July 15, 2024

MDCAN-UBTH, Edo NMA Organise A Public Lecture On Mental Health Impact Of Election Campaign

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MDCAN-UBTH, Edo NMA Organise A Public Lecture On Mental Health Impact Of Election Campaign
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By Simeon OSAJIE

The Medical and Dental Consultants’ Association of Nigeria (MDCAN), University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) Branch in collaboration with Nigeria Medical Association, Edo State chapter has organized 2nd MDCAN-UBTH Public Lecture with the Theme: “The Mental Health Impact of Election Campaign: Coping With Victory and Defeat”.

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The lecture which took place at Doctors’ House, Ugbowo, Benin City, Edo State was delivered by Prof. Kingsley O. Akhigbe, a professor of Psychiatry and Consultant Mental Health Physician of the University of Benin.

In his welcome address, chairman of the Association, Dr. Ehigha Enabudoso said one of the big challenge we face in this country today is that of leadership pointing out that he always believe leadership is a call to service.

According to him, for you to become a leader this day, you gets to go through election. There is what we call politics and there is leadership. Many people would love to be leader and in the past they say no, they don’t want to be politicians. I think the time has changed because eventually all of us are politicians.

“I say so because even in your families, mothers has become a great politicians in the house, they play politics with their children to be able to make sure that things work in the house. The father must play politics also to make sure that he is in control of the house. At the end of the day we are all politicians.

“However there is also time for politics whereby we would have to fight with somebody else in other to get the opportunity to become a leader.  Some of us has gone through it in the past and many are preparing for it. Occasionally we really need to ask ourselves about that special aspect that lead us into leadership and that is politicking.”

Earlier in his welcome address, the chairman of the occasion, Dr. Prof. Dominic Osaghae, Provost, College of Medical Sciences, Igbinedion University, Okada, who appreciated the organizer of the event for instituting the public lecture series commended the Association and pointed out that the lecture is in line to one of the cardinal objectives the constitution of MDCAN.

Delivery the lecture, Prof. Kingsley O. Akhigbe dedicated the topic to two remarkable individuals whose lives embody resilience, dedication, and the undying spirit of true leadership.

According to him, late Hon. Alfred Igbinosun Uwadiae, the political colossus of Iwehen Street and the Ogunwenyi community, was a man who with unwavering determination, connected deeply with the grassroots, becoming a formidable force against those who sought to buy power at all costs and Dr. Osahon Enabulele whose unwavering dedication and remarkable achievements bring immense pride to our community and inspire professionals globally to strive for excellence. Together, these two figures embody the profound impact of steadfast commitment and the enduring legacy of true leadership,” he said.

Dr. Akhigbe noted that the lecture is aims to explore these psychological phases in detail, offering insights into how we can better manage the emotional highs and lows that accompany election campaigns.

He said elections allow citizens to choose their leaders and representatives, hold elected officials accountable for their actions and policies, and confer legitimacy on the government and its leaders. “They also encourage political participation, fostering a sense of involvement in the democratic process. Elections also allow voters to influence the direction of public policy by choosing candidates and parties that align with their preferences and priorities.

“The forthcoming Edo State governorship is pivotal and will shape the future of our state and impact the lives of all the residents in the state,” he added.

Going further, Dr. Akhigbe advised that voters should remember that ‘politics is local’ and that their participation truly impacts the grassroots level. By staying connected to their communities, engaging in meaningful conversations, and critically evaluating the information they receive online, voters can make more informed decisions that reflect their localities’ diverse perspectives and priorities.

He said that the intersection of religious beliefs, political dynamics, corruption, and electoral violence in Nigeria can indeed have a significant impact on the mental health and wellbeing of its citizens.

He enumerated the factors that may affect Nigerians’ mental health which include Disillusionment and loss of trust, Fear and anxiety, Trauma and PTSD, Helplessness and powerlessness, Stigmatisation and social tensions and Coping mechanisms.

The professor of Psychiatry and Consultant Mental Health Physician said the journey of running for office is a profound one, filled with both triumphs and challenges. Regardless of whether you’ve achieved victory or faced defeat, your passion for public service is a commendable pursuit.

He therefore urged those aspire to contest any elective position to remember “Your commitment matters, success is multifaceted, personal growth, seeking support, a dynamic journey and public service endures.”

In conclusion, Dr. Akhigbe said on the throes of an election campaign, it’s easy to become narrowly focused on victory or defeat. “While the outcome is undoubtedly important, it’s equally vital to maintain perspective and think about the broader implications of your involvement in public service. He therefore urged those seeking for elective position to “Reconnect with your initial passion, Remember that politics is a means, not an end, Stay committed to your values, Collaborate with others, Learn from both victory and defeat and Celebrate the journey.

High point of the event was questions and answers session by participants while a representative of the Independent National Election Commission (INEC), Comrade Festus Festus Alenkhe, Chairman, Edo State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Dr. Osahon Enabulele, etc were given opportunity to make some contributions and recommendations.

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