FMC Yola: Celebrating the Separation of Conjoined Twins From Bayelsa, Strengthening Unity In Diversity II

By Adamu Muhammad Dodo

Hate speech, blame game and mutual suspicion are among the pillars of antagonistic relationship joined in cracking the wall and like a Trojan horse, for anarchy, insurgency and every form of insecurity to bulldoze its way in.

Some countrymen do not seem to entirely find any meaning behind the unity in diversity associated with Nigeria as an entity, however tirelessly the campaign, they will not be persuaded in spite of the policy package aimed at cohesion: the post primary unity school, the university among other tertiary institutions, the federal civil service and even the political structure.

The separatists are agitating for IPOB-exit in the post struggle that has united the country’s diversity without a victor or vanquished.

The most aggressive atmosphere of hate speech occasioned by mutual suspicion, is in my opinion, the electioneering atmosphere, even though corruption is said to be a uniting force much more than the way football unites the citizens.

“Take away corruption in Nigeria, it will be a wake up from a long dull dream; Malaysia or Dubai, Saudi Arabia or anywhere will take from Nigeria’s potential,, than what is presently obtained,” a political analyst once remarked.

Nigeria is truly meant for her citizens where ever they are as indigenes. This is exemplified in the separation of conjoined twins from Bayelsa State, Niger Delta, in Federal Medical Centre, FMC Yola, Adamawa state Northeast Nigeria.

Deploying the concept of “symbolic interactionism”, the experience is both paradoxical and full of metaphor.

Symbolic interactionism is a sociological theory that develops from practical considerations and alludes to people’s particular utilization of dialect to make images and normal implications, for deduction and correspondence with others – see Wikipedia.

The National Press Conference held on Saturday August 29, 2020 at FMC Yola, the day the discharge of the successfully separated conjoined twins was celebrated, has technically rather literarily, explored the paradox and the metaphor.

Since the struggles of a man begin at birth, which Prof Ola Rotimi the playwright of blessed memory would in his “The Gods Are Not To Blame” articulate that “it is meet then that our play will begin with the birth of a child”, it is meet then that the report on the national press conference that is invariably international, should begin with the Master of the Ceremony’s Intro

Prof. Abubakar Abba Tahir, the Vice President for University Relations at American University of Nigeria, Yola and whom this occasion will permit me to recognise as the founder of the Konngol SilverTongue, the lone Media and Language Training Institute in the northeast Nigeria, was the Master of the ceremony.

Below is the exercise he effortlessly and professionally carried out for the delight of those he trained who would be his second selves as William Wordsworth would express in his poem “Michael”.

EMCEE’S INTRO AND CITATION

RECOGNITIONS:

THE SECRETARY TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE FEDERATION, OUR SON AND BROTHER MR. BOSS MUSTAFA

HE GOVERNOR AHMADU UMARU FINTIRI, REPRESENTED BY THE CHIEF OF STAFF, PROFESSOR MAXWELL GIDADO

THE IN-ABSENTIA MINISTER OF HEALTH DR. OSAGIE EHANIRE

THE SPEAKER ADAMAWA STATE HIUSE
OF ASSEMBLY, ALHAJI AMINU IYA ABBAS

THE CHIEF OF AIR STAFF, AIR MARSHALL SADIQ ABUBAKAR, REPRESENTED BY THE CHIEF OF MEDICAL SERVICES, AIR COMMODORE GIDEON BAKO

THE CHAIRMAN BOARD OF MANAGEMENT FMC, HAJIYA HABIBA IBRAHIM

THE VICE CHANCELLOR OF MAUTECH PROFESSOR ABDULLAHI LIMAN TUKUR

CHAIRMAN OF THE OCCASION ALHAJI AHMED JODA

THE COMMISSIONER FOR HEALTH AND OTHER MEMBERS OF THE ADAMAWA STATE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL

THE SECRETARY TO THE ADAMAWA STATE GOVERNMENT, MR. BASHIR AHMED

THE MEDICAL DIRECTOR AND MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF MANAGEMENT, FMC YOLA

THE LAMIDO ADAMAWA DR. BARKINDO ALIYU MUSDAFA

MY COLLEAGUES FROM THE PRESS, ESTEEMED MEMBERS OF THE AUDIENCE, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

OPENING:

Slightly over two decades ago, this environment was merely a virgin land.

At that time, it was only a mixture of desert and farmland, where we least expected that a major medical facility was going to germinate within a couple of years from then.

No one of us here ever knew, that on a day like this, the story will become fundamentally different in structures, facilities, equipment, assemblage of medical expertise, volume of community engagement, velocity of medical breakthroughs, and the ultimate impact on the larger society.

And when the medical edifice was conceived, few people gave it the chance to rise to fame and glory within so short a time, as we have come to celebrate today.

We therefore give glory to God Almighty and appreciate the vision of the founding fathers of FMC Yola, for the hard-work of employees, the stewardship of its leaders, the confidence of its host community, the unflinching funding from government and sustainable support by donors.

We also give thanks to God Almighty that from day one, the facilities and medical faculty assembled here at FMC was second to none.

The FMC did not take off like our usual hospitals, which are replete with filth and other repelling environmental nightmares, which also contribute substantially to retarding the wellbeing or recovery of patients.

Recall that the FMC took off as one of the cleanest medical facilities in the country, and for this long, so far, it has maintained such status.

Again, we pay tribute to the successive leaders of this Medical Center for maintaining standards of Medicare, and the quality of environmental cleanliness that is second to none in our region.

On this historic day, we have assembled here to recognise one of FMC Yola’s most significant achievements – another landmark separation of conjoined twins.

Incidentally, this uncommon record did not happen in Lagos, the center of commerce and excellence, or in Abuja the federal capital and seat of power, or in Kaduna the heartbeat of Arewa’s political intelligentsia, or in Kano the largest and most economically viable city in the north, or in Aba or Onitsha the centres of business in eastern Nigeria, not even in Port Harcourt or Warri the homes of oil and gas, but the breakthrough happened in this small, serene and twin city of Yola, the Fortress of Modibbo Adama, on the innocent banks of the river Benue.

At this point I would like to recognize and appreciate the management and staff of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Project for their generosity in donating millions of naira worth of medical equipment to the FMC Yola.

The reason this interjection has become necessary is because of the location of the NLNG project in the Niger Delta, which happens to be the home of the family of our latest conjoined twins.

Yes, the parents came all the way from Bayelsa State to benefit from medical attention in the North East where part of the equipment deployed were donated by a federal government agency in the Niger Delta.

Mr. Chairman, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, this is the stark reality of our oneness and inclusiveness as a nation, which if taken seriously with deeper reflections will stop us from fighting one another, but embrace ourselves as brothers and sisters with a common dream for unity and national prosperity.

MR. CHAIRMAN, BEFORE THE MD’s WELCOME ADDRESS, MAY I ASK THAT PROFESSOR AUWAL STEPS FORWARD AND STANDS HERE, WHILE A BRIEF AND INFORMAL CITATION IS READ ABOUT HIM AND SOME OF HIS WORKS.

CITATION ON PROFESSOR AUWAL:

Mr. Chairman esteemed dignitaries, the feat we have come to celebrate today was achieved by one of Adamawa’s most illustrious medical brains, who is standing before you, the distinguished and highly professional but remarkably unassuming Professor Auwal Mohammed Abubakar, the third and indisputably, the most eventful Medical Director of this hospital.

In the last decade, this gentleman has made a mark, and a name in the tough, rough, complex and unusual surgical terrain of separating conjoined twins on the continent.

Apart from separating normally conjoined twins, our celebrant has equally recorded a breakthrough in the surgery of parasitic conjoined twinning.

Records have shown that there are only a total of ten reported cases of parasitic conjoined twinning in the world and FMC Yola has one, which has entered the Guinness Book of World Records, courtesy of the expertise of Professor Auwal Mohammed Abubakar.

Even around the world, I cannot think of ten surgeons on my fingertips who have comfortably, consistently, consecutively and commensurably performed such a feat, on five successive and successful occasions, and on humanitarian grounds like Professor Auwal!

He has really answered his true name as expressed in the inner meaning of the classical Arabic allusion to his name – Auwal, which means the First, the Inaugural, the Beginning or the Pioneer!

The immediate comments of the Minister of Health soon after being briefed about Professor Awwal’s achievements, captures the central essence of why we have assembled here today, to celebrate just a fraction of his numerous works in the medical field.

The Minister believes that our host and celebrant had long been hiding his exemplary accomplishments by lighting his candle under the table.

The Hon. Minister feels that it was high time and indeed long time, for Professor Awwal to begin to light his performance candle on top of the table so that the world would know, appreciate and learn from his unrivalled breakthroughs in service of human kind.

Yes, it was long necessary for the world, especially outside Nigeria, around Africa and beyond to know, that somewhere under the scorching sun of the northeast, there germinated, a very accomplished but humble, opportune but modest, professional but never arrogant, globally competitive but remarkably receptive achiever in Professor Awwal.

Our distinguished celebrant has conducted successful separations of conjoined twins on five different times and is still counting.

The first and second surgeries were carried out at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital about ten years ago.

The third was in 2013 here at the FMC Yola when he was on sabbatical study assignment.

The fourth occasion was in 2018, also here at the FMC Yola, in his capacity as Medical Director.

We have therefore converged here today to recognise Professor Auwal’s latest and fifth breakthrough, which was also successfully carried out here at FMC Yola, nearly three weeks ago.

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, one of the major high points of this and other previous moments of celebration for Professor Auwal’s achievements in this area, is that all the five separations he undertook so far, were carried out totally free of charge, without accepting any fee.

SINCE JANUARY 2020 THE FMC HAS TAKEN RESPONSIBILITY FOR ALL THE MEDICAL AND LIVING EXPENSES FOR THE FAMILY FROM BAYELSA AT THIS CENTRE.

On this humanitarian note, I am therefore exceedingly excited to present to you an accomplished medical practitioner, an esteemed surgical expert, a reputable professor of medicine, a respected community servant and indeed a very competent but unassuming public administrator for recognition as one of the leading lights in Africa’s steadily growing and fast-expanding field of human medicine, Professor Awwal Mohammed Abubakar.

I am pleased and proud to bring out to this great audience, one of Adamawa’s most shining candles, who has for ten long years, been lighting his own candle under the table, so that for the next many decades, we can jointly support him in permanently relocating his candle of accomplishments, and henceforth light it on top of an expansive and visible table, so that humanity would clearly see and benefit more from his works in service to community, to country, to continent and indeed to the larger world of medicine.

I present to you our dear son and brother; a very humble, gentle, subtle and simple man of men and leader of leaders in his own world!

But before he speaks, I strongly feel that our esteemed celebrant deserves a standing ovation from all of us!

END OF CITATION.

In his welcome address, Prof. Auwal Muhammad Abubakar the Medical Director FMC Yola, attributed the success of the surgery to:

*The trust, confidence and patience: Mr. Ayebaenaimi Raphael (God is with me) and Mrs. Ayebaekipreye Ebinyefa (God-gift), the parents of, having accepted to be flown to Adamawa from Bayelsa without any suspicion, to have their conjoined twins – Grace and Mercy – separated and have patiently remained in Yola throughout the Covid-19 restrictions period

* The intervention of the Chief of Air Staff, Nigeria Air Force, Air Marshall Sadiq Baba Abubakar to airlift the conjoined twins with their poor parents, from Bayelsa in Niger Delta to Adamawa in the northeast.

*The interventions of the Emeka Ofor Foundation from the eastern Nigeria and the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG);

“It is really delightful that we have come all the way from our home state – Rivers – to meet two beautiful girls: conjoined twins from Bayelsa who are separated here, using part of the equipment that has come from the NLNG.

“It is indeed a wonderful occasion. We feel the twins are part of the NLNG,” Mrs Eyono Faith-Williams the GM External Relations & Sustainable Development NNLG said.

Prof Auwal said that citizens should cultivate the habit of fairness, selfless service and justice as Nigeria belonged to all her citizens.

Emeka Ofor Foundation belongs to Igbo man in the South yet he donated medical facilities to hospitals in the north.

NLNG is in the Niger Delta but her intervention cuts across the country as much as the Covid-19 among other interventions by the Nigeria Air Force.

Prof Auwal explained that when he was at Ilorin, Kwara state, most of the patients presented with trauma were from the core north and they were being attended to without any segregation.

* The surgical team also reflected Nigeria based on tribes and faith but bound by professionalism and selfless social responsibility.

* The spirit of teamwork, adequate preparations and facilities and experiences for having done it several times.

* The surgery should serve as unifying factor and the parents of the twins from the Niger Delta should serve as peace and unity ambassadors between north and east against mutual suspicion and hate speech.

The Ayebaenaimi family has since started the mission where Raphael, joining the popular call, pleaded with the federal government to facilitate speedy upgrading of FMC Yola to teaching hospital.

I will report the remarks of the invited guests with portfolio during the occasion. However, MC not Hammer but Abba Tahir, the words trustworthy, served the following to close the ceremony for the discharged separated, hitherto conjoined twins to be able to be airlifted to join their grandparents in Nembe, Bayelsa state.

CONCLUSION OF CEREMONY

“Mr. Chairman, Distinguished dignitaries, ladies and gentlemen,

“Today’s ceremony clearly justifies the long fought campaign for a world-class Teaching Hospital on this premises, to serve this remote but strategic axis of the north east region.

3-It also justifies the start of a globally competitive Medical School and Teaching Hospital at the upcoming Modibbo Adama University of Nigeria.

4-It also means that the location of this facility close to the School of Nursing and Midwifery, fits the arithmetic of the upcoming FMC Teaching Hospital and the emerging College of Medicine at MAUTECH.

In the same vein, it also fits the equation of an upcoming sister Teaching Hospital that is strategically germinating at the immediate eastern neighbor of FMC, the campus of American University of Nigeria.

This axis will therefore serve as the university medical teaching hub in Yola and indeed, an emerging tourist medical village for the north east region, northern Nigeria and the country at large.

AT THIS POINT, PERMIT ME TO APPRECIATE ALL THE DIGNITARIES HERE PRESENT, ESPECIALLY THE SGF WHO HAS COME ALL THE WAY FEOM ABUJA FOR OUR SAKE, DESPITE HIS INTIMIDATING COVID 19 SCHEDULES AND OTHER CRITICAL STATE COMMITMENTS IN THE PRESIDENCY.

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