Lawal was nominated by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu as a replacement for former Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, who withdrew his nomination following the Senate’s refusal to confirm him in August on the ground that he was awaiting security clearance.….CONTINUE READING....CONTINUE READING
About 15 minutes into his screening, Lawal slumped from the podium and was quickly rallied round by senators and sergeant-at-arm at the red chamber. They lifted him up and jerked his body in an attempt to revive him – a resuscitation approach medical experts have described as crude. The Senate eventually confirmed Lawal’s nomination after resuming from a closed-door session.
Meanwhile, the incident has raised questions over the health status of public office holders many of whom reportedly fail to present their medical fitness certificates upon assumption of office.
A HARVEST OF SLUMPS, DEATHS
Notably, the Wednesday scenario has added to the growing instances where public officers have slumped with some of them losing their lives in the process.
In March 2017, the Commissioner for Housing and Urban Development in Plateau State, Mr Samuel Galadima, slumped and died while he was jogging along with the then Governor Simon Lalong at the Rwang Pam Stadium in Jos, Plateau State.
Months later, in January 2018, Deji Tinubu, Special Adviser to the former Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode on Commerce, slumped and passed away during a novelty match organised for the state commissioners and special advisers.
In December 2019, senator representing Imo North Senatorial District at the National Assembly, Benjamin Uwajumogu, reportedly slumped in the toilet in his house. He was rushed to a private hospital in Apo, Abuja, where he was certified dead.
There were more disturbing cases. In July 2020, the Special Adviser to former Governor Ben Ayade on Biodiversity, Edet Okon Asim, said to be asthmatic, slumped and died in his car at Eta Agbor in Calabar, the state capital.
In September 2021, the now suspended Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, slumped during a programme at Presidential Villa, Abuja and was rushed out of the venue.
“While I was giving my goodwill message during the programme organised by the National Identity Management Commission, there was a sort of dizziness on me and I had to excuse myself from the state.
“And of course I went straight to the hospital where doctors confirmed to me that everything about me is okay except for the fact that I’m a bit dehydrated and need to take a lot of water….,” Bawa had said in while reacting to the incident.
Unlike Bawa, the Chairman, Akwanga Local Government Area in Nasarawa State, Emmanuel Leweh, was not lucky. About three months into his tenure, he slumped in his office at the council secretariat in January 2022 and was later confirmed dead at a private hospital in Abuja.
On November 15, 2022, a lawmaker representing Mushin Constituency II at the Lagos State House of Assembly, Sobur Olayiwola Olawale, slumped. Popularly known as Omititi, he was among the politicians, who attended the kick-off campaign of Tinubu, the then presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on that day in Jos, Plateau State.
While some accounts said the lawmakers slumped at the rally and died moments later, others said he slumped at the airport and efforts made to resuscitate him failed.
In a similar incident in January 2023, the acting chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party in the Udi Local Government Area of Enugu State, SKB Ogbuagu, collapsed during a town hall meeting of the governorship candidate of the party held at the Ezeagu Local Government Area headquarters. He was rushed to a nearby hospital where he gave up the ghost.
MEDICAL EXPERTS WEIGH IN
Medical practitioners have blamed loss of several lives to slumping on poor handling of resuscitation by first aid responders – people around the victim – on one hand, and failure of public office holders to disclose their medical history on the other.
Speaking about Lawal’s incident on a Channels TV programme on Thursday, Dr Oluwole Olaomi, Chief Consultant Surgeon and Chief of Trauma, National Trauma Centre, said it could have resulted from a number of factors including stress, adding that every political office holder must be required to present medical fitness certificate.
“Nigerians keep their medical history to their heart. That is not helpful. People should know what you are going through as much as possible to help you. People should know that medical certificate of fitness is not a punishment not to give you the job; it is for everybody to know that you are fit or you have a particular illness so that you can start taking care of it. It is not something to deny you of your job,” he said.
Olaomi, who demonstrated how to administer a resuscitation session, lamented that the country had not imbibed the culture of basic life support, noting that basic resuscitation skills should be part of the curriculum right from the primary school.
He said, “Some of us were members of Red Cross and Boys’ Brigade in primary and secondary schools where these things were thought. These basic safety measures are supposed to be taught in physical education, but they are missing. The people (referring to the senator) did not know what to do. You don’t need a crowd; you need somebody who knows what to do. He (Lawal) shouldn’t have been lifted; it is very dangerous.
“Let’s assume somebody slumps in front of me and I witness the collapse. I am not going to raise him up. I need to let him lie flat and call his name gently. Then I want to check whether he is breathing. If his chest is moving up and down, I can say he is breathing. If I am not sure, I can place the back of my hand to his nose to feel air movement. The next thing is to find out if his heart is still pumping. I will put my finger on one side of his neck to feel the pulse. If I can’t feel it, it means the heart has stopped but not breathing.
“I am going to call for help immediately, but before the help comes, I will start a cardiac massage by locking my hands and putting them on the centre of his chest and start giving him a cardiac massage deep and fast at the rate of 100 compressions in one minute. If he is not breathing and the heart stops, I will do 30 compressions, use a handkerchief on his mouth, open his mouth by a chin lift and breathe into his mouth. People need to be trained and know that is what they need to do.”
Also a medical doctor and monarch, who spoke during the programme, Dr Adetoye Alatishe, expressed shock that the senate staff members were not trained in simple method of resuscitation.
Alatishe, founder of Alatishe Clinic and Oba of Ososa in Ogun, also emphasised the need for political office holders and staff of every organisation to obtain medical fitness certificate.
He said, “Shockingly some of the senators are even medical doctors. Raising the nominee up could have killed him. I was really worried. We need to go back to educate everybody on simple resuscitation method.
“People should do medical fitness examination, particularly going into offices and you have to be able to show your medical fitness certificate. It is interesting to know that political office holders don’t do medical fitness examination. It may not even be part of the requirement whereas it should be. You have to be fit to occupy such positions.
“I have worked with governors before; they don’t sleep. You see swollen legs because they are awake night and day. We need to talk about medical fitness in Nigeria and it must be compulsory for everybody to be on the national health insurance scheme. A number of political office holders are under so much pressure that even when they want to take a rest, they can’t.”….CONTINUE READING