Senator Shehu Sani rescues ailing veteran Journalist Albashir with $3,000 to get artificial limb
By; ABDULL-AZEEZ AHMED KADIR, Kaduna.
The Senator representing Kaduna Central, Senator Shehu Sani at the weekend came to the aid of ailing veteran journalist and popular columnist Abdulkareem Albashir, by donating the sum of three thousand Dollars ($3,000) to aid him get artificial limb and settle other medical bills to enable him move around again.
59 year old Albashir’s right leg was amputated on April 5th, in 2014 in a private hospital, Lagos to prevent the spread of an ailment. Since then, the popular newspaper columnist and broadcast writer has been confined to his Kaduna, due to inability to foot his medical bills and obtain an artificial limb.
Presenting the $3,000 cash to Albashir in his house, Senator Sani described him as an elder statesman who has spent most of his youthful adult life serving the country and a role model to the younger generations and the journalism world.
“He is a man who has devoted his life to the service of humanity, he is a man whose literal works and his journalistic contribution has made social, political and economic impact in the society. Some few months ago, I got a call from some of his colleagues who informed me about his state of health. Despite the fact that we have been speaking on phone, he has never intimated me for any assistance.
“As a friend, a father, as a Senator representing him in Kaduna Central, I feel morally bound to intervene and find a solution and succor to his state of health”, Sani enthused.
Expressing regrets over the neglect people of Albashir suffers in their times of need, the Senator said “I think our political elites, as much as they are concerned about our guide dogs, they should also be concerned about the Watch Dogs, and we should not consider only when the rich and powerful die that we will say it is a national tragedy.
Stressing Albashir’s contribution to his noble profession, Sani said “through him, many have built their carrier. He has served in the generation of journalists and also served a generation of people. He deserves more in future, but for now this is for all of us in the civil society where I come from and the media which we are almost from the same realm. He was a re-known journalist and an editor as well as a columnist who has made his mark. In him, journalists can see themselves as journalists.
“Also we can see whether our society is sensitive or insensitive. If such a man with his intellectual prowess could be in this state up to this very time without the state getting to fully intervene, it says a lot about us as a people” he regretted.
Expressing his disaffection over the neglect of the poor and dilapidated health facilities in the country, the Senator said “we can see how my people die in public hospitals that are understaffed without any drugs or remedy. Albashir is an example of this in a state and the nation that we have found ourselves over the years.
“It is very clear that Nigerian political elite are only interested in the media only when they use them to ascend to power or they need them to damage other person. But, when it comes to welfare of the journalists in Nigeria, you will find our political elites wanting.
“I believe that, if you can appreciate the role played by our military and our politicians in restoring peace and fostering unity in Nigeria, we also need to appreciate the role played by the Nigerian journalists in this aspect.
“To this end, I will say that, I am personally going to support the provision of his artificial limb and the technical work. I learnt there was contact with Specialist in that field and they have given their bill for it. I am here today not for a courtesy call which I have already made, but to do what is very much needed. People like Albashir deserve more than this, for what he has given to this country”.
Thanking the Senator for the goodwill towards him and his family, Albashir lamented the ill treatment and the denial of visa by the Indian embassy in Lagos while recounting his bitter experience.
“In Abuja an unfortunate incident occurred involving my team and the Indian Embassy. There, I laid on the bare floor while my daughter, Dr Aisha, was talking to one of the Embassy staff. The next thing I saw was that he threw some documents he was holding at her. That angered me a lot but I was too weak to protest.
“In fact, this provoked some Nigerians around who were to secure their own documents. Since this episode, I made a vow never to visit India for the reason of any medical treatment.
“Reading the papers of September 5th, to the effect that Nigerians spend about N198 billion on medical trips to India annually, I felt really bad. The rudeness of their Abuja Embassy swept through my memory,” he lamented.
He expressed surprise by the support offered by Senator Sani and the visit to his house for the donation.
He explained how the whole ailment started; “it is not as some people might think it was a result of some kind of a sickness that the leg was cut off, no. It was not diabetes. It was just like a miracle because I cannot even explain how this whole thing happened. All I know is that, I was trekking four-five kilometers virtually every day. All of a sudden this thing occurred. It started developing pains and became very impossible for me.
“When I could not even walk to the nearby Mosque, I knew that there was a very serious case with my leg. It was more or less like a very sudden kind of development and I engaged one of the best Doctors in that field who was giving all assurances.
“I really trusted all he has said. But it became impossible for me to rely on what he was telling me and I decided to go to Lagos. In fact, the first idea for me was to go to India. That idea did not materialize for one reason or the other. The Doctors said that it is either they get rid of the leg or the leg will get rid of me. I never thought it could be this serious. That was how we decided and the leg be amputated.
“So, you can understand my feeling today which is that, I never expected that such an assistant was on its way. For which reason therefore, I am most grateful to the Senator”.
Speaking further on the toll the ailment has taken on him, Albashir said “sometimes when I am talking, I will miss certain words and forget what I said at the last moment. The greatest problem is the leg, which has virtually de-mobilized me so to speak, which has virtually made me a kind of a person who is more or less too dependent on friends, on relations and brothers which was not the case before.
“It is painful that I have to say this, but the truth of the matter is that, it is true that this is the condition in which I find myself today because of the problem of this leg. Sometimes I can remain inside my palour, reading newspapers, writing some articles, sometimes even over-working myself to survive and sometimes as an exercise and some other times to reduce the mental torture and very disturbing, finding myself sitting quiet doing nothing.
“Today that I am still alive is by the grace of God and a lot of other people whom I cannot give their names. One of them is the Senator who came physically to come and render his own assistant.
“You are not the only person here in Kaduna, but you are one of the persons who really care for everybody. This is the second time you are coming to see me with regards to the problem of this leg.
“Once more Mr Senator, I thank you very much for what you have done. It is something I never expected, it is something that I didn’t foresee coming,” Albashir said in emotion laden voice.