amongst older African Americans, there is this saying that "the white man's ice is colder than that of the black man." It's usually said with some sarcasm because everyone knows that ice is ice, regardless of who sells it or not. What they are trying to say is that some people have been so brainwashed so as to think that things of the West are ultimately superior in every respect and that such a fact can never ever be questioned. I am sure we have all seen instances of this both in Nigeria and abroad. Like for example, we may know of someone who insists on buying their "Made in China" shoes when the AbaMade brand looks similar and may be superior in quality.
So what does all this have to do with our formerly esteemed, but now fallen, Minister of Health, Dr. Adenike Grange. Plenty...well at least, in my humble opinion....your own opinions are most welcomed.
Two weeks ago (yeah, I know, I'm late), Dr. Grange resigned from her post as the nation's Minister of Health, under allegations of corruption and mishandling of funds allocated to the Ministry of Health. As for the specifics, N300 million of unspent funds meant to return to the national treasury went missing or - according to the Ministry - were spent on Christmas bonuses. Grange claims that she did not personally benefit from these funds, but, in my opinion the gross mishandling of these funds hints that she handled her post irresponsibly, at the least.
I was still in Nigeria when Grange was appointed to the position of Minister of Health. When I did a proper search on her credentials (ehem...google), I was more than impressed. Actually, I was inspired, even hopeful. Beyond being a Nigerian woman, (because most Nigerian women are simply awesome...), she served as the president of the International Pediatric Association (IPA) and as a consultant for respected institutions such as the World Health Organization and UNICEF.
I believe it is safe to assume that while she was working for these institutions, which are heavily funded and monitored by the West, she must have been very careful in carrying out her responsibilities. I'm sure that is why she was recommended to and later given the post of Minister of Health (as for the junior Minister, who in his former life was an architect...i no know wetin he dash Yardy make da man call am...but i digress).
But what happened when she entered the Ministry, if this whole debacle is indeed, as she claims, a "lapse" in duty on her part?
That is where the white man's ice comes in. I feel that many (including myself at times) tend to perform differently amongst different people. I feel that amongst the company of her oyinbo peers, Grange probably was meticulous in her various appointments. But when it came to handling the affairs of Nigerians, it seemed as if her guard went down. After all, this is Nigeria - anything goes (including the sum of N300million). If, Grange felt that the white man's ice is colder, then when she goes into his store to buy such ice, it required of her a higher degree of decorum, as she displayed when working with the likes of WHO, IPA, and UNICEF. I guess entering the black man's store she let her guard down and the millions of women and children she claimed to protect.
Dr. Grange is not the first, and definitely not the last, to behave in such a manner. I know that I have done the same too (I won't get into specifics). But I guess this post and the Grange issue serves as a reminder to myself that we should be careful when we approach the work of humanitarian aid or service to our fatherland (or motherland, whichever). Grange in her resignation shifted blame to inherent political corruption in the Ministry. But I wonder if that is a good enough excuse to ignore her own personal call to promoting high moral standards in government. Personally I think she did not take her post as seriously as she did her other appointments in the West simply because she was amongst Nigerians.
But then again, this is just my take on things. She might have had this "lapse" because of personal problems at home or work that made her miss the millions of naira being reshuffled.
But I do agree with her, in a speech she made in 2005, when she quoted Rev. Martin Luther King that "'We shall have to repent in this generation, not so much for the evil deeds of the wicked people but for the appalling silence (and inactivity) of good people.'"
Might I add, that our generation shall have to repent, not so much for an unwillingness to do good, but for being crappy at doing good (sorry, I'm having a brain freeze - no pun intended - and "crappy" was the only word I could think of...)
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