openings. ‘The young man will call me and tell me to please search from Zuru for people with such and such qualifications or bias for the vacancies advertised.’ He told us of a large number that secured employment through the young man. That was the second time I was listening to the same story.
Just hours later, I again heard the same story from another a young man. He told me of the outstanding work of this champion again. His story was not related to either for or against the youths in the forum. His story came to buttress how to empower the youths from their present quagmire of unemployment. It was from him that I heard of “high Profile Jobs” the young man assisted in gaining for Zuru youths. Not just any jobs – ‘high profile jobs’ he insisted. It was my third time of hearing the same story of the young man. All of a sudden, in that broad day light, Nathaniel Zome appeared before me with a broad smile and said to me “Machika, I told you, didn’t I? I am not dead, my work lives on, there are many like him, just search and put your ears to the ground, you will find the young man’s type abounds in Zuru”. With such a loud voice from Zome, I looked at my two friends, they were chatting ideally, which means that they have not seen nor heard the Sarkin Yakin Zuru. I then realised that it was just a reverie.
It was at that juncture that I made up my mind to dig more about the young man and present this as a souvenir to you. Hoping it will reenergize many like him to always plant good seeds, for the harvest to be bountiful. I hope and pray, we will be our brothers’ keepers. I then asked the friend who coined ‘high profile jobs’, if he knew the young man well. He said not much, but he could link me with someone who can help. He called the PA to the father of the young man. The guy was more secretive than the grave, so I did not get anything from him despite his promise to get me some information the following day. I am aware of how people are scared of writings and writers. That reminded me of the sad story of how Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah got scared of my wanting to present his scorecard, it is another souvenir for another day, I promise.
Back to my present souvenir, Zome appeared to me again with a daunting smile, ‘so, what will you write now’ and I boldly told him ‘I am not done yet’. The following day, very early in the morning I received a visitor and we got talking. Again, the story of the young man prominently featured for the fourth time. And my visitor came up with another captivating phrase. He said to me, the young man just married last year or so, but he was able to help in employing ‘many graduates’. On the evening of that day, again I found myself in the midst of some youngsters of the forum, the story of ‘Zome’s reincarnate’ as I have started calling the young man came up again. This time around with a bitter tinge, the youths felt that some of those who benefited from the young man’s employment or transfer of service have already forgotten their humble beginning. Again, I received a narrative of many who were employed through him, “including so so and so who forgot how difficult it is for people to cough up the forum’s prescribed registration fee. That man five years ago could not have spoken the way he did at the meeting. All thanks to the young man”.
Hmmm! Zome’s reincarnate!! Interesting!!! I did not hear most of the deliberations after that because I was cogitating and at every turn, Zome appeared to me. Yes, he has the right to taunt me on this. In search of more information, this time around I was the one who brought the young man’s topic to another friend. Again, I received a lecture on the exploits of the young man.
In all ramifications, Zome was the true custodian of Bawa Makuku’s leadership baton in Zuru. He lived for Zuru, slaved for Zuru, worked for Zuru, bled and died for Zuru on the work of Zuru, while on Zuru’s active service – he was Sarkin Yakin Zuru. Hmmm, it is true, the people’s champion, the galvanizer of Zuru’s support, the warrior of “Zuru’s no retreat, no surrender” is not dead or rather; his reincarnates abound in our midst.
Unfortunately, those concerned with assisting their people into appropriate career development are in short supply in Zuru. I am aware of a few cases. The only other exception I could find is Senator Danladi Bamaiyi who took up Samuel Debte from a field journalist to National Assembly where he rose to a Clerk, National Security and Intelligence Committee. Danladi Bamaiyi possibly led the pack. Yes, there is no doubt about it; Danladi Bamaiyi was possibly the only politician of Zuru extraction to this day. His selfless management of both human and material resources was next to none in Zuru. Justice Danlami Bala Senchi (Wazirin Zuru) to a certain extent had towed Zome’s line too in assisting indigenes of Zuru to secure State and national appointments. Similarly, Prof. Kaoje as the Vice Chancellor of Kebbi State University and later the Minister of Science and Technology served Zuru in this regards, no doubt. Many where employed through his fearless brand of leadership.
 Hon. Abdullahi Dan’alkali, (Durumbun Zuru) had equally done well. He helped secured appointments for many while a member of the National Assembly. It was a known fact that Durumbu had used his personal money to secure appointments for many youths, aside using the paraphernalia of his office. I know of Dr Gona’s ambush to General Ishaya when the indigenes of Zuru with better qualifications where sidelined, not even shortlisted for interview before the take off of Federal University Birnin Kebbi. Gen. Ishaya had flown that day to Sokoto and drove to Birnin Kebbi unscheduled because of Gona’s commando approach just to ensure that our young men were considered for employment. I was moved to the point of tears of joy when I heard of the assistance another dynamic youth – John Saleh Beneh have been rendering to his neighbour and the needy in Zuru. I met this humble character and I knew Zome is right. The contribution of Senator Bala Ibn Na’allah in bringing Adamu Deborah Chonoko, Zuru’s first female Pilot is appreciated. That’s that! NONE close to Zome or the present ‘reincarnate of Zome’, may be a pocket of one chanced employment, here and there.  
I remember the first time I got myself into trouble with the power brokers of Zuru was when I mentioned this in public. One of them is yet to forgive me. When my book was sent to him for vetting, he vehemently, refused to associate himself with it just because years back I stated that 

Nathaniel Zome was the only leader in Zuru who empowered and facilitated the appointment of not fewer that seventy nine (79) Directors and Permanent Secretaries at both the Federal and State Government levels. Some of his protégés include, Mr. Benjamin Dikki, (Magajin Rafin Zuru), Alhaji Ibrahim Mori Baba, (Barden Zuru), Mr. Samuel Debte, Mr. Emos Sakaba, Mr. Yohana Audu, Amb. Thomas Dogonyaro, Hon. Abdullahi Dan’alkali, (Durumbun Zuru), Mr. Joseph Gabadi, to mention but just a few. Mr. Nathaniel Zome also laid the solid foundation of the history of Zuru. He was the people’s champion; the warrior of “Zuru’s no retreat, no surrender.” Such was Zome, fittingly in Bawa Makuku’s shoes. Zome, even death, had to prove his faithfulness to Zuru. He died in active service to Zuru’s course, when he was needed most by the people.  

With my souvenir from Zuru now, I wonder how many others I would offend. However, as a young craftsman, learning the trade of writing, I was tutored that the intent of unearthing some bitter truth is not to humiliate, mock or degrade but rather to illuminate so as to ginger, motivate and galvanise those with opportunities or who may come into opportunities to know that history is indeed watching, good or bad. Even today, precisely by 12:45pm, I received a text message from Amb. Thomas Dogonyaro: “Good afternoon. Please forward to me the electronic copy of the history book for the editor’s use. Thanks. STD”. The truth is the bitter truth offends only a few and humbles many and motivates them to take positive actions. The truth is sought after by many. As for me, it has endeared me to many at all strata in Zuru. So, I can do with the few it offends.
The truth is, this young man just on the starting blocks of his career. He is yet to be considered successful in careerism, another area I offended many big men in Zuru who think as tin gods because of careerism. Careerism is not a word. It is a field of study. It would be another story for another day. For now, the young man is so short in career rank that he has to climb on the shoulders of those who attained high ranks in their careers to pluck ripe employment for others. He does not wait for overripe employment to fall from the treetops. He climbed the trees himself. Where the trees adorn with bountiful fruits of employment are too tricky to climb, he uses ladders or climb on the shoulders of big men. He was just one of the numerous staff of a consultancy firm, without a proper employment himself until two months ago. Yet, it is the song of this young man that did not let me have a sound sleep in Zuru.
The truth is, it takes much more than mere information to secure employment anywhere in the world. It takes some technicalities and some prerequisite. In one of my postings to the forum, I made it clear that posting vacancies is not enough, this young man proved it right. There are agencies charging huge fees for employment in Saudi Arabia, Europe and America. Many others are there just for foreign admissions and scholarship. So, pasting advertorials and vacancies is indeed not enough if we actually want to help. ‘Zome’s reincarnate’ had gone beyond copying and pasting employment vacancies to actually following up to ensure successful appointments for many who would have been lost should they have been presented with mere vacancy advertorials.
The truth is if all the Zome’s protégés, equally mentors one or two in their respective offices, which is in tandem with public service regulations (they are entitled to retinue of personal staff), Zuru would have been better. But, no! They prefer non-Zuru indigenes as their personal staff. Grooming others, instead of theirs! I am not saying unequivocally that this is thoroughly exhausted. We are still digging into statistics. Something may come up again. But for now, this is my findings. As expected there may be cases of some getting their family members appointments, which do not fall in this category.
The truth is those who felt angry that I did not acknowledge the efforts they did in recruiting many of Zuru’s youths, did not understand. They did not recruit Zuru youths into ‘high profile jobs’, their contributions in this regards fell below recruiting ‘graduates’ from Zuru. It is not the same as in the case of this ‘Zome’s reincarnate’. I think it was in 2007 that I heard of ‘golden votes’ in reference to PDP’s votes in Daura because of Gen. Buhari. Every vote there was tagged ‘golden’. That is how I think of every appointment the reincarnate of Zome secured on behalf of Zuru.
Let me make it abundantly clear that I have never met this dynamic youth. In fact, before my trip to Zuru I was angry with him because he happened to be in my committee of Constitutional drafting and he had not contacted me even once. I was told he was ‘busy’ and naturally I classified him as one of those ‘spoilt ajibos’. I immediately understood and forgave his error when it was announced in the forum that his wife delivered. Yes, your guess is as good as mine, his first child. That is how young he is. Yet in the area of serving his people, he surpassed the politicians, both those with and those without portfolios. He surpassed technocrats and those at the top of careerism. 
Keep it up boy. May the stars before you, beneath you, above you and beside you guide you in the work you choose for yourself – the work of being there for others. Keep Zome’s flag flying, as he kept Bawa Makuku’ shoe clean.
The truth is I am pleased to bring this to you as a souvenir from Zuru. Yes, you now know that my “ZOME’S REINCARNATE” is no other than BAR. MICHAEL ANGO. MICA as he is popularly called. Young man be proud of your modest achievements.  
The truth is, another souvenir is coming your way soon.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Between Hafsatu Ahmed Abdulwaheed and Sir Abubakar Imam Who is a ‘Creative’ and an ‘Analytical’ Fiction Writer (III) (Makirkiri Da Manazarcin Kagaggen Labari) By U. S. Machika

Between Hafsatu Ahmed Abdulwaheed and Sir Abubakar Imam
Who is a ‘Creative’ and an ‘Analytical’ Fiction Writer (III)
(Makirkiri Da Manazarcin Kagaggen Labari)
U. S. Machika

In the previous discourse, we have clearly identified IMAGINATION as where and how fiction writings originates. We have also established a binding relationship between the writer’s artistic imagination and his artistic creation. In this piece, our focus would be on “the source of the writer’s IMAGINATION”. Another area of focus would be to identify “the sources of a fiction writer’s knowledge.” In order to achieve this, we have to take a trip to look at the theories of imagination and epistemology. We may have to peep into the minds of psychologists, sociologists and philosophers. This would help us to see how writers and all knowledge seekers in general and fiction writers in particularly equip themselves for the task ahead. Hopefully, it would be a veritable guide to the young and aspiring writers to know where to channel much of their energies before embarking on any writing project. It is also hoped that these would help us to unmask who, Between Hafsatu Ahmed Abdulwaheed and Sir Abubakar Imam is a ‘Creative’ and an ‘Analytical’ Fiction Writer.” and the implication to young and aspiring writers.
In regards to the source(s) imagination, I will take solace in presenting some general responses on the question at hand. As expected, the responses were varied yet uniformed. Let me start with Seren Starlight. His rhetoric questions were hyperbolic in his submission ‘Imagination is the foundation of creation’, he posits:
What is the source of wind but other wind pushing it about. Or what is the source of water - is it the rain, or is it the rain-clouds, or the moisture in the air condensing into clouds, or is it the seas, rivers and lakes evaporating water into the air, or is it the rain that fills the rivers, lakes and seas?

            Starlight implores people to ‘imagine imagination is much the same’. He said imagination is like a self-contained system, charged by electro-chemical energy to produce multi-changing patterns of within our brain. He said the brain seems to have an enormous capacity for retention of data, and an uncanny ability to fill in the missing bits. In his response to the question, Christophe Cop, a winning finalist in 2008 creativity class, stated that ‘imagination has many sources’. However, it needs a functioning brain to input knowledge acquired or from memory.’ Steven N Czetli, puts it differently, but meaning the same thing. He said

I'm pretty sure it's from our subconscious or unconscious. And from our brains natural inclination to see patterns. When you take the amount of information or brains take in everyday from observing, reading books, watching videos etc; and the associations it makes through our sensory apparatus, it's not surprising that the combinations that bubble up to consciousness are original and seem unique to us.

Steven argued that imagination is augmented by being alert and developing mental states friendly to the content from our minds. He said inviting awareness and providing an amazingly rich inner life often helps come up with solutions to problems requiring so called out-of- the box thinking. After reading Steven’s penetrating exposé, I was tempted to simply stop here, because it was enough to answer one of the cardinal reasons for misunderstanding or deliberately misbelieving that the collection of books Sir Abubakar Imam was given were nothing, but meant to feed, add or augment his imagination. Nothing else! But that does not answer all the questions, but enough for me to move on. So, I have to plod on.
Doug Hilton provided four different avenues as sources of imagination: evolution, conscious awareness, subconscious process and how all things are evaluated in order to make choices. In the first stance, Hilton argued that everything with a central nervous system must be able to make predictions, in order to make choices. He then emphasized that ‘memory’ alone cannot do it. It needs more data, which it manipulates. On the conscious awareness, Hilton said it is the ability to remember the exact sequence of events, cause and effect as a way of vital means of survival. He said it is where imagination springs from. He further posits that ‘to a great extent, we are what our brain consumes’. His reason was that the brain generates thoughts, decisions, and everything ever imagined through neurons sharing data. This was what he referred to as subconscious process. Last on his submission was how things are evaluated in order to make choices. Again, he referred to that as ‘emotional value’, which is determined by a combination of our genes, knowledge, experience, the environment, our physical and emotional states, and other factors.
I think the responses on the sources of imagination gave us an idea to take us to the next level of looking for the sources of knowledge. Epistemology is the branch of philosophy concerned with the theory of knowledge. The questions that it addresses include the following:
1.                  What is knowledge?
2.                  From where do we get our knowledge?
3.                  How are our beliefs justified?
4.                  How do we perceive the world around us?
5.                  Do we know anything at all?

The first problem encountered in epistemology is that of defining knowledge, because there is no consensus on single accepted definition of knowledge. This fundamental question of epistemology remains unsolved. However, philosophers accepted that we all understand roughly what we mean, when we are talking about “knowledge”.
A second important issue in epistemology concerns the ultimate source of knowledge. Generally, philosophers are unanimous in agreeing that each creative writer possesses a great deal of knowledge. At least, the writer knows about himself and the world around him. They equally generally agree that there are many ways a fiction writer can acquire knowledge. This is what concerned philosophers most – the sources knowledge. They have often wondered where the knowledge ultimately comes from.
In our case, every layman (not a philosopher) believed the common known fact that we learn a lot from books, from the media, and from other people. We are also aware of the scoring system in exams, were two or more people read the same book(s) or watch the same film(s) but score differently in the same exams. The reason for this is simply that our capacity to process information from these sources is not the same. The major factor is that our previous knowledge matters most. We need to build on what we already know virtually on everything, like ‘how to read, how to reason and how to process information to its best’. Therefore, to acquire more knowledge, requires yet more knowledge. What, then, is the most fundamental way of acquiring knowledge?
As stated before, philosophers have, over the years, sought to discover the sources of knowledge. Different sources of knowledge were suggested by different philosophers, based on the philosophical orientation of the philosophers. For purposes of this piece, I selected and presented the most generally accepted sources of knowledge. I chose to arrange them considering the religious and cultural context of Hafsat and Imam, not in any particular order in regards to any philosophical school of thought. I deliberately try to explain as much as I can to give the reader a much fuller picture, which will help him answer the question at hand with ease. I will consider:
1.                  REVEALED KNOWLEDGE

This is knowledge acquired through revelation from some supernatural being. This type of knowledge is commonly found in religious beliefs. In African traditional religions, revelation as a source of knowledge is given to deities, ancestors, divination of oracles and dreams. In the Christian fold, the Holy Bible is accepted revealed knowledge. Dreams and visions by anointed prophets may also be accepted as a source of revealed knowledge. The Qur’an in Islam is an authoritative revealed source of knowledge. For those who profess believe in this source of knowledge, total allegiance and surrendering of oneself is expected to the source of such revelation. The believer holds unequivocally that the source of knowledge is supreme and cannot lie or make a mistake.
Within the religious and cultural setting of Hafsat and Imam, this source of knowledge is called ‘WAHAYI’ – knowledge revealed from Allah (SWA). It is the highest and purest source of knowledge. This type of knowledge is given to ONLY the Holy Prophets (May Peace and Blessings of Allah be Upon Them). Islamically, this source of knowledge is sealed after Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Therefore, in the cultural and religious background of Hafsat and Imam, no human, after Prophet Muhammad (SAW) will ever possess revealed knowledge again. 

2.                  INSTINCT

Instinct, according to Oxford dictionary, is an innate, typically fixed pattern of behaviour in response to certain stimuli in animals. Merriam Webster defined it as a way of behaving, thinking, or feeling that is not learned. This innate behaviour as a source of knowledge occurs in every species. From various psychological sources, this source of knowledge is automatic knowledge by impulse, without any reasoning of the mind. The source of knowledge implied that the individual does not have to be taught how to do something. He or she has the ability to do so from birth itself. For example, the crying of an infant is an innate behaviour; it is not something that is taught. The application of this source of knowledge is term simply as “Stimulus-Response.” There is no thought during such kind of mechanical movement; it is automatic, unthinking response that cannot be repressed.
Instinctual knowledge is in the genetic makeup with a sort of genetic survival toolkit codes stored in the DNA. Since this source of knowledge is tied to genetic, it is inherited from previous generations. Protective mechanism to increase the chances of survival is the major benefit of this source of knowledge. Each specie automatically selects, processes and passes over this source of knowledge from generations to generations. Knowledge from this source is very hard to change, unless one is psychologically or neurologically impaired in some way.

3.                  INTUITIVE KNOWLEDGE:

Within the religious and cultural setting of Hafsat and Imam, intuition as a source of knowledge is called ‘ILHAMA’ – DIVINE vision, but not a REVELATION. It is a higher source of knowledge than the instinct. Different writers give the word “intuition” different meanings. Its many meanings include: ‘direct access to unconscious knowledge, unconscious cognition, inner sensing and inner insight, unconscious pattern-recognition or simply the eye of wisdom.’
Intuition is the ability to acquire knowledge without proof, evidence or conscious reasoning, or without understanding how the knowledge was acquired in the first place. Intuitive source of knowledge transcends reason but does not contradict it. Intuitive knowledge is a source of knowledge that erupts unconsciously into somebody’s mind with direct perception of truth and ideas or immediate knowledge and inspiration produced by no known cause, other than within the mind. This simply means that knowledge is acquired through this source without knowing how it was acquired, because it transcends ordinary sense of experience or reason. Through spiritual flashes and glimpses of truth and inspiration, one discovers things in a flash. For the artistic mind like writers, music composers and painters, it may be referred to as the stimulation for the human mind to create thought or a glimpse of the making of art. Most artists get their inspiration from this source of knowledge. Because the mind is seen as the manufacturer of this knowledge, it is attributed to some sort of power of ‘superconscious state of mind’. Thus, this powerhouse – the mind is complimented with appellation such as ‘supermind or supramental’ consciousness.

4.                  RATIONAL KNOWLEDGE

This is the type of knowledge acquired through the application of reason or intelligence. It is a kind of knowledge that is firmly rooted on logical analysis of facts. The steps taken to acquire such knowledge can easily be explained to others and can be replicated to arrive at the same thing. In terms of presenting valid reasoning, this source of knowledge is more convincing than intuitive knowledge. Reason is higher than instinct. It collects facts, generalizes, reasons out from cause to effect, from effect to cause, from premises to conclusions, from propositions to proofs. It concludes, decides and comes to final judgment.
Philosophers of this school of thought believe that some of our knowledge is derived from reason alone, and that reason plays an important role in the acquisition of all other sources of knowledge. They argue that the mind is more fundamental than the senses in the process of knowledge acquisition.

5.                  EMPIRICAL KNOWLEDGE

The empirical knowledge is knowledge from ‘sense’ experience. In other words, empirical knowledge is acquired through the evidence of sensory experience. Thus, empirical knowledge can only be acquired from five senses - seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling and tasting. According to the empiricists, empirical knowledge is the source and originator of knowledge. They deny the existence of innate knowledge. They do not believe that anybody possessed knowledge from birth. They believe that there is no knowledge prior to sense experience and there can be no knowledge outside sense experience. Since empirical knowledge is fundamentally rooted on sense experience, observation, experimentation and reading are all basic tools representing the collection of empirical knowledge.

6.                  AUTHORITATIVE KNOWLEDGE:

This is the kind of knowledge acquired by accepting what a respected or famous person (authority figure) tells us. This kind of knowledge is derived from the written works, documentation and reports of others. This source of knowledge is accepted base on the authority cited. Most people tend to accept information imparted by those they view as authority figures without asking question. Historically, authority figures, such as religious bodies, experts, parents, teachers, books, prophets, Internet and news media have been a primary source of most of our knowledge.

We can conclude our discourse on the above listed sources of knowledge by stating that some involves an individual’s effort to learn, while in some, learning takes place without one’s direct effort. For instance, 1-3 above are acquired without individual effort and 4-6 requires one’s personal effort.
Thus, I may not be wrong if I decide to classify the sources of knowledge as presented above and as it relates to this discourse into two – instinct and learned behaviour. In fact, many scientists believe that most human behaviours are a result of some level of both instinct and learned behaviour. Learned behaviours occur when someone develops new skills or improves on a skill that may already exist instinctively. Learned behaviour has to be taught or learned or developed over time through observation, education, training or experience. Learned behaviour entails different skills that a person learns or improves. In psychology this can be perfected through both classical conditioning and operant conditioning by either increasing a particular behaviour or by decreasing it.

The elaboration on the sources of knowledge is to score multiple points. The first is for mentors and teachers of young and aspiring writers to appreciate the need to properly equip and inspire their mentees and students of writing. The young and aspiring writers will as well appreciate the rigorous demand of their chosen profession. Secondly, it is to categorically dispute the fact that just because a writer spends time and effort to acquire knowledge, through whichever source, does not by any means or in any way classify his writing(s) as ‘analytical’ or ‘creative’. This will be put in proper perspectives in my concluding piece.