It has been over twenty one days since the zero carrier of Ebola virus landed in Lagos, Nigeria. The medical team must be commended for the cautious optimism they have created with their management and treatment of Ebola patients. The regrettable cost is the few dedicated members of their team that have lost their lives in the process. If there is any place a cautious preliminary success can be recorded, it should be nowhere else but in Africa.
The reason may be obvious; Africa has the largest population of Ebola patients with antibodies in their blood serums. This is very essential for research and treatment. Lagos State was the first to reject the colloidal-silver euphoria ordered because the medical scientific community was communicating with the politicians. In a way Nigerians were lucky that Mr. Sawyer came to Lagos, it could have been worse. He could have slipped into areas not as medically proficient.
Nigeria must build on this little success on a long road to treatment and cure for Ebola, Marburg, AIDs and other viruses that have defied the world, especially those endemic in our environment. The most essential base upon which anyone can develop and produce more antibodies in large quantities must start with those that have survived the virus. Once the virus antibody is studied and understood, it can be cloned for treatment and denatured for passive vaccine.
Africans must stop this begging mentality and take the bull by the horn. There are more people in Africa with Ebola antibodies in their blood serum than anywhere in the whole world. Yet on a daily basis some African countries are trying to blackmail other countries to give experimental serum and antibodies we already have in abundance from patients that have survived Ebola.
Let us be clear. When medical scientists are talking about blood serum and antibodies, they are referring to the blood serum of those that have survived Ebola and have antibodies as a result. Nowhere in the world do we have more survivals of Ebola virus than in Africa. These Africans that have these antibodies in their blood serums are the ones being studied by all scientists just as our African medical scientists that work closely with the patients in the endemic areas.
Those of us that find this complicated must understand that vaccines are used to stimulate and develop our natural antibodies. The simplest way to put it is by introducing a dead or treated live virus that has been rendered impotent to prevent damages after series of deactivations. The process is complicated but the result is the same. The body reacts to the dead virus as if it is the real live virus and get used to producing antibodies to destroy virus like impotent vaccine.
This is how immunizations for smallpox and all the diseases were developed for which we all took shots as babies. The time and the liabilities for companies assuming responsibilities for the development of these vaccines must not be undermined but in emergency cases under which other countries are working, African medical scientists must step up because they have more patients with the blood serum and antibodies they can use, than others around the world.
Another point we must take into consideration as lay people, is the changing colors (mutation) of these viruses to evade treatment like those cockroaches that now feed on insecticide that is supposed to kill them. The best example is the influenza virus that may be contained by one of the over the counter medicine in one season only to remain stubborn to the same drug the following season.
It takes a great deal of trials in the laboratories, expenses and liabilities to finally produce anti bodies acceptable and reliable. The insurance companies are reluctant to get involved fearing law suits from the public that may bankrupt them. Government is usually the insurer of last resort. If we take all these into consideration, we may understand why the President of United States cannot force private or government research body to give experimental doses out.
This readymade treatment mentality is the same Africans exhibited in other fields. It was public knowledge that the American doctor that survived Ebola was given the blood serum of one of his patients that had survived Ebola. It is true that other antibodies developed by companies in the United States and Canada ZMapp were given. At this experimental stage, all of them might have worked and one may be more effective than the others.
Pressure must be put on the politicians to use some of the funds they are ready to spend on readymade “solutions”; on survivors of these deadly diseases and others. We cannot wait for Marburg virus and other exotic diseases to creep up on us again. It will not be the first time, the same strategy was used to treat people with SARS and the familiar Lassa fever, another viral hemorrhagic fever, like Ebola.
While we cannot blame loved ones that are desperate for the treatment of those that are sick, we must try everything we can to better the success rate in other countries. Some of the patients that were taken home to Europe died while those Nigerians receiving treatment in Lagos survived. There is no doubt that support system for the organs are critical, like dialysis machines keep the kidney’s functions, so is strengthening the immune system with good food.
We must not wait until we are sick to eat well. Don’t disturb bacteria flora colony, otherwise they are unable to check each other's growth. Other socioeconomic or psychological factors also weaken the immune system needed to fight opportunistic infections once attacked by a virus such as Ebola. When we are befallen by catastrophe, little tiny ants start climbing all over us. Those are the opportunistic infections that Doctors warn worsen the case of Ebola patients.
Colloidal Silver and Nano Silver have become the silver bullets against Ebola recently including claim of the discovery by a Nigerian. It was pleasant news compared to all the bad information we get all the time. Before we say gbosa, Nigerian Government placed order for Nano Silver from abroad. For some reasons, these African leaders think our deliverance can only come from foreign contracts, even when we have the same natural “solutions” for Ebola at home.
When Colloidal Silver and Nano-Silver were hailed as cure it sounded like compound from space to many of us. We did not even relate it to the silver in our backyard but our scientists know more than us and it is surprising that either nobody asked for their input or they were side-lined completely for another “discovery” by Christopher Columbus. This is a case of selling silver, gold and diamond for mirrors or catching fresh fish in our seas and selling it as can-tin-fish back to us.
Since ancient times, the world took advantage of Silver, diamond and gold biocompatibility for use in medicine, particularly in dentistry and for arthritis. Recently they have also claimed roles in the treatment of infectious diseases, for X-ray and arthritis at nano-scale technology.
None of these compounds is in short supply in Africa. Actually, we have them more than other continents. Traces of silver in eye drops are probably the most common use around the world. Silver nitrate was used for many years as drops in newborns' eyes to prevent blindness caused by gonorrhea, and is also used in lotions for burn victims.
Colloidal or Nano Silver gained more popularity by taking advantage of Center for Disease Control warnings regarding some bacterial infections known as super-bugs and parasitic infections that became resistant to drugs. Exploration for alternatives sent scientists back to ancient remedy of colloidal Silver which gained mixed results. Others went further and found that these silver compounds could also be effective against viruses such as Ebola and AIDS.
In the case of Nigeria, we have a PhD Zoologist as President! Some of these research scientists are of course Africans in our teaching hospitals. It is a disservice to ignore all their hard work in the African laboratories and jump to conclusion that a definite cure for Ebola has been found outside. Most chemists in African countries do prepare these so called “silver” bullets. But our Government did not ask or ignored their advice in order to pursue foreign contract as usual.
What evidence do we have that colloidal silver, silver sulfadiazine and silver nitrate work? Colloidal silver is applied to skin for acne, burns, eye infections, fungal infections, throat infections, and Staphylococcus infections. Colloidal silver if given may kill certain germs by binding to and destroying proteins and some claim by acting as magnet inside the cell’s RNA?
If that is the case, others wondered what damage the silver compounds can do to normal human cells, not just to lower animals and insects.
Colloidal silver, a mineral were once available as over-the-counter products. Though in 1997, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ruled that colloidal silver drug products were not considered safe or effective, more scientist and natural healers have come out hailing its effectiveness in treating Lyme disease, more bacteria and virus infections. The same way Prof. Iwu has claimed that bitter cola-nuts is effective against Ebola.
Many of us react differently to different drugs. Some people that cannot get relief from normal medication may search for untraditional means to cure their ailments. This is why Colloidal or Nano Silver is used to treat infections due to yeast; bacteria as tuberculosis, Lyme disease, bubonic plague, pneumonia, leprosy, gonorrhea, syphilis, scarlet fever, stomach ulcers, cholera plus parasites as ringworm, malaria and viruses as HIV/AIDS, pneumonia, herpes, shingles, wart.
Some people would go further and use silver compounds for just about anything when they feel other medications have failed, including treatment of Ebola, cancer, emphysema, inflammation of the bladder, skin conditions, bronchitis, prostate, colon, nose, stomach, tonsils, appendix and sinuses. Or diabetes, arthritis, lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, leukemia, hay fever and other allergies, trench foot, and gum disease. It does not mean Silver is a bullet for each of these!
Colloidal silver is a mineral. Despite promoters’ claims, silver has no known function in the body and it is not an essential mineral supplement. It is not for use in humans but good as insecticide. Use can lead to an irreversible bluish skin discoloration in light skin folks that may first appear in the gums. It can also stimulate melanin production in skin, and areas exposed to the sun will become gradually discolored.
This condition is called Argyria in some humans, which occur in people who eat or breathe in silver compounds taken as medication in grams of small doses over several months or over a long period of time. The silver in colloidal silver products gets deposited in vital organs such as the skin, liver, spleen, kidney, muscle, and brain.
“Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Colloidal silver is not safe when taken by mouth, applied to the skin or injected intravenously. Increased silver levels in pregnant women have been linked to abnormal development of the ear, face, and neck in their babies. Colloidal silver supplements can also lead to silver accumulation in the body an irreversible bluish skin discoloration known as argyria. Silver can also be deposited in vital organs, where it does serious damage.”
Abia State is not in commotion for now. But the heat of the 2015 elections in the state may be assuming an excruciating direction owing to interests, not of this present government, but of outsiders and antagonistic politicians.
We Abia people must do everything within our powers to mature our minds, our habits and words, so that we do not plunge the state into a somewhat Iraq, Afghanistan and other warring places or be deceived into actions of ruinous tendencies.
Rioting and wars are never the best ways to settle issues in a democracy. This is why everywhere in the world people are in quest for a democratic government. Countries need democracy because we all need peace in our homes, places of work and in the entire world.
The peace we want to see in the world must begin with each of us in Abia State, before the enlarged villages and towns and state we respectively come from. Peace is not elusive; it is meant for us to find it, accept it and take it to anywhere we want, but especially around Abia State.
Peace and tranquility in our state is essential for posterity. Some perceived quarters are not better than the other, likewise those perceived as bad are not worst than the other. This is life and we must accept the world of peace than a world of tumultuous happenings.
Peace is the primary objective of any government in the world and we have been working in that line; we want peace and we must get enough of it instead of the redundant heating up of Abia State by certain interests.
There are many hazards and frustrations in the country already that we do not need more to envelope us. There is an end to everything and that end will not come from the blues, it is meant to come from us. In a society there is bound to be friction and divergent views to things, but like the Americans would always say, ‘what unites us is greater than what divides us’.
This is the spirit all Abia people and residents alike should imbibe and resonate with the mindset that our state is greater than any individual or group and that we have no other state than Abia State to call ours.
Even if the state is divided today according to the constitution, those of us that will find ourselves elsewhere will continue to be part and parcel of the Igbo project, of which Abia State is part of that project.
Much more loudly than we had expected, wars and riots bring endless ruins than they bring the peace the partakers had thought they will bring. It is time we Abia people made a life changing features that will benefit our state instead of unsheathing the swords and spears that clearly can damage our collective aspirations.
2015 is a period the youth have to tell our fathers that there is hope for the future by conducting themselves and not wallowing in acts of violence and petty crimes that do not lead any given people to anywhere in the world. 2015 is a time the youth have to be campaigning for peace and asking anybody they come in contact with if they want peace. Peace and tranquility can never occupy the negative side of history. We do not need to kill ourselves, because of the 2015 elections before we can begin to speak of peace and be peaceful ourselves.
Our people should see peace as something internal and not external; we cannot get it from a far land than within us no matter the standards, certainties and uncertainties and institutions we have set for our individual selves.
Peace is something that has to do with fact not fiction. It is essential that we always remembered that line of thought that always tells us that we can make peace; we can live peacefully and see our state through the soul of our children and ourselves than seeing it through the lens of over-zealousness, bigotry, division, hatred, over ambition and what have you. Peace and tranquility are the ultimate safety that we need for a peaceful transition in 2015.
Nkwachukwu is an Aba-based civil engineer
Ebola pandemic has silver lining. Renew general cleanliness learned in primary school (Imototo). We are not helpless, daily cleaning and maintenance has eluded us for a long time since health inspectors have been decommissioned. Those that are too young to remember may ask their parents. Gutters on the streets and inside our homes were inspected to make sure there was no breeding stagnant water for mosquitoes. Actually, it prevented other bacteria and parasites.
Nigerians can make business out of anything, which is why it is surprising that the Country is not the richest in the world. All of a sudden because of Ebola fake and borderline effective products sprung up. People were even reluctant to shake hands and if they do, would wash their hands immediately. Many types of designer water came out apart from Sapele water, prayer and holy water that are different but good for Holy Ghost. We need more than prayers right now.
This sudden consciousness is not amongst the people on the streets alone. European, American and African hospitals knew the rate of reinfection during patients stay was too high to be proud of and totally unacceptable. Studies indicated that simple hand washing as often as possible in hospitals cut down dramatically the rate of patients’ reinfections. That is why you find in most reputable hospitals around the world, sanitizers on all walls within reasonable distance.
Apart from generators, our hospitals spend good money out of their budget buying portable water, even for operations. It is so disgraceful, many cannot mention it in any civil gathering. When some physicians and nurses say it, some of us out of shame deny it and contradict them as if they are lying. What is there to lie about since that is the condition they have to work in?
Clean water has become a luxury and most people in Africa, including the rich, have no access to running water in their homes. Indeed, young men and women, having their own children claim they cannot remember anytime their Country had running water. This is sad because of the number of diseases we can prevent, or do not have to deal with, like Ebola, influenza, river blindness and environmental poisoning like lead, mercury, arsenic and many more.
The point here is that we cannot overemphasize the need for safe water in our environment. The rich only solve half of the problem and may be even getting into more trouble with their boreholes at the back of the house and suck-away in the front of the house. Too close for comfort and contamination. The basis of health must include clean drinking water and enough to wash and clean in the house. Frequent washing of hands in this case is not compulsive habit.
How we exchange BODILY FLIUD? Think we already know when and how to WASH OUR HANDS. •Before, during, and after preparing food. More so at Mama-put-E and restaurants •Before and after eating food •Before and after caring for someone who is sick •Before and after treating a cut or wound •After using the toilet wash both hands •After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet •After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing into your arm or napkin •After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste even with gloves •After touching garbage For more see CDC guidelines
These are simple habits we were taught in primary schools while growing up. We prioritize money for everything we cannot maintain but very little for what we can easily do ourselves. Nobody claims that sometimes politicians and administrators are not overwhelmed, but they have to do much more than what steal money for foreign countries that take care of their people and sanitize the environment. Sanitation day is a step in the right direction.
It is even more important about the food we eat. Africans generally like well-cooked or well-done food. Others eat rare or uncooked fish or meat. One of our young men got sick with unspecified illness and his kidney almost failed. He had to go on dialysis for a while before he finally recovered. Cutting a long story short, he had a habit of eating sushi, Japanese delicacy of uncooked fish and rice dipped in green paper, with his friends.
Chinekeme, see me see trouble. The mum and dad eat bokoto, edo, saki, sawa, panla, orisirisi in edikaiekong with pounded yam or suya. But these young people are grownups, many with their own money. They claimed their parents eat worse food than them as (bush meat) wild animals without knowing source of preparation. It is true that some undomesticated animals do carry exotic diseases. They have to be carefully avoided or make sure, we cook them “dead” again.
Many of us do not eat dogs as some eat lokili (bigger dog) but hate okete (bush rat), others hate pig a delicacy for many. Monkeys and fruit bats in thick forests carry Ebola virus, but few people dare eat. Situations change in the face of hunger, wild meats could be deadly. Other religious folks eat halal or kosher meat. Few that dislikes pig love ham, sausage and bacon only on a fly!
Better to be saved than be sorry or dead. Chickens carry some deadly bacteria, without health and farm inspectors many businesses would rather sell them to unsuspecting consumers than destroy them. They are not covered by private or government insurance and they have to make a profit and pay their employee. Consumers are the last destination of these foods. So what you do with your food depends on you. So is birds’ avian flu virus. Restaurant hopping is a new story.
Let us hope we learn from this Ebola pandemic especially in African countries. Prevention is always better and cheaper than cure, unless we practice what we preach, another disaster may be around the corner.
Ebola has stopped foreign voyages that impede our local discoveries. If by misfortune, omission or commission looters fall sick in Africa, dying or in comma; you could have bet your house that arrangement was completed for them to catch their last breath at Queen’s or King’s hospital in the western world. Ebola has denied them place of death proudly displaced on their obituaries.
Africans are mad. Oh they are mad that Americans know about a cure for a disease that did not manifest in their cold environment but bred in the warm environment of the African countries and kept the a few cures for their own. Until we develop a unique way of learning what will enable our scientists to come up with discoveries that improve the lives of common man, we may never find a cure for Ebola, other viruses, bacteria and parasitic illness in our environment.
If no be me na who God go save first!
Yes, the death of a top Sierra Leone’s virologist from treating folks’ Ebola was very hard to take. When others find miracle cures in their environment and laboratory, we want it shared with us before they give to their people. But we spend our money in hedonic celebrations of personal stolen wealth, hope for churches and mosques miracles. Yet, helpless as Boko Haram persecute our kaferi, agnostics and unbelievers that could pursue and concentrate their efforts in turning myths into science, witch craft into discovery and star wars into reality like western continents.
When we talk about giving due respect to the dead, we mean the evil that men do lives after them especially those whose thugs, militias and religious fanatics bombed hundreds of people as if they were ants and insects deserving insecticides. Not even cats and dogs body parts should be blown helter skater across the street and left uncared for like Ebola bodies. The worst of it is that their deaths are reminder of ongoing carnage and how susceptible we are.
As humans we give due respect to the dead, but not to those whose policies and individual greed killed babies, children and mothers suffering from preventable diseases that could not be taken care of in clinics and health centers by nurses, community health officers (physician assistants) and primary care doctors. The cost of taking care of one untreatable dying politician can provide for hundreds of these patients and prevent or cure Ebola in Africa since 1976.
Africa has not moved or joined even the rich Asian Tigers poorer than us before independence. It is a noble gesture to honor Africans internationally for innovations, discoveries if they uplift their countries from grass to grace and from poverty to riches. No matter how well intentioned the economic theory in terms of structural adjustment, of so called emerging markets, if the lives of the average African is still in the ditch or slums and only a few can afford medical tourism while dying, local initiatives and discovery of cures will be slow.
Now their bodies would be rejected for fear of Ebola. Before the young African generation bark at us, the fault here is squarely put on the back of our award and praise seekers for validation. Not on those that are rightly working on their own interest and would cure their Ebola patients before ours. Otherwise, our looters would be found dead only in foreign hospitals so that their children, on their only and last visit for burial can display Queen Hospital on obituary in Nigeria.
Some of the big tasks African independent fighters had to prioritize were education, primary healthcare, food and shelter. Included in the healthcare was prevention and cure of diseases so that our population can live fully. At no point could our pioneer leaders envisage the type of selfish vagabonds that lead us today. They are so ignorant; they even bite their own fingers and forgot the generosity of the past leaders that gave free education and brought them to power.
How many awards did Nkrumah and Lumumba get from foreign countries? Yet by any objective calculation of accomplishments, the two remain the greatest Africans that suffered humiliation from the indirect hands of African oppressors, unbowed. People forget that Mugabe got praises and many awards while courted by western countries. As they procrastinate on promises to hand over people's land to their rightful owners, Mugabe became impatient with the timetable.
Needless to say, Mugabe became pariah but could not be discarded as Nkrumah and Lumumba. All the awards, praises and celebrations stopped while economic sanctions reduced his Country to super inflated Zimbabwe dollars. Before that it was Mwalimu Nyerere’s Ujama that was castrated in Tanzania for trying to be economically independent. That is a lesson about awards.
The children of Adedibu, Arekunsola, Umaru Dikko and other miscreants must hear us loud and clear, that their dead parents stole Ebola cure while stealing us blind to provide for them as we toiled. Take a good look at those paying them condolence visits; you will see the birds of the same feathers that became our President at one point or the other. If these are the type of people we could muster as leaders, it is an indication of how low we have degenerated morally.
If there is a place called heaven Dora Akunyili would refuse to be associated with the vagabonds even in death. The way she was going, Ebola cure could have been encouraged. Going downhill a long time ago, Senate forgave looters in their midst like Okadigbo and fraud in the House like Buhari and Madam Etteh as if it was their own money. The curses of Ebola dead, of the weak and old that should have been cared for, with the money they stole should be on their heads.
Leaders that aggrandize common thugs deserve the worst punishment the people in revolt can administer for turning the richest continent full of milk and honey into that of Ebola and sour grapes.
What is the connection between foul corps of looters, Ebola and Boko Haram? Chasing calamity we could have prevented. We always have heated discussions about how our African professors training medical students have failed us since our medical schools rated below world standard. We glorify international hospitals that rejected rich and famous corpses aggrandized back home, to vilify standard that could have prevented Ebola or anticipated Boko Haram daily dead bodies.
United States have imported Ebola virus afflicting their own citizens to save only two valued lives. Africans cannot expect U.S to fly them in too. We do not have to be a Tola of all trade and master of nothing. We have diseases in our environment we failed to specialize or train for ages.
It is better to explore what we already have and might have worked for a few than to sit on our hands waiting for miracle from heavens or western countries. The concept is a step in the right direction. U.S. Center for Disease control is working on vaccine. A serum that is now cloned for treatment is based on some plants, probably from Africa. Of course we’ll see false starts. Efforts on Ebola cure by Pro. Maurice Iwu, an ethnophamacology with bitter cola-nuts, was a sham.
Each of the African countries is now barring one another from crossing through porous borders into territories as if border cousins care. Mobilize public health information by health aides and educated traditional workers; integrate it with diseases as AIDS infectious only through bodily fluid and bodies must be abandoned on the streets: call local councils. Opportunist, preachers, or witch doctors commercializing it, must be warned that aberration will be severely dealt with.
Since 1976, Ebola was noted or discovered in East Africa. As soon as world organizations came and helped us contain it, African politicians went to sleep and continued wasting our resources on prestigious projects and wars that have no meaning to the increasing poor. Instead created a fertile ground for recruitment by militias like Boko Haram, some called the brother of al Qaeda, resulting in preventable deaths, wounded and broken hearts. If it is not Boko Haram, it is Ebola.
Before we condemn everyone, we must give due respect to African medical pioneers that killed small pox, saw Ebola, Cholera, Onchocerciasis, other viruses, bacteria and parasitic diseases. Instead of arguing about world and international standards, Africans like Adeniyi Jones, Olikoye Kuti and Adeoye Lambo, others too many to mention argued for standard that could have made us experts at least in our endemic area. They did not call it local standard but it was obvious.
Our problem is not banning dead bodies of Ebola we know but hug with open arms or kiss dead bodies of plunderers we know little about since we are more interested in aggrandizement even in death and replication of standards that are unsustainable. No matter the cost, when we acquire prestigious device, we buy and discard, never use and maintain. Such culture of neglect cannot support international standard we yearn so much. Even little Cuba trains good doctors.
Our medical students and graduates cannot compete with international medical students that are trained for their local diseases. Today acupuncture is internationally accepted and Chinese medical professors are invited worldwide to train European and American medical students. Indeed, it would be strange to graduate from Chinese Medical schools without acupuncture. But it is acceptable for our students to graduate without any training in traditional medicine.
Oh, they always pay lip service to inclusion of traditional medicine in the curriculum of schools but the conservative British trained physicians and teachers would not let it stand. At the same time, some of them are children of Babalawo that personalize their knowledge, sell the father’s combination of herbs to their patients selfishly without publishing them in medical journals for others to learn and repeat in separate laboratories. Recall snow as example in physics in Africa.
There are some academic looters looking for grants. Prof. Isaiah Ibeh, Dean of Basic Medical Sciences University of Benin, also claimed to have found AIDS cure until he was denounced by his colleagues. Gen. Malu even vouched for Doctor Abalaka's treatment of soldiers. So was Kofi Kankam, Sefwi-Boako Herbalist, in Western Ghana. All claims for AIDS cure so far are elusive.
There are so many traditional remedies that the schools of pharmacies should have studied for their efficacy and regulated by dosage while eliminating impurities in their laboratories. There is nothing about Bunsen burner or Petri dish that cannot be locally replicated or even improved on. Take dialysis machine for example, it has changed so much over the years that if you trained ten years ago, one would have to go back to school again. It’s enough time for local replication.
If Africans cannot boast of international standard, we can be known as world experts in tropical diseases. So many African students trained in Europe and American universities are specialists in their fields. Most of the old universities teaching hospitals in Nigeria have first class and fully equipped specialist wards at the top of their hospitals that many of the looter’s corps sent back home, refused to patronize. That is after spending so much on equipment and specialists.
Africans always complain about the lack of equipment and international standard laboratories in our schools. As long as we want their standard, we will never be well equipped. Africa has the biggest laboratory in the world for field study in infectious diseases. This is an advantage we refuse to take into account, but widely used by world scientists during their summer vacations to update and learn more about infectious disease. Ours learn standard to abscond abroad.
We can seek cooperation from outside just as outsiders can seek our cooperation in solving endemic problem but relying on outsiders to develop cure for our tropical diseases that we are more familiar with, is no different from children begging others for food on European and American television. After these years, Nigeria should be able to demonstrate some discoveries.
This is not the time for Africans to start feeling sorry for themselves waiting for help. They must push politicians into action for this outbreak and future one, so that they do not react after the fact. They must be proactive and willing to show diligence.
What is wrong with Islam? Lest anyone think the question meaningless or superfluous, this piece, without prejudice to any one religious institution or belief, comes at a time when the eyes of the world is currently on the religion and most importantly the millions who profess the faith. The apparent question put forward above may not only sound cynical for some but also appear appalling for others, especially for those who see Islam as an all embodying religion worthy of emulation. There is no doubt that Islam is a religion of peace and a total way of life. Each time the question “what is Islam?” is posed to adherents of the faith, the first response thrown at one, without mincing words, is that Islam is a religion of peace. Certainly, when one looks deeply into the Holy Qur’an and the Hadith of the Prophet, a number of significant verses and narrations highlight the very essence of peace which Islam preaches. For example, Qur’an 60 verses 8 and 9; 17 verses 53 and 54; 21 verses 107 to 109 among others respectively are some of the retinue of verses which serve as pointers of peace and peaceful conduct in Islam. If peace therefore, is one of the resounding virtues of this historic religion, what then could be wrong with Islam?
From the outset of Islam, stories of how the founder of the faith lived a life that today millions look up to for emulation continue to be told. Even in time of great persecution, the Prophet Muhammed was said to have treated his adversaries with love and affection such that many of them would eventually embrace Islam simply because of this singular moral character and virtue. The prophet would only act in defence of the new faith and was known to treat those who didn’t accept Islam with compassion. There was no compulsion or force to accept Islam and so those of other faith did not have to worry about any form of religious persecution and as such lived side by side with new Muslim converts in peace and tranquillity, so long they acted within the ambit of the law. One would have thought this form of religious tolerance would continue to stand the test of time in our contemporary time but evidently, this is not so. What then could be wrong with Islam?
It was that great philosopher and thinker, Karl Marx who was once famously quoted to have tagged religion as the opium of the people. Marx’s objective yet scientific perspective to religion is legendary and believed perhaps to be one of the most famous and critical quotes on religion used by atheist and non-atheist alike. Even as most who quote the word do not understand the underlying message, it is pertinent to state that Marx had a firm grasp of what religion was and its effects on people, hence such unpretentious quote. Marx was of the notion that religion is an expression of material realities and economic injustice and as such serves as a veritable platform by oppressors to make people feel less worried about the problems they encounter as a result of being poor or exploited. Despite the brief analysis of Marx’s view on religion above, one fact that is certain is that they are much more intricate than the way many assume it to be. What then could be wrong with Islam?
The idea of religion is firmly entrenched in our private conversation with whatever being we worship and just as Marx wrote: “the religious world is but a reflex of the real world”, so must it be seen as such. Anything beyond this is pure hypocrisy. Religion is a system which encapsulates the very essence of our lives. As human, we have been created to see ourselves not as the finisher of our destiny and so must necessarily look up to a higher or super being either for guidance, protection or any form of humanly needs. Every human at some point is bound to face one challenge or the other and so when the chips are down, it is the faith one professes through religion that brings one closer to his being to help surmount the challenge. It is here those who Marx identify as ‘oppressors’ quickly come in to exploit the situation. They form themselves into bands of religious groups and institutions and even gang-up with the state to form religious doctrines, ideologies, make new laws and edicts so as to bring the mass of the poor under their grip. This characteristic phenomenon for years had for long been in practice but assumed a frightening dimension recently where individuals or groups of people who claim to know God more than even the Pope assume the role of deciding what kind of religion one must practice through wrongful interpretation of God’s laws and arrogate so much powers to themselves for the sole purpose of meting out unfair, unjust and stiff punishments to erring ones. This particular experience is not only common in specific parts of the world but has taken a startling turn also in most parts of Muslim Africa. What then could be wrong with Islam?
If we have to go by the Quranic injunctions and Hadith which highlights issues pertaining to perfection of the faith, one would not but agree that Islam is a complete religion and a way of life bound by impartial laws, just like every religion, which its followers must adhere strictly to. It has however been discovered that a few elements, in order to satisfy their whims, lend new variations into these original and ‘perfected’ laws, using such indiscriminately, unjustly and unfairly in the most preposterous manner unbecoming of God’s natural laws to commit vice against the basic rights of man. Just as the state has imbibed this unholy attitude so are a number of its followers. Today in this part of the world, many see religion as a private property bequeathed on them by God and in essence, anyone who chooses to toe the other path is either ostracised, dehumanised or is made to face precarious situations. Some even lose their life in the process. What then could be wrong with Islam?
This particular scenario has become a common feature in some parts of the Muslim world and most especially in Nigeria where religious tolerance is fast waning. There are abounding examples to support the above presumption. The case of Mubarak Bala, a Chemical Engineer is quite interesting here. Bala not too long ago renounced Islam preferring to take to atheism. His action was greeted with a rude shock by Bala’s family members who thought he was mentally unstable and so forced him to a mental hospital. It would take the swift intervention of his online friends to get him out of the quagmire. Despite his release, Bala lives in hiding after receiving death threats. In Uganda, the case of a 17-year old girl beaten to death by her father sometime in April simply because she converted to Christianity is to say the least shocking while in Ibadan, Oyo State, 19-year old Kaosara Isiaka was knifed to death in a church for the same reason. Her father has been linked to the murder. As if that was not enough, in the same Uganda, one Wenene Nuru, a 23-year old lady was hospitalised after her Sheikh father tried to kill her for becoming a Christian. Not too long ago, the world was inundated with the shocking story of one Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman born to a Muslim father but raised by her Christian mother, who married a Christian man from South Sudan. Meriam’s family, to save themselves any embarrassment, quickly reported her to the authorities who in turn charged her for apostasy. The Islamic court in Khartoum was quick to sentence her to death by hanging and would only take an international outcry for her to regain freedom from the ordeal. In all of these, what then could be wrong with Islam?
There are hundreds of likely cases as the above which are not reported yet occur on a daily basis and within our respective societies. A writer once opined that leaving Islam is like passing a death sentence on oneself. This opinion cannot be far from the truth if the examples highlighted above are anything to go by. Islam is a religion of peace and so takes peaceful coexistence and religious tolerance, irrespective of faith, seriously. The fact that one of the Quranic verses openly identifies no compulsion in religion should have been an ample evidence for those who only seek to make mockery of Islam. Interestingly, there is no doubt in the mind of this writer and among millions of Muslims around the world that the Boko Haram sect which claims to be fighting for Islam are doing so for the most wrongful reasons. Islam represents peace and tolerance and therefore, anything contrary to those is pure extremism and extremism has no place in the belief system of the Muslims. What then could be wrong with Islam?
From all indications, it is best to aver that Islam is not only a religion of peace and tolerance but one that demands total submission to the will of God; therefore the simple answer that for the title of this piece is that there is simply nothing wrong with Islam. The reason for this apt answer is not far-fetched. Religion today is being manipulated by a segment of the populace not only to prevent worshippers from having a grasp of the many personal challenges they face but also confuse them into understanding how to solve them. In the end, most resolve to place their faith and fate on religious opportunists who further compound the problem of the people. Our total lack of understanding of what religion truly entails is why some feel others must practice their religion with force without which they are subjected to inhumanly treatments. The case of Meriam, Bala and many others across the world who face one form of humiliation or the other because of their choice of faith and belief despite the principles of Islam frowning against coercing one to accept Islam does not only paint Islam in the wrong light but causes disaffection and hate among an already religiously polarised state. It is an act that does not augur well for our collective existence. As the month of Ramadan ends, we must begin to have a change of heart before our condition is changed. There is however simply nothing wrong with Islam, its followers are!
The attempt to snuff life out of one of Nigeria’s most revered former Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari, in a fiendish operation which would have passed for a routine Boko Haram attack if their hand had performed their enterprise, would have thrown Nigeria in turmoil of unimaginable proportions as President Jonathan submitted days ago. The failed “assassination attempt,” as Buhari tagged it, may not be unconnected with the grand plot to silence the opposition. This is coming on the heels of the impeachment of Murtala Nyako of Adamawa state and the tightening of impeachment noose around Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa state. Clearly, the shades of the varying scope of operation to hunt down those who pose a threat to the present government as enshrined in the alleged sniper’s list former President Olusegun Obasanjo divulged in his missive is being made manifest. Surely, the mere knowledge of an alleged sniper’s list should be instructive to the opposition party leaders. Impeaching opposition Governors one after the other, it now appears, is part of the grand scheme.
To underscore the gruesome motive of the perpetrators, eyewitness accounts said the bomb-laden car single-mindedly targeted the vehicle conveying the APC chieftain to Daura, his ancestral home from Kaduna. It hit target but the bulletproof construction of the SUV ensured the General escaped death by the whiskers. To the ‘terrorists’, they came agonisingly close.
How can we forget retired General Muhammadu Mamman Shuwa? In November 2012, the civil war veteran was killed in cold blood by unknown gunmen in his Maiduguri home yards away from soldiers idling away in enforcement of law and order. Boko Haram, the usual suspects were fingered. Had Buhari suffered a similar fate, the perpetrators would use the sect to divert attention from the perpetrators.
The PDP have sold a dummy to Nigerians for too long that the sponsors of terror were members of the opposition, All Progressive Congress (APC), but this attack have vindicated the much maligned progressives. Buhari has openly challenged those who accuse him of religious fundamentalism to come out and show proof. No one till this day has any clue.
For irredentists, who think the attack on Buhari's life was stage-managed, let them continue to stew in their bitterness and wallow in their chutzpah. Same people who peddle such falsehood of a self-masterminded attack won't roam within a metre radius of a spot of a bomb scare. Any reasonable Nigerian will acknowledge the risk in masterminding such an attack as the probability that it could spiral out of control is higher than its success.
The political elite in the ruling party must truly be frightened by Buhari's growing popularity ahead of the 2015 elections even though the media coverage on the General is frequently negative with unfounded and unsubstantiated allegations. It has rather won him more support from discerning Nigerians who cannot be misinformed or misled by needless propaganda. For his loyalists across the country, they can boldly say of him, "All I need from Buhari is his word, I can take it to the bank." Such is the cult-like following that Gen. Buhari wields that he need not rent a crowd, or share rice to garner support.
This is because of his glowing and incorruptible antecedents. Very few people in this country will occupy the number one position to live a modest and Spartan life afterwards like him. He occupied lofty positions like the Governor of the defunct North-Eastern State of Nigeria, Head of State, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources and Chairman of NNPC, Chairman of Petroleum (Special) Trust Fund (PTF). He could easily be one of Nigeria's wealthiest politicians with oil blocs to boot because he birthed and supervised the establishment of our existing refineries. Today, we import 70% of the fuel we use because those after him have literally crippled the refineries. He could have retired into stupendous opulence like the Danjumas, Obasanjos, and Abachas of this world. But Buhari bucked the trend and chose the honourable path.
His detractors and traducers are uncomfortable with him around the political scene. Maybe he scares them with his incorruptible, uncompromising, sober, painstaking personae he exudes; his intolerance of impropriety - a major fault of the privileged political elite – scares them. He is everything they are not.
There have been various attempts to erode the electoral value of a man who has validated his cast iron reputation for accountability and transparency coming out unscathed from probes regarding his tenure as Chairman of PTF. And as Buhari’s staunch loyalist in Mallam Nasir el-Rufai posited that his antagonists "have changed our politics into that of ethnicity and religion to divert attention from their incompetence, lack of capacity and looting of the treasury… PDP is scared of Buhari’s integrity and his track record of doing the right thing and ensuring that people are brought to justice when they break the law. They are afraid of that day when he will become President."
With the failed attempt to take General Buhari's life, the burgeoning army of opposition against the General of impeccable integrity would now sit back, maybe have a rethink, recall their foot soldiers masked in the toga of Jihadists cutting short the lives of “infidels” they see as living corpses.
In the 2011 presidential elections, the man they hate to see even in their dreams, got over 12 million votes with a party that was formed barely 10 months to the election without the support structure and votes a state Governor or even a Local Government chairman would have brought into the party. He had no war chest or federal might to manipulate voters and electoral officers, a trick the PDP has perfected over the years. But Buhari’s enormous star power earned him a couple of senators and a state governor after the elections. It won’t take a political scientist, a Nostradamus or some prophetic unction to work the numbers in votes the General will pull in 2015 with the 15 Governors in the APC fold!
Those who plotted the dastardly act are enemies of Nigeria, they neither seek its prosperity nor tranquility but thrive and profit from the chaos, bloodshed and colossal sleaze. They are afraid of the intimidating profile of the former Head of State and his acolytes in the opposition party.
Whoever wanted Buhari dead has made a super hero of him. Of all the reasons why Buhari was wanted dead, the 2015 general elections keep popping out of every possibility and conspiracy theory. Inadvertently, they only succeeded in raising his popularity meter. With the overwhelming outpouring of emotion and support, the retired General has reaffirmed his status as a political heavyweight and gladiator who remains a top contender for next year’s general elections.
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Did women complain about men’s Viagra? Hell no, they accept it. So men should not complain about some ladies’ personal assistants. The daughter of a famous politician once claimed men are useless to her because most of them are weak before the age of thirty; even then, cannot fully satisfy her like her vibrators. The way some ladies behave, it must not catch on. Since men cannot live without women from cradle to grave, otherwise they may become extinct.
Why some ladies prefer fresh sperm donated to a vibrator to get pregnant baffles most of us. If the scientists are right, the X chromosomes existed long before the Y chromosomes while the world population of plants and animals increased. Women live longer than men and more boys die younger than girls because they love risky behavior like wars, dangerous sports and games.
Men are not weak. The Zulu king with voracious sexual appetite cannot compete with vibrators, not to talk about mere mortals struggling to satisfy one or two girlfriends helping out madam on a pedestal, out of the goodness of their hearts. As if madam needs their help. If she does or need any, drivers and house boys are willing to pitch in while Oga is out with girlfriends.
If what ladies really want is a man with the voracious sexual prowess like the Zulu king, they must say so. The glorification of vibrators amongst women, and within the knowledge of men is very insulting. This is why many men have gone back to school to learn how else to please their women. There are experts, professors and therapists lecturing on how to improve and reinvent sexual pleasure. Instead of vibrators, men must learn the miracle of thumb and index fingers.
We must admit the empirical facts that men love women’s company and can hardly do without ladies at any age. In early ages, women are indispensable and as boys grow older their main affection is for their mothers and girlfriends. Their fathers always come second because he would rather spend more time at work, making money for the families than stay home and let the mothers go out and work. Now, some of the men are switching roles to house-dads.
In spite of their lip service to men that stay home and help women out, their respect still go for the traditional macho men that excite them at work, play and extra-curricular activities. Ladies are now crashing men’s clubs where women were traditionally barred. The law and community in general support the women against these exclusive clubs. Men claim it is the only sanctuary left that women have not invaded. But ladies claim it boosts business cronyism and girlfriends.
In fact, these clubs are not for men exclusively. Men bring in their girlfriends that drive their wives at home to vibrators. This raises intriguing question of how many women can an average man satisfy while some women are being denied or staved of sex. It is either most of these men are sex machines or they are dividing their sexual prowess between two, three or more ladies. But if an average man cannot satisfy that many women, others and vibrators come to mind.
The worst offenders women complain about are weak men that prefer quickies or “wham bam thank you ma'am”. This is unfair. In the first place, those happen where we are not supposed to have sex. Forbidden places are at work, at parties by the corner wall, in cars and too expensive dream islands, like the beach mat or some magic carpet. Please note that these places are from blind market surveys, when men and women were asked for their fantasy places to have sex.
Ladies, at that point and time claimed they enjoyed it. So it is not fair to come back and use the same survey answers against men they had the flings and college hook-up with. If women want a full service, they must do it at the appropriate place where the men could spend more time working on them. This is the best way to get satisfaction but some women want more rounds than the men are willing to give. So, women complain, again, that men always fall asleep.
In many cases, these men fall asleep when the ladies are just getting excited, ready for another round. It will be dishonest to claim all men fall asleep because some demand more, only for the women to let him knock himself out: staring at the ceiling wondering when he is going to get off. When the man ask how good he was; the lady always replied that he was a tiger!
How can you call a man a tiger in bed and then develop a relationship with vibrators? There are other factors involved, they claim. Men are not forthcoming as ladies wish and are not going to hang around until their golden age to get serviced. For older ladies, men their age are tired in bed. Many men have some problems after the age of 40 years. So they seek counsel from the bosom of younger ladies they can hardly satisfy. If men are well off, wives certify them as senile.
Instead of running after every Dick and Tunde like call-girls to satisfy their sexual urging, the women remain respectable in their bedroom and satisfy themselves with vibrators under their pillows or become cougars. The problem is they get used to non-stop vibrators on batteries or rechargers that have no blood running through them. They cannot cuddle or kiss vibrators.
There is much more to sex. Touching, nice wine over diner, teasing and flattering each other are part of the same ceremony of sexual pleasure to enhance longer climax. Women and men have to realize that you cannot make good love to partners that you detest, nag you to death or that crawl your blood. There has to be friendship, caring and anticipating; that will be missed when out of sight instead of excuses, wishing he or she never comes back alive and demanding sex.
Vibrator is a recent phenomenon. Counselors advise men not to feel threaten by vibrator since men’s touch, warm body glide, pelvis adjustment, kisses and caressing are missing in vibrators. Men should instead incorporate it into ladies sexual pressure if their ladies bring it up. If she mentions it, she is probably using it and wants to test your acceptance.
The good news is that when women were asked if they are getting enough sex, they say no; but would marry the same person again.
Where are the Yoruba leaders? Using Stomach Infrastructure weapons against low information voters to win elections and beat democracy to dust. The emergence of Tinubu should have been a lesson that Yoruba are playing with fire when they claimed that firebrand leaders are needed to counteract “outside” fires. This is not being naïve, fire fighters amongst the Yoruba has never occupied pinnacle of leadership. They are sent to war. Learn from old Ilorin disaster.
The carbon copy of Tinubu has emerged in Ekiti State and if Osun is not careful, another noted thug whose hands are still bloody from the death of Bola Ige will rule. Well, it is a difficult time in the history of the Country, they say. Everybody is spitting fire and if you do not want fire to burn you, call on Tinubu, Fayose or Omisore. All we have to do if we want to be reminded by history is to compare Afonja to the bearer of those dignified names and their usurpers today.
In Yoruba, actually African culture, anyone that brings disrepute to our names is disowned. The Country has changed, the end justifies the means. No matter how you make your money, there are people waiting to sing your praises. It is so glaring, almost everyone seeking political office has to go through the ritual of accumulation in order to loot more when they get into office.
There used to be a time when a rogue cannot get married in town because no reasonable or decent family would offer the daughter. Today, they get the best lady in town. The same value they bring to marriage buys them influence in political arena, National Award, Looters’ Club and access to money by foreign contract, local contracts for “minors”. The cronies that have made it are the exemplary children look up to. When they grow up, some want to be like them.
The Cement infrastructure is for show with foreign contracts while the Stomach Infrastructure is an instant gratification before elections. Bags of rice may last low information voters about a month. Either way politicians make it to foreign banks like bandits awash with hard currencies to launder. When we say we are not stupid, it doesn’t mean we are not hungry. A hungry man is an angry man but during election: boli, guguru with groundnuts as political photo-op do well.
They starve communities of expensive stable food in our markets but invite foreigners to bring in technologies available in their own universities, so that most of it can be exported for foreign and hard currencies. Then wait until elections to flood market with imported rice, discouraging domestic brand. If you have been starving for ages and food is available for a week or a month in the middle of election with promises of more to come, you’re happily likely to vote for them.
Tinubu is well known for throwing money at Area Boys. They scramble and fight for it as they sing his praises. No well-born or bred would fall for such quick gimmick but they are the closest bouncers that cause mayhem and intimidate voters just as MOPOL would scare hell out of you. Area Boys are the stuffers and snatchers of ballot boxes. Harass the low information voters and silent majority to make obsequious stomach infrastructure choice based on instant gratification.
What has baffled most is how so many Yoruba with all their pride about the first in this and that; laid low and let these vagabonds rise amongst them. If these were National elections, Yoruba could have made a case against other ethnic dictators. Ndi-Yoruba Ronu, how did Tinubu win in Lagos, Fayose in Ekiti and Omisore on his way in Osun? Tinubu won twice before Jonathan O!
But why in Ekiti that claimed to be the most educated and most informed Yoruba. There has to be more. Cattles did not vote. If people were not motivated to come out to protect, exercise their civic and democratic rights, do not blame your opponents. Most seek and enjoy instant gratification and may even regret it after the fact. Fayose bragged that twice, he had defeated incumbent governors. No matter what a character, he appealed to our instant gratifying need.
Yoruba leaders are not different from other Nigerian leaders but you would think that Yoruba that claim some complex without low information voters would reject Tinubu and Fayose. Well, Nigerian leaders know how to starve and feed their voters before election. Those in power have also mastered conspicuous display of Cement and Stomach Infrastructure. They only build to make sure it involves foreign contracts so they can inflate outrageously to get lion share cuts.
YORUBA RONU has been translated into stomach infrastructure. Well, it takes more than that. These leaders do not see themselves as Yoruba, Nigerian or African. The only ambition of those making their 1st jackpot is how to launder even more to pursue dream houses, foreign gadgets, cars and imported Susie. Americans or Europeans can distinguish Nigerians coming from home to those in Diaspora. One is called a miser, unless he fell on money; the other is a big spender.
It will be disrespectful to say that majority of the people across the Country are not decent, law abiding and industrious. The way hard work and decent reputation are being thrown out and displaced by dubious characters; we are in for a bleak future. Others disagree, claiming the Country will be saved the way the children of Israel did. We love to fool ourselves so that we can buy time for another day, another year, in the future. As usual: Only God Can Save Nigeria!
Instead of creating enabling environment even in local areas for roads so that people can build their own houses under government basic infrastructure and regulations, they inflate cost on conspicuous main roads and build houses only their colleagues and cronies can buy, within whom their loot is circulated. By building home for those that can afford to build for themselves, they crowd out business and private contractors. Excuse: no low cost cement for working class.
Others are left to build their own houses, roads, buy generators and dig boreholes for water. Yoruba leaders compete and crowd out businesses that should be paying taxes; instead create tax free zones for themselves and sell themselves government and poor people’s land.
Yoruba leaders need to form a new party or build up Labor Party to express their community values and create enviable environment for other Nigerians like Awo did.