Professional Colleagues, I bring you sincere greetings from the bottom of my heart.
As I go through alot of WhatsApp posts (reactions vs counter reactions) about the biggest polarizing movement among Nurses since pre-1976 era, I found it obligatory to draw the attention of honest and mature colleagues to the historical lessons of the darkest days of Nursing/Nurses in Nigeria: Any Society That Ignores It’s Past History Can Not Make It To It’s Dreamland.
Between 1976 backwards (Pre-Independence Era to 1976), Nurses in Nigeria were grossly divided along multi-group lines as it happened with other professional groups. About 10 Associations were operating independently and all in the name of representing Nigerian Nurses: Nigeria Union of Nurses (NUN), Professional Association of Trained Nurses of Nigeria (PATNON), Professional Association of Midwives of Nigeria (PAMON), Guild of Registered Nurses of Nigeria, etc, presenting divergent views on issues of Paramount interest to Nurses and Nursing Profession. Although it was very clear that they were operating on a collision course, similar tactics that Aggrieved Group (and any other similar group) of today adopted, they were adamant and insensitive to the dangers they posed to themselves and the Profession because everybody wanted to be in the helm of affairs/Leadership. The obvious disunity amongst Nurses became more pronounced in the Udoji Awards of 1976 as Nurses sang discordant tunes willy-nilly on issues of common interest. Consequently, Nurses suffered a huge loss in the award which forced Nurses and Midwives to realized their mistakes and had to unite under one umbrella on 8th of December 1977 at the city hall of Lagos by forming National Association Of Nigeria Nurses And Midwives (NANNM) with Mrs Hannatu Omale inaugurated as President, and 2 months later in February 1978 Mr. Moses Olabode (now Oba – a Traditional Title Holder) was appointed as the Executive General Secretary. So when the Nigerian Govt. promulgated Trade Union Decree of 1978, it further cemented the unification of Nurses/Midwives and consolidated the Professional Association Unionism in Nigeria. Since then sound unity was being enjoyed which brought about all the achievements we boost of today that attracted most Nurses and Midwives of Today flooding into the Profession.
You can therefore clearly see that many ‘Bitter Lessons’ were learnt from disunity, and being our mistakes of the past, these bitter lessons are supposed to be the wisdom to guide our future as echoed by the Wise saying “The Mistakes of the past are the wisdom of the future because some of the Best Lessons in life are learnt from Past Mistakes”.
But professional Colleagues, if we continue to ignore the Lessons of our past, by continuing to entertain negative and divisive agitations being created out of clear overzealousness, naivety, selfish interests and baseless grudges of a few who have packaged their actual ulterior motives in a beautiful and deceitful form by making them falsely appear like truth when in reality it is not, then we are clearly allowing few opportunists to be taking advantage of the very few underinformed members amongst us and blindfolding them into trying to pull us back to those ugly days that we were lucky to have survived miraculously thereby sabotaging our progress as a family/Profession. Any road that is full of dangerous portholes is deadly: in other words, any agitation that calls for disrespect, division, overzealousness and/or destruction is counterproductive because it can only leads us to a catastrophe destination.
We must therefore tread cautiously and refused to be brainwashed or used as tools for the evil and selfish gain of a few to the disastrous detriment of our only profession and to us individually. Crashing NANNM is synonymous with crashing the roof of your house on your head.
Let me briefly address some of the key deceitful grudges of such agitators;
1. Election: is no longer news that issue of failed attempt of some of them to become NANNM Exco at the State or Unit level was their main trigger, even though when some of these People were once at the helm of affairs in the chapter of their units they have nothing tangible to show as their achievements and have never realized that NANNM needed reform during their time as leaders until later when they attempted to make it to the next level of the leadership in NANNM and were unsuccessful. That’s what they and their close allies hid in their hearts. Election has it’s processes and procedures, and winning is determined by your popularity, qualities, credentials and above all Almighty GOD. There must always be winners and losers. Is therefore very unfair for anyone to destroy a system simply bcs he/she has not made it to the next level of leadership while they have deficiency in their credentials to make them eligible to contest or having failed to win Election. But my advise is “stay within the system and keep trying until you win”. You can’t force GOD to give you position of power: if HE wills that you will be, you will be; if HE wills you will not be, you never will be. This PULL DOWN SYNDROME can never take us anywhere.
2. Dues (3% Consolidated vs 3% Basic Salary): – basic salary is determined by an employer, not by an employee. The same Govt that designed the basic salary (the old system) is the same Govt that changed it to consolidated basic when we demanded for consolidated salary structure, and it has improved our Salary. So the obtainable basic salary now is the Consolidated Basic, and it is the same Govt that deducts union dues on this basis and pay all unions. All other statutory deductions (Pension, Tax, NHF, etc) are also being made out of the same consolidated basic. The Dues of the Unions are not an exception including that of NANNM. So why are we singling out our dues? Since when did an employee becomes the determiner of basic salary not the employer? However, if you want it amended, you should go to the Constitution Review Conference and try your luck maturely and democratically not by destructive means.
3. Constitution Review: – last review was in 2018. All states were equally represented, and all due processes were followed. It is being done every 4 years. You can follow the Democratic way as allowed by the law to push for your desired reforms, if you succeed, so be it, if you don’t, you try again. What you like may not be what others like, so if everyone is to behave like you, then the system will crash.
4. Sharing Formula:- the same explanation above applies here too. Is good to think and voice out objective argument, but we should go to the Constitution Review to push for the amendment not to try to pull the system down. By the time you succeed in destroying the system, before a replacement can be rebuilt, it will take starting from the scratch which means losing all the progress made so far.
And a lot of other things…
To those who were spreading lies that NANNM has no National Secretariat building, that we are in a rented apartment, and that NANNM has no investment; these allegations and lies ONLY exist in your own imagination. If you have no information, inquire. If you don’t trust the information NANNM is giving about it’s investments and properties, investigate before you form any opinion. Go there to verify, then say anything you want to say thereafter. Let me inform you for the records;
✓ NANNM National Secretariat was initially in Lagos when the Capital of Nigeria was in Lagos. It was our initial office, and is located in Victoria Island, one of the few most expensive and special places in Lagos. And it is still our property.
✓ With movement of the Nation’s Capital to Abuja, NANNM has to also move to Abuja. It was in the early times of the relocation that NANNM has to start with a rented office as it is the case even with Govt and it’s agencies who equally had to start with rented places before owning their own. NANNM eventually got its own Secretariat located at No. 13, Makurdi Street, Behind Area 10 Post Office, Close to AMAC (L.G.A) Secretariat, Abuja. Is still the property of NANNM, and the current Secretariat. A beautiful and mighty edifice located at Central area. It operates the standard of trade Unionism that is envied by many other unions. Even NMCN was once a tenant in Abuja.
✓ NANNM has alot of properties in Abuja. Example;
1. Plots: – in Gwagwalada, Lugbe, etc, within Abuja. Even recently, the current Leadership that just came on board barely 1 year now, have Successfully purchased a very vast land worth about N1B (1 Billion Naira) located at Durumi Area, just walkable from the Area 1 Bridge. The land is enough for us to built anything we want, especially the proposed more befitting National Secretariat, Nurses Microfinance Bank, Halls (for programs), Plaza for revenue generation, etc.
2. Many Duplexes/Houses. These include the 4 Duplexes purchased during Nurse Lawal H. Dutsinma time as President, 5 Duplexes purchased during the immediate past regime of Comr. Adeniji, and many other things.
3. At the States Level, NANNM has a branch in every state and these states branches have beautiful Secretariats in their various states’ Capitals which are also serving Nurses/Midwives of the state (units inclusive) and the Profession. They also possess their properties at their own level.
4. Vehicles: – NANNM has vehicles for running it’s affairs at all levels.
5. NANNM is actively partaking in all trade Union activities of NLC, TUC, and even at international level.
6. And many more.
✓ NANNM is beyond your imagination in terms of the struggle. It has the best structure among the trade unions.
✓ There are a lot to say, but lest this write up becomes too cumbersome to read, I will stop here.
From 1978 to date, the achievements recorded by the profession owed NANNM great gratitude. Even the progress made by the profession/ improvement of condition of service for Nurses btw 1999 to Date is NANNM that championed it all alongside NMCN. Also we were on GL salary with little amount as emolument. It was NANNM that represented Nurses/Midwives in Joint Action Group / Committee (JAG or JAC) which later matamophosed to JOHESU in the struggle that brought about upgradement from GL Salary to HATISS, then HATISS to CONTISS, thereafter CONTISS to CONHESS which made the salary package the attractive that it is today that attracted mighty attention into the Profession that you are enjoying today. Is equally an undeniable fact that NANNM is the backbone of JOHESU, it gives JOHESU significance strength and therefore the attention it gets from Govt. Unified Scheme of service is also to the credit of NANNM.
It is therefore an act of ingratitude and unfairness for anyone to say NANNM has not done and/or is not doing anything.
The challenges you see today are signs that we are making progress as past as required as a profession. Everyone is striving to study further. NMCN is working on the quality of education and training alongside NANNM: so much unprecedented progress have been made.
NANNM cannot solve all our problems overnight, but I assure you everything humanly possible is being done. Look at the Placement of Interns/Graduate Nurses that our leaders solved recently alongside NMCN. Our leaders are not sleeping, but is not healthy for them to always disturb us with every detail of their underground efforts. And no profession is without challenges.
Let us open our hearts to the voice of Objectivity, Maturity and Professional Decorum. Let’s stay United no matter what, because United we stand divided we fall. Union Dues should not be an issue because without it we wouldn’t be where we are today, in the same vain without it (for now, as we move to the level of investment initiatives) we cannot make it to our Dreamland. If you cannot sacrifice little resources for more gains, you will never move forward because resources are the key to progress in any struggle.
Encourage our leaders with your ideas, dues, prayers, understanding and support for more gains in the profession. Ignore advocates of stinginess and negativity.
Of course our leaders are not perfect, but you are equally not perfect too. I’m not saying there are no rooms for improvement, indeed there are and drawing attention of our leaders to such areas is good and always welcome but it should not be in a destructive way that will destroy the Profession. Experience is the best teacher, you can’t do as they can since you lack their level of experience and knowledge, though you can strengthen them with more fresh ideas.
There are Secretariats in each state, go there and inquire, you will be welcomed. You can equally go to the National Secretariat to make inquiries and see documents and proofs for yourself. You will be gladly welcomed. You can also call or message your leaders. Attend congress meetings consistently to get correct information and effect positive changes. Stop being naively aggrieved in your father’s house baselessly, contribute to the upliftment of the house objectively and maturely. Reform your mindset towards your profession/Association.
GOD bless you all.
Comr. Nr. Idris Bello Idris,
(Assistant General Secretary),
Secretary, NANNM Katsina State Council.