MY MEMORIES OF PARTICIPATION IN THE PAN-AFRICAN PSYCHIATRIC ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE IN LAGOS IN NIGE

MY MEMORIES OF PARTICIPATION IN THE PAN-AFRICAN PSYCHIATRIC ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE IN LAGOS IN NIGE


07-23-2021, 10:17 PM


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Title: MY MEMORIES OF PARTICIPATION IN THE PAN-AFRICAN PSYCHIATRIC ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE IN LAGOS IN NIGE
Author: Mahmoud A. Suleiman
Date: 07-23-2021, 10:17 PM

10:17 PM July, 24 2021

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MY MEMORIES OF PARTICIPATION IN THE PAN-AFRICAN PSYCHIATRIC ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE IN LAGOS IN NIGERIA
ذكرياتي عن المشاركة في مؤتمر جمعية الطب النفسى لعموم أفريقيا في لاغوس في نيجيريا
BY MAHMOUD SULEIMAN
As they say nostalgia for the past and rumination of memories is an inherent characteristic of a HUMANBEING, especially with the growing age, GIVEN THE FACT THAT NOBODY IS GETTING YOUNGER! Against that important backdrop, this article comes and it narrates the events that accompanied my visit to the city of Lagos, the then the Capital of Nigeria, prior to the present Capital Abuja, to participate in the Pan- African Psychiatric Conference, where I participated in and presented a scientific paper on the Psychiatric education and Services in Sudan. In this article I will also try to recount some of the events that I experienced during my participation in the Pan-African Conference of Psychiatry, which was held by the African Union of Psychiatrists; the Presidency at the time was the Union of Psychiatrists in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
My Travel Troubles
THERE ARE Scrapes and Dilemmas at times suffered by the travellers without being put in the account and that seemed to have accompanied some of my journeys to participate in Medical Conferences in Foreign Countries. Some of them were funny and others were a cause for suffering and anxiety. As the saying goes traveling is a piece of a fire even if it were in the bedroom on the train, so to speak! It is not unusual that one get into unintended scrapes during some of his travels. Moreover, those events usually happen to someone without being taken into account. Thus I was not an exception in that term. The other issue is that one cannot predict in advance the occurrence of these scrapes or travel dumps! During those landfills are related to travel I will cite two stories, one in the continent of Africa and the other in the North American continent! This paradox comes through the vast differences between the two continents in a number of things you do not need to enter into the details of that.  But let's get into the core of the stories. This story happened during by round
Trip to Nigeria to participate in the Pan-African Psychiatric Association Conference and back to Khartoum via the Ethiopian Capital Addis Ababa at a time of reign of President And dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam the Ethiopian politician who was the most prominent officer of the Derg  the Communist military junta that governed Ethiopia from 1974 to 1987. The conference was in Lagos the then capital of Nigeria which is located in the centre of Nigeria, within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Abuja is a planned city, and was built mainly in the 1980s. It officially became Nigeria's capital on 12 December 1991, replacing Lagos, though the latter remains the country's most populous city. After participating in the Conference, I had to leave as soon as possible to Sudan otherwise my meagre budget would not be sufficient to continue paying the hotel room charge. I signed out of the hotel and went to the airport to board the Ethiopian Airline. The ground staff of the airline looked through my Sudanese passport and told me that I needed an entry visa to Ethiopia. I told them that I will be a transit passenger. They told me that there were no flights connecting my journey to Khartoum on that flight. Nevertheless, I insisted on travelling. The staff said that I needed signing a statement indicating that I bear the responsibility for entering Ethiopian land without a valid entry visa. I agreed and signed.  I boarded the Ethiopian Air flight that took me to Addis Ababa. On arrival, all the passengers allowed to enter the arrivals Lounge except me! Not only that but I waited for the worst to come. Every half an hour an Emigration Officer came repeating the same question as to whether I thought Ethiopia chaotic like Sudan ruled by Gaffer Mohammed Nimeiri! It is noteworthy to mention that at the time, the relationship between the military regimes in the two neighbouring African nations was not cordial; and the ruling regime in Ethiopia was Mengistu Haile Mariam who was claimed as a staunch Soviet agent in Africa and he did not tolerate spies, traitors, opponents, dissidents, or separatists https://english.aawsat.com//home/article/1844501/ghassan-cha...e-visitor-named-hope, while the President of Sudan was Marshall Jaafar Muhammad Nimeiri: President of Sudan 1969 - 1985 was the leader of a group of young army officers who seized power in Sudan on 25th May 1969 and went on to rule the North African country for the next 16 years until being himself overthrown in a military coup. Over the course of his increasingly authoritarian rule, Nimeiri earned the reputation of a political chameleon, capable of radical changes in policy designed to out-manoeuvre rivals and consolidate his power and who later began to dress up and wear the cloak of the Islamists, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/jaafar-nimeiri-president-...-1969-85-n6d3xdsklq9
And thus, Mengistu Haile Mariam and Jaafar Muhammad Nimeiri were two opponents. That scenario at the Addis Ababa Airport went on until the shift of the Emigration staff changed when a new Officer came and started interrogating me. However, this officer started by enquiring about the Khartoum neighbourhood I was from. I refrained from answering and instead I asked him as to whether he knew anyone of the neighbourhoods of Khartoum. He said Sajjanah and Daim. I said that I lived in both of them! His tone of voice softened and attitude had changed. All of a sudden he summoned the staff member at the desk of the Ethiopian Airline and spoke to him in Amharic the Ethiopian language, the government's official language and a widely used lingua franca. His tone of voice appeared to me as if he were giving orders. Soon afterwards, I was told to tow my suitcase and follow the Airline official to a van parked nearby. I was whisked to a hotel where I stayed for three nights for free. During those three days I enjoyed sightseeing the Ethiopian Capital and inhaled the fresh cool open air of the highlands of Addis Ababa until a flight to Khartoum became available for the departure of my flight! 
Colonel Richard Kirby Ridgeway -aka -Rick Ridgeway the mountaineer and adventurer, who during his career has also been an environmentalist, writer, filmmaker and businessman and he has climbed new routes and explored little-known regions on six continents has been quoted as saying: “The best journeys in life are those that answer questions you never thought to ask.” https://www.tourradar.com/days-to-come/inspirational-travel-quotes/https://www.tourradar.com/days-to-come/inspirational-travel-quotes/
Dr. Mahmoud A. Suleiman is an author, columnist and a blogger. His blog is http://thussudan.wordpress.com/http://thussudan.wordpress.com/