Jungle fever – by my talented brother

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No consequences?!

I must confess that I am a forgiving person. Being born in Nigeria, I was taught to forgive people as soon as they apologized. If they prostrated themselves and said “e pele” and “e ma bi nu”,  it was quite criminal not to forgive. Ironically it seems that forgiveness in the Nigerian collective is inversely proportional to the crime. A petty thief is easy dispatched by a mob for stealing a phone or recharge card. A government banker who steals millions from pension funds is, our son, the future senator, worthy of protection at any cost. An election is not seen as an opportunity to reward or punish a corrupt official, but as a chance to ride in private jets and collect ‘free’ bags of rice, chicken, shoes, or recharge cards. People mortgage their futures for petty gifts.  People love to pray for change but will those with valid PVCs please raise their hands? Elections offer the opportunity to kick out officials who fail to deliver and replace them with someone else. That’s the main power of any democracy. If elected officials know that there is no consequence to their incompetence and neglect what incentive do they have to do better?

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Put your $$ forward

So here I am sitting through another talk listening to studies about tropical diseases good science from all the world including some impressive science from the continent. I will not say much about the scientists but let’s get to the funders. It is interesting that in almost every nation from small islands to big subcontinents, rich people set up institutes and foundations to do good research. Conspicuously absent from the list of donors are billionaires from the country with a third of most of the NTDs. I would like to say, put your $$ forward, but I guess to each their own.

Circadian clocks and umbilical cord

I have spent more than two thirds of my life in North America but I seem to function in a state of perpetual jet lag. However whenever I travel to Europe or Nigeria, I am never jet lagged. My working hypothesis is that my circadian has homed into the place where my umbilical cord is buried. I am not sure if it is in a landfill or was incinerated as part of the bio-waste from that hospital but somehow it beckons my body to obey it. Without fail I open my eyes at ungodly hours. I am more productive at hours more suited to someone living in Ibadan than Houston. What is my body trying to tell me? What has it been telling me for almost 3 decades? Will I ever listen?

Peace and change starts with me.

I sometimes wonder if humans ever learn. In the last 3 decades we have had genocide in almost every continent and we cannot seem to learn. There are countries where people under 30 have never seen peace and stability and their entire lives have been spent in a war zone. We create weapons capable of self destruction. We kill in the name of God. We spend more energy destroying, and criticizing than creating. There is hope though if each of us decides enough is enough and I have. This life is the only one I know I have and I will not be swayed by hate. I will create a cocoon of peace, harmony and joy with each breath and I will spread it to everyone I touch. Peace and change starts with me. Every little bit counts and each moment is an opportunity to change. I will not only imagine but I will act, write, dance, sing, cry and laugh.

Can you believe that this video is almost 30 years old?

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No one cries for me!

No one cries for me, my short life not even worthy of a hashtag or footnote as leaders and future leaders  rally for electoral votes. I am not Charlie,  just a nameless faceless child burned to a crisp and left like trash in the charred remains of my town. No one cries for me, not even the mother who took time to wash my hair and plait it in perfect rows, her burned body lies besides the hundreds of relatives friends and enemies equal in agony and death. No one cries for me, no one cries for us, we remain faceless roasted flesh, unholy sacrifices on the altar of Boko Haram. Cry for me and Baga Nigeria. Raise dirges and ululate for the children kidnapped (or sold) and strapped with bombs, unwilling messengers of death.  Look at my body as you pray and do something, say something, change something. Was my life in vain?

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A prayer for Nigeria

Lord God forgive Nigeria we pray…

For injustice against minorities,

Lord God forgive Nigeria….

For religious intolerance

Lord God forgive Nigeria…

For child slavery, abuse, neglect and marriage

Lord God forgive Nigeria…

For religious leader who use you

To oppress the weak, vulnerable, or ignorant

Lord God forgive Nigeria…

For Biafra war

Lord God forgive Nigeria…

For Dele Giwa, Ken Saro Wiwa, Bola Ige

And others whose blood spilled needlessly

Lord God forgive Nigeria….

For the Aluu 4 and countless,

Nameless others lynched senselessly

Lord God forgive Nigeria…

For ritual murders,

Lord God forgive Nigeria…

For valuing money over life

Lord God forgive Nigeria…

For our so called leaders

who refuse to #bringbackourgirls

 #stopBokoHaram or #stopNTDs

Lord God forgive Nigeria…

For choosing death instead of life,

War instead of peace,

Intolerance instead of love,

O Lord God forgive Nigeria

and grant us the courage to do likewise!

2014-09-20 12.17.30