It was the poet, John Donne, who once said: “Death, be not proud, though some have called the Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so; For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me”.
Donne’s lines was a defiant attempt to dismiss death as a mere recurrence that only translates the human corporeal frame into yet another realm that is still dreaded, but inevitable.
When last Monday I arrived in Abuja from Kaduna, I scrolled through Facebook to keep track of what had transpired. The picture of Danladi Ndayebo, a media personality and former Commissioner of Information and Strategy under the administration of the governor, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, instantly caught my attention.
Ndayebo was someone who walked through the corridors of power and refused to be influenced by the display of irredeemable arrogance often wielded by men and women in power. As noted by a Facebook friend, Mallam Na-Allah Mohammed Zagga on his wall, Ndayebo never “allowed the ambrosia of power to come between him and his colleagues”.
It is an unspeakable catastrophe that our decayed public healthcare delivery system turned Ndayebo into an easy prey. How could a hospital built by former Military President Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, equipped with avant-garde medical facilities, fail to treat Ndayebo, after over 12 hours of being rushed for medical attention.
According to news reports filtering from those close to what transpired between Sunday when the accident happened and Monday afternoon when the former commissioner breathed his last, there were no medics to attend to him, especially those required to undertake scanning and other checks after Ndayebo complained of serious chest pains.
It was apparent that the newspaper editor got drowned in his blood as he battled to stay alive. The alert button was only pressed after former Secretary to Niger State Government, Professor Mohammed Kuta, arrived at the IBB Specialist Hospital where Ndayebo remained unattended for nearly 12 hours. Kuta, furious at the manner the former Commissioner was treated, reached out to Governor Abubakar Sani Bello and other top officials , thus sending the entire medical facility into pandemonium to save Ndayebo.
It is apparent that what killed Ndayebo was not poor medical equipment, but the attitude of medical personnel. When on Wednesday I spoke to Prof Kuta to condole with him over the avoidable tragedy, the former SSG was inconsolable, but quickly accepted Ndayebo’s death as an act allowed by Almighty God.
It is cheering that the Niger State Government has set up a Commission of Enquiry to unravel the circumstances under which Ndayebo died. Though nothing can bring back the life of this uncommon patriot with an indisputable zeal for humanity; it is incumbent on the government to fish out those accused of professional negligence in order to deal with them to avoid a recurrence. When culprits of such heinous negligence are brought to book, the society gets better.
Ndayebo stood for humanity and he demonstrated respect that is deeply part of African culture. He saw public service appointment as a call to duty and never allowed his head to dwell in the vanity of public office. His death, though painful and most heartrending, highlights the essence of what he lived for. Though cut down in the midday of his life, the Niger-state born journalist lived a life worthy of emulation in a nation where people who had been victims of power quickly, once appointed into government, suddenly metamorphosed into cruel wielders of power. When death takes away the life of a man committed to humanity; the society is ennobled to create memorabilia for the departed to be always remembered. So it is with Ndayebo.
I offer my sincere condolences to the Ndayebos. May God grant them the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss. For the media family, especially those in the corridors of power and getting excited by the spoils of office and denigrating colleagues they once shared the winter of being outside the corridor of power, let Ndayebo’s death teach you a lesson on the transient nature of power.