Nigerian writers and the global scene has not stopped waxing lyrical about the great grand daughter of Herbert Macaulay who laid down her life in her battle to save her country from the scourge of a national distress, Ebola Virus Disease, Dr. Mrs Stella Ameyo Adedevoh.
The dreaded disease has again placed our dear Africa on the global scene as a helpless continent as evidenced by the Liberian President’s letter to the world.
In the midst of the catastrophe and calamity, we call to mind the heroic strides of the female doctor and lessons that I have summed up in the coinage ‘Adedevohism.’
Adedevohism is the principle of true patriotism. Dr. Adedevoh through Adedevoism has set an example and defied the popularly propagated principle that no citizen is ready to die for Nigeria. Dr. Adedevoh’s demise though very sad has punctured the assumption that Nigeria is not worth dying for. Had she not confronted the infidel Patric Sawyer and the Liberian diplomatic pressures with the voice and heart of a King, Nigeria would have been in more catastrpohy than we currently are. Her death, is nothing short of true patriotism.
Adedevohism is the principle of professional responsibility. As a medical doctor, Dr. Adedevoh delivered her duties as a professional. A professional who has sworn the oath to protect and preserve human life to the best of her ability. A professional whose major preprogative was not the mere amassing of wealth for its own sake but the preservation of life, hers and that of many she may never have known or never will know.
Adedevohism is the principle of citizen strength. Dr. Adedevoh does not have to be a government official or appointee or even a civil servant to do what was right for her country. The city of Lagos was thrown agog despite the fact that the index Ebola case was contained courtesy of Dr. Adedevoh’s efforts. Had she waited like the customary Nigerian for the government intervention or pray to God without commensurate action, Nigeria would have been drowned in the scorge of Ebola by now.
Adedevohism is the principle of collective responsibility. Dr. Adedevoh was no doubt a highly skilled medical consultant of national and international repute, yet in battling the index EVD case in Nigeria, she did it with her medical team. Unlike her compatriot in Port-Harcourt, Ikechukwu Enemuo, the Port-Harcourt based doctor that treated a primary contact with the index case alone in his hotel room; who for personal gains or individual accolade fought and lost the battle against Ebola as a solo warrior. The Adedevohism principle of collective responsibility fortifies the truism in the fact that ‘one is too small a number to achieve greatness.’ Moving from our case of undevelopment as a nation to development, one man, the president or one woman a minister or a permanent secretary or a single activist can never totally solve our problem. Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress will heal us as a nation.
Adedevohism is the true message of feminism. Feminism is not the activism principle of contesting with men for everything as summed up in the cliche ‘what a man can do, a woman can do better'; rather it is the action enshrined in effective performance of the duties of each person whether male or female. Adedevoh’s feminism is not the beggerly feminism that ‘females should be given 35% of political appointments,’ it is the feminism of ‘female professionals earning their place through hardwork.’ Adedevoh was the lead consultant of First Consultant Medical Centre, she didn’t get there by asking for priviledges because of her gender but by hardwork despite her gender.
Adedevohism is the principle of Courage. Courage being defined as ‘not being the absence of fear but the fear of the aftermath of fear itself.’ Dr. Adedevoh though understood fully the aftermath of restraining Sawyer with such efforts as she applied was like the Biblical Esther who said ‘If I perish, I perish.’ Similar to Dora Akunyili who as NAFDAC DG sufferred lots of threats but did not bend. Adedevoh didn’t consider death as the greatest evil that could befall her but she took courage in preventing the evil that will befall 170 million Nigerians if she made the wrong choices and entertained fear.
What if our elected political office holders practice adedevohism? What if our ministers and other appointees are faithfuls of Adedevohism? What if our Youth had the courage of Adedevoh not to mind the consequences but go all out to defend our country, our unity and our future in the 2015 polls? What if Nigerian Citizens and professionals didn’t wait on govenrnment to do everything or paralyze themselves in the ‘It is only prayer that can solve our problems’ cycle. The truth is this, there is a suppressed Adedevoh in us all. Adedevoh that we are not courageous enough to set free.
In my opinion, apart from the further propagation of the principle of Adedevohism within the professional cycle, ordinary citizens, youth, children and every facet of the Nigerian society; one of the leading Nigerian hospitals should be renamed in memorial of Dr. Adedevoh. The Lagos State government can choose to do this, the federal Government can also do this. Medicallly oriented Non Governmental Organizations can adopt the ‘Adedevoh’ as part of their name as a way of paying her respect.
Conclusively, If a man builds a better house, writes a better poem, or sings a better song; even if his house is in the woods, men will make a beaten path to reach him. Adedevohism remains the path to our collective development as a nation. The US and the WHO has been coming to understudy how we handled EVD, let’s teach them Adedevohism.