By Emmanuel Onwubiko
“There are only two sorts of doctors: those who practice with their brains, and those who practice with their tongues.”
- William Osler.
“The aim of medicine is to prevent disease and prolong life, the ideal of medicine is to eliminate the need of a physician.”
- William J. Mayo.
In developed climes, the evidence that you are a good corporate citizen as a very wealthy man, is not by the number of exotic and customised automobiles that you have in your car garage in your palatial mansion.
It is not by how much that you have accumulated in your cash accounts both onshore and offshore. It is not even about how many mistresses you are able to maintain but on a very refreshing note, you are respected not really for the volumes and quantities of your financial assets but how well you contribute to advancing your society, donating to charities and how much you have willed to your foundation on researches about climate change, viruses, diseases and peace studies.
You may wonder why we deviated. But we are talking about one of Nigeria’s most successful investors and a politician who is the most high profiled Igbo politician in the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration as the Chief Whip of the Senate Senator Orji Uzor Kalu.
But in addressing the fascination of Senator Orji Uzor Kalu towards the training of medical doctors on scholarships in offshore medical schools, we need to establish the fact that he is in a very good company of many rich Europeans and Americans who value philanthropy and Humanitarian assistance towards achieving a very peaceful World.
And so, we established above that in Europe and United States of America those continents are replete with dozens and hundreds of billionaires and innovators who have amassed immense wealth for themselves but who are reputable for dramatically investing some good percentages of their financial assets to support research efforts in the Universities about many challenges confronting humanity which I highlighted above. Other rich people have donated humongous amount of money towards researching on new agricultural skills, machineries and fertilisers to fight hunger which is a major cause of deaths in the greater number of the less developed countries in the World.
Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft (the other founder being Paul Allen) is one good example of a wealthy American who has invested substantially in finding new vistas on combating diseases afflicting members of the global community. Bill Gates is reported to be stepping up efforts to eradicate a disease that resurfaced in New York in the summer.
News report has it that the billionaire philanthropist had a sounded frustrated last summer after what he called “setbacks.”
“Several huge global setbacks over the past few years have left many people discouraged and wondering whether the world is destined to get worse,” the co-founder of software giant Microsoft lamented on Twitter on July 13.
“The pandemic is one of the biggest setbacks in history. The war on Ukraine is a gigantic tragedy for the entire world. The damage from climate change is already worse than most models predicted. The U.S. has taken a huge step backwards for gender equality and women’s health.”
He later appeared somewhat optimistic, as if he’d been trying to persuade himself that he saw light at the end of the tunnel.
“But I’m still optimistic. These setbacks are happening in the context of two decades’ worth of historic progress and I believe it is possible to mitigate the damage and get back to the progress the world was making,” the entrepreneur said.
$1.2 Billion to Fight Polio was also donated by this uncommon philanthropist.
A few months later, the philanthropist seems to have regained his energy and his will to win his humanitarian battles. We will look further down to Russia.
Roman Abramovich is a rich Russian businessman and the former owner of one of the World’s biggest and richest football clubs known as Chelsea fc of England. He is the primary owner of the private investment company Millhouse LLC. He has Russian, Israeli and Portuguese citizenship. Roman Abramovich made a fantastic decision to include the interests of the internally displaced war victims in Ukraine as a condition precedent for selling Chelsea fc which eventually got sold for over £4 billion making it the most expensive professional football club in the World and was bought by a Consortium of businesses led by the American billionaire Todd Boehly.
Roman Abramovich says net proceeds from sale of Chelsea will be donated to a foundation “for the benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine”; Russian billionaire has owned Chelsea since 2003.
The Russian billionaire released a statement on Wednesday – just before Chelsea’s FA Cup tie at Luton – saying he is seeking to sell the Blues, a decision he believes “is in the best interest of the club”.
Abramovich’s move comes amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss and American investor Todd Boehly are understood to be two of the parties interested in buying Chelsea from Abramovich, but Ratcliffe is not adding his name to that list.
A spokesperson for his company INEOS told Reuters “there is no substance to the stories” linking Ratcliffe to a purchase of the Premier League side.
Ineos already own French Ligue 1 side Nice, while they also sponsor the Ineos Grenadiers cycling team and own a third of F1 team Mercedes.
Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said Abramovich had come to the “right conclusion” to sell the club, while Chelsea Supporters Trust issued a statement demanding any new owner has the club’s interests as their “primary focus”, and warned against using the club as an “investment opportunity”. Amnesty International has also called on the the sale to act as a catalyst to reform the Premier League’s owners’ test.
Masters said: “The situation has escalated incredibly quickly over the last seven days and he’s come to the right conclusion. It’s unsustainable in the current environment.
“It’s a welcome decision and obviously, for the sake of everybody, including the fans, as soon as the sale process concludes everyone has certainty.”
Abramovich is owed £1.5billion by Chelsea after buying the club in a £140m deal in 2003, but says he will not ask for any of the loans to be repaid.
He says the sale of Chelsea “will not be fast-tracked but will follow due process”.
“This has never been about business nor money for me, but about pure passion for the game and club,” Abramovich said.
Abramovich is attempting to broker peace between Russia and Ukraine, according to his spokesperson, and says he has instructed his team to set up a charitable foundation where all net proceeds from the sale of Chelsea will be donated.
“The foundation will be for the benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine,” said Abramovich.
“This includes providing critical funds towards the urgent and immediate needs of victims, as well as supporting the long-term work of recovery.”
Roman Abramovich statement in full:
I would like to address the speculation in media over the past few days in relation to my ownership of Chelsea FC. As I have stated before, I have always taken decisions with the club’s best interest at heart. In the current situation, I have therefore taken the decision to sell the club, as I believe this is in the best interest of the club, the fans, the employees, as well as the club’s sponsors and partners.
The sale of the club will not be fast-tracked but will follow due process. I will not be asking for any loans to be repaid. This has never been about business nor money for me, but about pure passion for the game and club. Moreover, I have instructed my team to set up a charitable foundation where all net proceeds from the sale will be donated. The foundation will be for the benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine. This includes providing critical funds towards the urgent and immediate needs of victims, as well as supporting the long-term work of recovery.
Please know that this has been an incredibly difficult decision to make, and it pains me to part with the club in this manner. However, I do believe this is in the best interest of the club.
I hope that I will be able to visit Stamford Bridge one last time to say goodbye to all of you in person. It has been a privilege of a lifetime to be part of Chelsea FC and I am proud of all our joint achievements. Chelsea Football Club and its supporters will always be in my heart.
Besides, new owners ‘must have Chelsea as primary focus’
Chelsea Supporters Trust thanked outgoing owner Abramovich in a statement released on Thursday while expressing support for the people of Ukraine over the ongoing war.
The statement laid out the Trust’s criteria for any new owner, reading: “With regards to the future – we sincerely hope that any new owner(s) have the long-term prosperity of Chelsea and its supporters as their primary focus. Chelsea has a rich history and a strong winning ethos, any potential takeover should be made to further develop this and not simply as an ‘investment opportunity.’
“He’s put £1.5bn into Chelsea since he bought the club. He’s willing to write that money off; he says it’s never been about business and money, the reason he wants to sell is because of his love of the club, and he goes on to say he’s instructed his team to set up a charitable foundation and the net proceeds from the sale will go towards the victims of the war in Ukraine.
So as we can see, the emphasis is on doing charity to the needy. This is the footstep that Senator Orji Uzor Kalu may be following when he set up the foundation and a primary goal of the foundation is the sponsorship of young Nigerians to study Medicine abroad. The Senator has done this for sometimes and this generosity is already attracting commendation.
Few days back, the Abia North Students Association appreciated the Senator representing Abia North Senatorial District, Orji Uzor Kalu, for sponsoring students from the constituency to study Medicine and Surgery outside the country.
The students, in a commendation letter signed by its President, Idika Michael, also appreciated Kalu for his developmental strides and assured him of their continuous support.
Two students, Dike Peace Amarachi and Onwuchekwa Michael Chukwuemeka, had on September 26, 2022 travelled as beneficiaries of Orji Uzor Kalu Foundation, for a six-year study in Medicine and Surgery in South America at the Venezuela’s prestigious University, Latinoamerican Medicine School.
They joined six other students under the OUKF in the school.
The commendation letter, “I write on behalf of the Abia North Students Association-National to specially commend you for the opportunity given to four Abia North students to study in South America at the Venezuela’s prestigious University, Latinoamerican Medical, School, Escuela.
“Also, I want to specially remark your efforts in repositioning Abia North since you came on board as our Senator, specifically your efforts in the education sector which has earned our students various educational materials and support.
“Your Excellency, you have always been guided by the philosophy of a true Public Officer through your high sense of dedication, selflessness and integrity, which you brought to bear in your Public Service career, especially as our Senator.
” While being convinced that your brilliance and zeal would make you excel in your future endeavors, please be assured of the continuous support of students of your constituency, as might be required.
“Once again, it is our pleasure to express the deep appreciation of the state of your commitment to your people.”
Reacting, Sen. Kalu said, “Just like other beneficiaries, these two beneficiaries were selected on merit by the Foundation. I wish them well with the hope they will make themselves, their parents, our foundation and country proud.
“I am also grateful to God for the safe arrival and resumption at the school”.
Importantly, the Orji Uzor Kalu Foundation says students from outside Abia North Senatorial District, benefited from its foreign scholarship to study Medicine and Surgery.
The Foundation in a statement signed its Executive Secretary, Rev. Jemima Ola Kalu, on Wednesday in Washington DC , appreciated Nigerians for their continuous support, noting that the selection was not done by the Office of the Chief Whip of the Senate but solely and transparently done by Orji Uzor Kalu Foundation.
The statement said, “Orji Uzor Kalu Foundation is grateful to God Almighty for the success recorded in our programs — especially the foreign scholarships granted to students to study Medicine and Surgery.
“We appreciate the numerous goodwill messages from parents, community leaders, student union associations and others appreciating the foundation for the gesture.
“It is pertinent we inform the general public:
“That the scholarship was given to students across Nigeria. It was not restricted to people from Abia North Senatorial District. We have students from Abia South, Abia Central , Enugu, Oyo, Imo, Anambra, Borno and Rivers.
“That the selection process started in 2021 with advert in four major newspapers. Those leaving Nigeria applied in 2021 and were only delayed by documentation and other processes involved.
“That the selection was not done by the Office of the Senate Chief Whip, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, but solely and transparently done by the Foundation.
“The general public are hereby advised to stop approaching the Office of Senator Orji Uzor Kalu for assistance, but wait for the commencement of next selection processes,” she said.
Commendable as these training programmes are, I will suggest that as part of the scholarship scheme the beneficiaries must sign on to anagreement to return to Nigeria at the conclusion of their medical studies to provide the critical services in the health sector in Nigeria so as to abridge the widening brain drain in the medical sector of Nigeria.
The brain drain is so severe making it incumbent that such medical s holarahip like that of Senator Orji Uzor Kalu needs to encourage the scholars to return to Nigeria when they are graduated to fill in the yawning skill gaps in Nigeria following the mass exodus of Nigerian trained doctors to Europe, Canada, Britain and Saudi Arabia.
For instance, the United Kingdom’s General Medical Council has licensed fresh 91 Nigerian-trained doctors.
The PUNCH Newspaper discovered that the accreditation of the 91 doctors occurred over 15 days between October 10 and October 25, 2022.
The total number of Nigerian-trained doctors in the UK now stands at 10,387.
There are 5,210 associate specialists, 2,318 doctors in training, 1,837 general practitioners, and 1,273 specialists among the 10,387 doctors.
The accreditation of the 91 doctors came amidst cries by the Nigerian Medical Association against the brain drain bedevilling the health sector.
Apart from doctors, other categories of health workers are also migrating.
The PUNCH reports that the statistics also showed that between January 1, 2022, and September 30, 2022, about 1,307 Nigerian-trained doctors were licensed in the UK as Nigeria continues to battle one of the worst situations of brain drain in its history.
However, Nigerian doctors who got medical qualifications in schools outside the country are not included in the data.
The NMA, while lamenting the high rate of medical brain drain, said Nigeria may import doctors in the future.
Nigeria currently has the third-highest number of foreign doctors working in the UK after India and Pakistan.
The National President of the Medical and Dental Consultant Association of Nigeria, Dr Victor Makanjuola, while commenting on the situation earlier, said, “In the last two years, over 500 consultants, in my estimation, have left the services of government hospitals for practice abroad. All our government hospitals are consultant-led practices, which is the global standard. We have lost 500 in just two years, and we have found out that those who are more likely to leave are the younger ones.
“To sustain the system and be able to train the next generation of medical doctors and medical students, Nigeria needs to retain the older consultants who are in their 50s and getting close to retirement so that they can stay back and train the next generation of doctors and medical students.
“Otherwise, the disaster of brain drain would be doubled because we would lose the younger ones and the older ones at about the same time, and you would find a system without consultants. This would affect the standard of care and the quality of care given by hospitals.”
HURIWA is indeed pleased that Senator Orji Uzor Kalu is fascinated about training medical doctors from amongst the Nigerian youths and in some of the best equipped and staffed medical faculties abroad. Long may this great initiative last.
*EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO is head of the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA and was NATIONAL COMMISSIONER OF THE NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION OF NIGERIA.