Baby Chikamso and our humanity

By KEN UGBECHIE

You probably haven’t heard the story of Baby Chikamso. She’s the pretty and adorable bundle of joy born on June 12, at Saint Mary’s Hospital Umunachi in Isiala Mbano LGA of Imo state. The mother, 23-year-old Ruth Ekechukwu, was delivered of the baby through Caesarean Section (CS). The hospital management was professional in keeping with the Hippocratic Oath. They did not insist on initial deposit. Neither Ruth nor the presumed husband had money to deposit. But the Hippocratic Oath says ‘save life first’. So the doctors got to work. And pronto, Baby Chikamso was born. Chubby, healthy and cute. A pure angel in full plume.
Hospital bill came to N135,000. This still did not stop the hospital from administering post-natal treatment to stabilize both mother and child. And they were truly fine. No complication. But the story has a twist to it. The presumed husband of Ruth and father of the baby had walked away, turning his back at both mother and child. The man was said to have turned his back at his family in anger. And you wonder, what could make a father unhappy at the arrival of his baby? Truth is, Baby Chikamso was not just a baby, a bundle of bliss, as we know babies to be. She was an article of trade. She was some commodity to be sold off from the maternity ward.
As the story goes, her father, Ruth’s supposed husband, had wanted to sell the baby in the booming baby market: for ritual, for anything. But Ruth, like any genuine mother, would not have that. She objected to the heartless pitch; an evil offer from an evil man. Her rejection of the malevolent suggestion provoked her husband to wrath. And he walked away and never showed up at the hospital.
For about three months, Ruth and her baby were unwanted tenants at the hospital. Feeding was at the mercy of hospital staff, visitors and men of good will. Life was tough. A nursing mother, especially one who had just undergone CS and her baby need nutrition, nurture and care. Not so, these ones. Ruth was an unloved mother burdened by a ‘commodity’ that could not be sold. She survived birth pangs but she’s now confronted with hunger pangs. It’s the worst thing a woman could suffer: to be abandoned by a man responsible for their child. Such irresponsibility from a man whose only paternal affection towards his own child was commoditizing the child. It’s an evil proposition worse than dinner with the devil. But that’s what Ruth and her innocent baby had to endure for three months.
Thank God for great journalism. It took a newspaper report on the travails of Mother Ruth and Baby Chikamso for the world to know. The report stirred the humanitarian well of the spokesperson of Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), Barr Ikenga Ugochinyere Imo, who not only offset the hospital bill but also made cash donations and other provisions to mother and child. Much thanks to Steve Uzoechi, a journalist with New Telegraph newspaper who was the pivot of the rescue and rehab gesture.
Politics must be people-centric. Any politician who uses the people to achieve an end but turns his back on the same people is worse than a robber. Barr Ugochinyere has demonstrated that politics is about development of humanity. He has shown that mounting the soapbox to oratorically seduce the people with platitudes and prosaic inanities is not good politics. Good politics is in helping the people, offering your hand and shoulder. It is in service to humanity; in doing good. And doing good is not all about doing the grandiose and mighty things; it is giving your neighbour water when they are thirsty and offering them home when they are homeless. Building roads is good; planting airport in every city is grand but the greatest of them all is building humanity; making sure that your neighbour does not go to bed hungry.
My desire and earnest prayer is that those who participated actively and passively to revive hope in Ruth and her daughter would not miss their reward from the Rewarder-in-Chief, the Almighty God.
But I’m pained that a man could abandon his wife and daughter in their most distressful moment. I’m even more pained that any human could contemplate selling his child or any child as a commodity. This is troubling and more traumatizing than the primitive looting of the national till by Nigerian predatory politicians.
Humans are not animals you sell and slaughter at will. The Biblical narrative of creation says that in the beginning God created animals and other creations by decreeing them into existence. But not so, man. God did not just create man, He made man. He took His time to forge man from the foundry of the earth and God breathed into man and man became a living soul. God did not breathe into sheep and goats, gorillas and chimps. This makes man very special, a peculiar treasure, the very cream of the created ecosystem. Therefore, to conceive the idea of selling man the same way we sell cattle and goat is an act of extreme wickedness.
The act of selling humans, trading in human parts and harvesting human organs for cash, ritual or any other existential appeasement is a cruel indexation of how man has lost his humanity. And it is a booming trade these days. Parents have conspired to sell their children; mothers have been known to sell their new-born babies for whatever reason; fathers have reportedly sold their kids in the satanic market of evil buyers and sellers. No human, least of all Ruth’s husband, has a right to put a child up for sale. It’s not only criminal, it’s deviously despicable. And if for reason of childlessness, you need a child, don’t go about shopping for one in a cash-and-carry manner. Stop it! Simply adopt a child or as many children as you wish and nurture them. That is more elegant, Godly and noble.
Imo State Police command has a job here. Keep an eye on Baby Chikamso and the mother. A man who could propose selling his own baby like a commodity is capable of worse things. This run-away ‘husband’ should be hunted down and made to write an undertaking that nothing untoward would happen to mother and child. Every child is special and so is Chikamso. If we reckon that Steve Jobs was surrendered for adoption by his biological parents at birth but grew up under surrogate parents to become a global icon, then you know there is hope for Chikamso and thousands of other babies abandoned by their irresponsible parents. Steve Jobs lived a productive life and gave the world Apple, iPhone and the other ‘i’s’ of modern geekdom. Chikamso will grow up to etch her name on the boulder of time as a woman fated to live just so she could teach humanity how to love. If Barack Obama’s mother could struggle as a single mother to nurture Barack who later became the first black President of America, then there is no height too high for Ruth to conquer. But she needs our help. All men of goodwill should show her love for Chikamso’s sake.

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