No longer isolated world

It is only in Nigeria that people would proclaim to love their ancestral land and at the same time are ever ready to turn the whole place into battle ground over simple disagreement. The thought of lives that will be negatively affected don’t cross their minds, their goal is to provide  flimsy reasons so people can find more reasons to loathe one another. When all is done and dusted, they are out of the town to their homes where their families and properties are safe and secure.

Anyone who thinks a fight between three adults is enough to justify so much loss of lives can not be taken seriously.

I am glad that Ooni Ogunwusi was in London when Westminster Bridge attack by Khalid Masood happened. How swiftly it was dealt with, and how investigation was focussed on the attacker and his likely reasoning behind his action – that is how to deal with terror if one truly loves their land.

If we insist on protecting local nuisance, we sure are going to remain in that darkness for a very long time to come.

Yesterday, the Afenifere group met with Ooni Ogunwusi, I love Kabiesi’s speech, my favourite part is the part where he was talking to the youths. This is very important for Ife and towns around, we have lost so many young people in recent years. I can not see any reason good enough to make anyone wanting to kill another person (even if they were from Jupiter), it is just not worth it.

He says “They (youths) should be careful and not allow this issue to be politicised. We should remember that most of these politicians don’t come to Sabo to render assistance until the misfortune that happened.” The Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty Ooni Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II.

In the whole of Yorubaland, there is no other town that has been through continuous unrest for a solid 35 years, now peace is slowly and steadily returning and the next thing they wanted is to start Yoruba Deliverance from the same town, why? Can’t people see there is more to life than trouble?

Another sentence that was credited to Ooni Ogunwusi was that often we can see the beginning of a war, but on one knows how far it will go and how it will end.

Actually, I know one possible way tribal war in our area likely to end. Plenty of lives will be wasted, properties will be ruined. We will hide identities of the victims. People travelling from Ibadan to Ilesa or Ekiti will avoid Ife at all cost, they will take the long back road – I don’t blame them. When enough youths are down, local people will be left to pick the pieces. Weapons used would change hands, and before you know it, that cute choir boy would become a local monster and for the next few years, same weapons will be used to terrorise their own people.

And the politicians claiming ancestral home? Well, they are back in their city offices writing about how unfortunate Ife people are, they will pity you with their keyboards but will never contribute a kobo to help you out.

We have been there, that is the pattern.

Big thank you to Ooni Ogunwusi for reminding those who care to listen.

One of the  things that Governor Aregbesola did that I am super glad for is the fact that he did not take any chances and insists schools close to the area be shut. To me, this is what any leader should do. At least enough kids were spared from potential physical or emotional harm.

My 7 year old nephew narrated the reason he was off school for a week and half. I know he will remember this for a long time, the hope is that we will continue to have sensible leaders who can be brave enough to protect people including minimising children’s exposure to event such as this.

We no longer live in an isolated world, if people want to pursue politics, that is all well and good, but we can’t live in a world where just about anything is turned into politics with regards to people whose lives are sure to be most affected.

I am also glad that an investigative panel has been set up to get to the root cause and to get all those that worked behind the scene. Ultimately, the point of arresting a group of people is to calm the area in the first instance, and to determine appropriate punishment for each offender. And if there are more in town roaming about, please get them so people can continue to go about their business in peace.

Beware of those with nothing to lose

A man who thinks killing of other human beings over a small dispute has nothing to lose is hardly difficult to identify especially when they conveniently turning street violence into avenue to vent about politics.

Regardless of the identities of Ile Ife casualties, an arguably simple disagreement between three adults that leads to the loss of many lives should be treated as criminal activity. Femi Fani-Kayode (FFK) thinks this is the best time to praise those that were involved and reminded people how strong and prepared these youths were – this is a reasoning of a public figure who has in the past served as Minister of Culture and Aviation at different times – adagbà má kúrò láròbó (a grown man with a reasoning of a toddler).

Shame on FFK for referencing Modakeke/Ife crises in his articles 1 & 2 something that sounds very much like chest-beating peculiar of people who have lost nothing in the crises, therefore quick to think violence is the only answer for all disputes.

Whoever has a sliver of interest in Ife and of course commonsense would never think of praising violence, those that lost either family members, homes or livelihoods to the crises don’t wish similar event on their worst enemy – clearly FFK has nothing to lose.

To turn this recent event into Yoruba Vs Hausa/Fulani fight – how does that even make any sense? How is a neighbourhood fight about assault on a woman relates to herdsmen grazing? How is this event related to Southern Kaduna killings of christians is beyond me. I don’t see how this is the same thing with Bridget Agbaheme in Kano last year either.

This is the problem we have in Nigeria where unresolved issues are accumulated so we wait patiently for a trivial one and so we could display full-blown anger.

Here is the revealing part, most of the comments on FFK’s articles have nothing to do with Ife. They are emotional outbursts about the need for Yoruba to break away. This is clearly what the writer wants to achieve,  so why don’t we pursue this separately?

If Yoruba is to break away from the rest of the country, why do we have to start from Ife, a town that has witnessed civil unrest for the last 3 decades? And why can’t we start with a plausible social problem such as herdsmen grazing that many people can relate with?

And if we must start killing the ‘others’ to show our grievances – why can’t FFK (because he loves Ife so much) starts his “Operation Deliver Yoruba’ from his own neighbourhood ( he has no home in Ife) where his family and properties can be the first targets.

Illusion of ownership

Throughout both articles, there is this inflated sense of entitlement being promoted. This is a national problem that will never go away unless the government and progressive thinking citizens find a way to deal with it squarely.

I don’t understand how anyone could think setting up his own home/town on fire is a thing of pride.

The way things work at home means royal fathers’ influence is quite noticeable when we have crisis like this one. I am not too bothered about FFK’s take on this, I prefer to listen to what Ooni Ogunwusi has to say. He has been consistent with his words of working to restore lasting peace in the land.

In his interview with Ben TV a few days ago, Ooni Ogunwusi repeated the same sentiment that he has been known for in the past one year, we have seen the other side, now we know we are all better off when we unite for progress.

The relevant part of this video is 2 mins long, between 0:50 to 3:20

One very important thing that Ooni Ogunwusi mentioned in the Youtube video at 2:25 is where he stated that Hausas have been in Ife for centuries. Also that many were born and raised there. This is the part of history that people prefer to forget, thankfully we have a Kabiesi who is honest and courageous enough to say this.

Where do we want people to go if this place is all that they have known all their life?

Ooni Ogunwusi as seen online is presently in the UK with many people around him visiting many places in town. I hope those who are visiting the UK for the first time among the entourage can note how diverse the UK is. And realise that if say London for example has to be burned down for every little disagreement, who is the Kabiesi going to see here?

Ancestral home/land only worth the pride and glory where peace is given a chance over violence.

Hydrocephalus in Nigeria

Most of what I know about attitude towards disabled people stem from watching my nephew who lived most of his life in a wheelchair.

The morning of his birth, I asked my sister if she needed me to stay at home, she was happy for me to go to work since I will be back at 3pm. My factory job was a shift work,  I was on morning duty that week 6.30 to 2.30. Work place only about a mile from home. By the time I arrived home, Emmanuel had been born at a local clinic. He was the second child, my sister arrived home that evening, everything was fine with the new baby – as fine as we can all see physically.

Within weeks, *Emmanuel started showing signs of discomfort, he cries endlessly. Amongst many signs at the time was him being irritable a lot – why wouldn’t he stop crying? Then we started noticing physical symptoms – his head was disproportionately bigger than the body, his eyes were okay but the focus weren’t ‘normal.’

Then it became clear Emmanuel needed help.

My sister’s journey started with LUTH (Lagos State Teaching Hospital) being a place to go for paediatric issues. She visited on several occasions. She was prescribed tablets to use but no joy as the little one still in pain. This was between 1993 and 1995, a lot has changed since then.

It was in 2003 when I came about a research paper on hydrocephalus, I knew it was exact same disease Emmanuel hasHe did his surgery at OAU teaching hospital in 2004, it was 10 years too late as the pressure of the fluid on his brain had done enough damage on his learning ability and use of limbs.

From Emmanuel’s experience, I have learnt that hydrocephalus is common than we realise. The only way to treat this condition is surgery in infant (for children that were born with the condition), this way they are given the best fighting chance. If untreated, accumulated fluid put enormous pressure on the brain so kids with this condition likely to have problem walking and end up with learning difficulties – this was the case for Emmanuel, he was wheelchair bound.

When I was researching this disease years ago, there was nothing to find in Nigeria, there are a few accessible academic papers in the west – which was fantastic as it just helps to put too many assumptions to rest.

Now, in Nigeria many parents are coming out and sharing their experiences with others,  providing tips on how to get help. This article talks about Festus experience, a Lagos based with the condition. The picture of Festus looks similar to how Emmanuel was at the same age. The family seems to have gotten help for LUTH as they did their surgery when their child was just over one year old. The family now has a foundation to raise awareness about hydrocephalus in Nigeria. Story of what Festus went through is very similar to my sister’s.

Emmanuel had a stroke in October. Doctors helped. Within weeks, he regained his speech and use of his hands, manage to crawl to the toilet and regained a bit of dignity. So we all had hope that he was on the path to full recovery. On Feb 28th, he complained of unbearable pains. He had his sister and parents chatting with him till 1am. On March 1st, my inlaw called to say we (my family) lost Emmanuel.

He was only 23 years old.

Thank goodness for social media, people can share information quite easily these days, a child born with this condition today has a better chance of getting help early in Nigeria so to minimise the impact.

I know people will still do what they feel most comfortable with, from what I have read so far, surgery is the only solution to lessen the impact of damage caused by this disease. This is done by draining the liquid and implanting a ‘plastic’ to drain future fluids preventing it from accumulating on the brain.

Common theme I found with Festus, Emmanuel and a few others that I read online is getting help from their religious leaders. Faith works so is prayer, but with hydrocephalus, timing of surgery is very crucial.

 

*Emmanuel goes by a different name at home

 

Taming aggression

Trigger happy people are nightmare to anyone around them as they are always ready kill, loot and burn.

 

Naturally, Wednesday fight in Ife caught my attention after all we are the closest pals.

From all different variations of the story that led to the killing of over two dozen people, I do not find one that is strong enough to justify the loss of lives and properties.

In all of the versions I heard/read, the fight started between a woman and a man. The husband involved to fight his wife’s corner.

So the version that sounds reasonable to me goes thus. A lady was mistaken for an olosho (working girl) in Sabo, Ile Ife. The said lady was assaulted when she responds to the guy who was trying to get her attention angrily. The lady left the scene to report the unfair treatment to her husband. The husband took offence, went to meet the guy who had laid hand on his wife, he carried along with him his work mates (NURTW).

 

Sabo area in Ile Ife being in the heart of the city, has a buzzing evening market for suya, roast corn etc. The fight started at this market on Tuesday evening.

Logically one would ask, how on earth do we end up on another killing spree to resolve an issue like this ? It does not add up.

Nigeria newspapers reported this incidence as Yoruba vs Hausa so many people decided to see this as We vs Them issue. Nigeria newspapers say death toll on both sides is 10 people. Locally people say victims were more than 2 dozen people.

In addition, a church and a mosques in Sabo area were torched – just because this is what we do.  This action is always interesting to me because we claim to be highly religious but anytime there is any disagreement between two groups, religious buildings always (unfailingly) get burned. The irony.

Burning down town

I know that Ooni Ogunwusi has intervened and working closely with the state government to keep the streets safe hence the curfew 6pm to 7am from Wednesday until Monday. They have increased police presence in the area. All very commendable.

We can not always prevent every little disagreement with neighbours or workers, actually it will continue to happen but we must change our attitude to the way we react during conflict. This is 2017, looting and destroying properties regardless of whose properties they are should be condemned, we all know how hard it is to accumulate wealth, to see one’s own properties being looted and homes razed to the ground should never be accepted way to revenge.

We have been through this so many times and it is shameful that perpetrators still get away with this.

 

Given the location of this area, damage to the area will be visible to many travellers passing through town for many months to come (except if miracle happens) So tell me who is going to be ‘giddy up’ happy to invest in a town with long history of vandalism that we are all trying to repair and forget (still there) and now this one.

As we say, Who is doing whom? 

I know that Ooni Ogunwusi is working hard to unite the area. It is a massive work, I wish him wisdom and strength.

It is never a good time to have public disturbance. Ooni Ogunwusi is due to start his 12 day visit to London tomorrow for his global outreach program meeting with people, preaching peace and reminding us of home. And this happened a few days a go.

If I were Ooni Ogunwusi, I will cancel this trip and delegate my chief,  Obalufe to attend all meetings on my behalf. No buts or ifs. I will stay put until the curfew is lifted to re assure people and to reiterate the message of peaceful coexistence.