Hello! This is the diary of a medical student of the University of Uyo Medical Students Association (UUMSA) at the 50th anniversary of the Nigerian Medical Students Association (NiMSA) held at Abuja in October 2018. Dr. Nelson writes on the event from his point of view.
The 2-day inspiring event in the beautiful city of Abuja has ended and we have a whole lot of ravishing experiences already. I’m talking of the Nigerian Medical Students Association NiMSA golden jubilee and her 1st Female International Health Summit.
For the University of Uyo medical student delegates, we may avoid talking about how we got to Abuja if you’ll offer a billion naira to share our positive experiences. Nevertheless, all of these experiences make up the essential part of our stay in Abuja.
You may be aware that life is full of ups and downs and such was the fate of UUMSA delegates towards attending the NiMSA at 50 event. We began an over 10hr journey at about 9:45am on Thursday with much hope for a hitch-free ride up north.
From the uttering of lame or expensive jokes to discusssing the concept of feminism and Nigerian politics, we finally landed in the ‘Coal City’, Enugu, where we were offered a cooler of ‘fio-fio’ and bottles of 50cl Pepsi. The transit continued until we were a few kilometres to Abaji, close to the Federal capital territory FCT where the journey temporarily halted. To our surprise, we had been encaged in a brakeless car ever since we entered Kogi and traversed the never ending length of its capital-we basically spent nearly 5hours in this state.
From brakepad dislodgement to rickety movement then finally oops! A total breakdown of alternator-origin. That was how we spent the night in open space on the Lokoja-Abuja expressway precisely at Kwali, sandwiched within ourselves like strands of cooked noodles.
Next was the push of progress by the guys that brought the frustrating white carton to the mechanic’s workshop at Gwagwalada, by this time it was already past 7am the next morning and the first day of the program. If anyone deserved some praises for the previous night at all, it would be our very own Ojike Francis, our pilot and Dr in few months time. This guy could fly you anywhere in the world as far as a google map was handy.
To successfully beat an African with same qualifications to clinch a business deal means that you are a second away from time itself.
NiMSA at 50: The event
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The venue was glistening with the green white green Nigerian flavour of colours , there were varieties of faces beaming with smiles, tensions, confusion, ignorance and all sort of facial expressions you may be aware of. However, the program did not start by 9am as scheduled. Not even by 10am.
The packaging was cool but the content of the summit was better experienced than told especially when Dr Richard C. Okoye, MD of save a life foundation took everyone in awe as he spoke on ‘The future of healthcare in Nigeria:Promising or Bleak’. The Minister of Health was represented by Dr Adebiyi as he was in Rio,Brazil. The chairman on the occasion and an honorary lifelong member of NiMSA Dr Ibrahim Kana didn’t fail to assure us of a fulfilling experience by the end of the summit.
The second day was laced with talks, lectures and parallel sessions. By this time, the thought of home and the whole medical school palaver had eluded us on account of the ‘exoticness and redemption’ that Abuja wielded. I could swear down that Abuja looked more like a developed country within a developing one.
Not forgetting our Ghanian friends. We had the General Assistant for Africa as well as the Capacity Building Assistant for the region under the aegis of the International Federation of Medical Students Association IFMSA. We really learnt a lot from these student resource persons in various ways.
At about 5pm on day 2, the NMA chairman of Akwa Ibom state Dr Nsikak Nyoyoko gave a call to his children to announce his arrival at the ‘centre of unity’. The fatherly love showered by NMA through the chairman was one of a kind and it would forever be entrenched in the deepest parts of our hearts. Posterity would accord those moments at the Rockview hotel some intense gratitude.
Then came the dinner and award night. Again, it was better experienced than told. This was where the real socialization took place. Those who came for the food got it in full dose and those who came for the goose, well you already know what becomes of activities requiring long term manifestations of approximately 9 months. Trust UUMSAites this time, we were composed and delivered whenever the need arose. Kudos to the president of UUMSA , His Excellency Emmanuel Udoeden(God’s Plan). Never find another definition for humility, finesse and purpose if you happen to know him. You may be goofing if you find another.
The Journey Back Home
Finally, the journey back home was much dreaded but anticipated notwithstanding. The NMA chairman had before now immensely supported our going and totally sponsored our homecoming. You can smile again. That was how we arrived Uyo at about 9pm on Sunday after making brief stops at Abia and Ikot Ekpene , to eat and change tyres respectively. Not including normal stoppages at filling stations to get petrol refills.
We wish NiMSA could be 50 everyday. However the association must grow as long as her members are obliged to grow. We wish the association many more fruitful years ahead as she begins a fresh start at another half century.