Buhari’s Ministers

By Jimitota Onoyume

Former General Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, Frank Kokori, has been admitted for kidney related ailment at a private  hospital in Warri, Delta State.

Kokori, who struggled to speak to journalists on his sick bed, with medics attending to him, said he had to plead with the  management of the hospital  to run their generators  all through the night, so the air-condition in his private ward could function for him to stay alive.

The former NUPENG leader, who occasionally gulped water poured in his mouth as he spoke, said it was unfortunate that because of the economic situation, the hospital in an oil rich city as Warri was economising diesel, adding that  if he had money, he would have sought further medical  attention overseas.

Commending the management of the hospital for all the sacrifices they had done for his sake, he said he relapsed into coma recently before he was revived and brought to the hospital.

Kokori said he managed to walk through the stairway of the hospital to the ward.

He said: “The hospital is  trying for running its generator till night. Without the air-conditioned ward, I could have just given up. I came out of coma and I told my children to rush me to any kidney hospital, tell them to run their generator so I don’t die. I will pay their bills. Only one doctor was around, she was struggling to also attend to  other patients.

“I came to this hospital when I was told there is a place like this in Warri. They have been doing their best. In the midnight, they put their generator off. But I begged them to run it that I will pay their bills.

“I came on Tuesday.  After the dialysis, I have been here. I could  have just died because of lack of diesel. I had to beg them to run their generator so the air-condition in the ward can function. I need it to be alive.

“It got to a stage that I could not take a flight, I could not walk . If it was when I was in NUPENG, I would have been flown out with air ambulance immediately.”

Asked if he would accept any kind offer to be flown abroad for thorough medicare the labour leader said he would not decline it.

“Who would not agree? I don’t have the money, before I would have said no,” he said.

The octogenarian still spared some time to  talk about the state of the country, appealing to the Joe  Ajaero led Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC,to give President Bola Tinubu sometime  to deliver on his campaign promises.

Kokori said President Tinubu inherited an economy  that was so battered by the government of former President Muhammadu Buhari, adding that the new government was using over 90 percent of its  revenue to service inherited debts.

He said: “The president just came on board and the country is owing so much, so labour should give him some time.

“About 90 percent of the country’s  income goes to servicing  loans. How can the government do magic. Look at me, I would have died because of the economy.”

He said he was excited that  Tinubu who was among those that campaigned vigorously against military government alongside himself, late Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti and other pro-democracy activists, was now president of the country.

He said President Tinubu  granted him audience few weeks after he was sworn in, adding that he pleaded with him to ensure he took the country to glories heights.

“I was happy when Tinubu became president. In 1998, when I was in the United States, Tinubu was always coming to talk about how to rescue the country.

“I saw President Tinubu on June 15,  just to tell him not to disgrace the country. I am happy that for the first time that those who fought for democracy are in power.”

Kokori said he was optimistic that President Tinubu would lead the country out of the woods, urging Nigerians to be tolerant with the government because of the mess it inherited.

He also thanked the president for the financial assistance he had given him in the past before his ailment.

“I have managed to see  President Tinubu once and he gave me some funds. Then I wasn’t dying  Faleke, God bless him,  did everything for me to see Tinubu when he was president-elect then.  And when he was sworn-in, I saw him again. “

Kokori also lauded the radical media for their high sense of patriotism, recalling that his unrepentant passion for a better Nigeria made him shun every temptation from the military class to compromise the struggle for  democratic governance in the country.

“Before I die, let the world know that it is a shame that  past leaders  destroyed the country.

“If I wanted to compromise, the military  was ready to give me anything but I stood for democracy,  believing that  democracy will usher in a better Nigeria. The refineries were working before I retired from NUPENG. I  became the tribune of the country, heading the freedom fighters. Some of us were underground, disguised for 10 weeks fighting the military.  The military sent presidential jet to pick me to compromise, but I refused.

“Tinubu and others managed to smuggle out of the country to sustain the campaign for democracy.”

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