Friday, November 29, 2013

Thank God it's Friday

Hey peeps,
Sorry for the long silence. I've been working on a number of things that kept me really busy this month. One of which was learning how to drive (I've always had a fear of driving myself) and second of all was releasing the e-version (epub) of my book - The Quilt - on okadabooks.com, an online website that helps publish Nigerian writers. For now it's only available to Android users who can download the app on their tablet or phones.


I've also had the privilege of reading some very interesting pieces and the pdf version of the novel Stardust (see cover art below). I'll share some of what I've read with you as time goes but for now, I want to talk about something else. As you all know, November in the USA is associated with Thanksgiving, (hence the title of this post) and every day of our lives we have reasons to be thankful. For example, I'm thankful today is Friday because my nuclear family and I, are going for a Couples Retreat organized by my church. I would have left the smallie at home but hubby refused so little Nathan will be crashing our 'alone time'. Apart from that, I've seen the program and trust me, we are going to have fun.

On my last post, I responded to a comment and got a request from a beautiful lady called Heather Von St. James. I couldn't help but associate with her story. She is a 7-year survivor of Pleural Mesothelioma Cancer [a rare form of cancer (malignancy) that most frequently arises from the cells lining the sacs of the chest (the pleura) or the abdomen (the peritoneum). Pleural mesothelioma is the most common form, often presenting with symptoms in the chest area]. So I've decided to join her 30 days of thanksgiving on blogsphere by sharing her story and giving thanks for something this month.


As for her former condition, MedicineNet.com says, "Mesothelioma typically results from exposure to asbestos. When mesothelioma affects the chest, the doctor may look inside the chest cavity with a special instrument called a thoracoscope. When mesothelioma affects the abdomen, the doctor may look inside the abdomen with a special tool called a peritoneoscope. Mesothelioma is diagnosed by a biopsy. Most people present with complaints of shortness of breath. They also can have complaints of chest pain. Surprisingly, this pain is often not pleuritic; that is, it does not get worse with deep breathing. This is surprising in that the pleura (outer surface of the lung) is often involved in this disease, and most other diseases involving the pleura are often associated with pleuritic pain (pain that worsens with deep breathing). Patients may also be asymptomatic, with the disease discovered by physical exam or an abnormal chest X-ray. As the disease progresses, shortness of breath increases and weight loss decreased appetite, and night sweats can develop. Local invasion by a tumour can result in changing of voice, loss of function of the diaphragm, and symptoms specific to the area and involvement of adjacent structures. There are three traditional kinds of treatment for patients with malignant mesothelioma. Often two or more of these are combined in the course of treatment: surgery (taking out cancer), radiation therapy (using high-dose X-rays or other high-energy rays to kill cancer cells), and chemotherapy (using drugs to fight cancer)."


Cancer no matter the name is a dangerous ailment and early detection still remains the best way to avoid endless hours of pain and sorrow. As for me, I'm grateful for life and good health. Until the next post, stay safe.

Monday, November 4, 2013

PUBLIC ENEMY NO. 1


In Nigeria, you can live a relatively peaceful life if you do not have a run in with any of the following people: Armed robbers, Fraudsters (e.g. ‘Yahoo boys’ and ‘One Chance’) and Law Enforcers. Why put law enforcers with criminals? That’s because nowadays, greedy illiterates have been given uniforms and the power to enforce societal principles which has in turn led to the victimization of innocent citizens.

Last year in August, I tweeted about the murder of Cynthia Osokogu, a 23yr old business woman who traveled to Lagos to meet up with a facebook acquaintance at a hotel for business and possible romantic affair. In other to solve the case and look effective, the police decided to arrest everyone related to the case in one way or the other except the hotel staffs. That was how an innocent intern pharmacist became accused of murder on 16 count charges after being tricked by the police to sell the drug used on the victim before she was raped and killed. With no law in place as to restrict the sale of certain medicinal substances that can be abused for other purposes, how can anyone know what manner in which the drug would be used or the true intention of the buyer?

That’s just one case of police victimization, despite all their TV ads and programs which say, ‘the police is your friend’. How can we trust them when they extort money from us whenever we call upon them to serve? No wonder there are so many unreported crimes in the nation. Later the police would expect the people not to take matters into their own hands and execute ‘jungle justice’ where the mob punishes caught offenders in public places. Let’s move on to some other form of victimization common to people living in Benin City, Edo state.

It is one thing to know you are on the wrong side of the law and quite another to be accused of being an offender of a law you know nothing about. This is usually what happens with traffic controllers and road safety officials. Sometimes they would stop a vehicle to check their papers and safety gear and finding nothing out of order, they’ll invent a permit or specification for a safety appliance like fire extinguisher or waste basket and compel car owners to pay sums of money which are never remitted to the state government. If you insist on your right, they’ll jump into your vehicle, causing unnecessary hold up on the road and demand you follow them to their office where the pay is larger. The only way to get out of it is to plead with them or conform to their wishes if begging doesn’t work or to be extremely knowledgeable of the law and your right and argue them out of reason backed up by knowing someone in a high position of authority to muscle you out of that situation.


Another scenario is their deliberate omission of sign posts in restricted areas or places where new communal law suggests certain activities shouldn’t be carried out there. They share themselves into two groups to ensure they divide and conquer. Some in plain clothes who look like thugs will approach you and pretend to inform you of the law and once you begin to act in compliance, they resist your attempts and start making trouble as though you attacked them. Their co-conspirators in uniform joins them and pretends to keep the peace while allowing the tow truck to hinge itself on your vehicle until you slip them an amount they deem worthy if not, it is off to their station to pay a higher bill. They’ll even go as far as suggesting a small amount they want you to pay and once you pay it, they still take you to their office and accuse you of bribing them. Thereby forcing you to pay a higher sum (with no receipt to prove that the money you paid will be paid into the Government’s account).

So how are these civil servants who operate during the day different from the armed robbers that attack at night? They have become more of a menace than a help to society, forcing individuals to create systems that avoid the use of their services. I have personally experienced these injustice meted out on the average Nigerian by those who are called to serve and protect. While we are trying to get our heads above water, some politicians in public offices are coming up with projects that their relatives or people who offer them bribe can manage in order to ensure they remain enriched with public funds. Our systems have become so flawed that youths fear there’ll be no remedy to salvage the nation from the clutches of corruption.


The level of oppression in the land by our fellow men is too much. Have a heart. If this was done to someone you love, would you stand for it? How can we revive the system such that educated men of integrity can hold offices in every sector of the economy? The solution lies in having a societal paradigm shift from self to selflessness; being willing to put our lives on the line for the greater good of all like Prof. Dora Akunyili did with NAFDAC and has left a legacy for other leaders after her to follow. We need a societal value change, where money isn’t the end result of hard work but who we become and the legacy we leave for others to follow. It starts with us as parents teaching our children the right values, then our churches or religious establishments teaching fundamental truths which have the power to liberate the mind of men and set them on a course of righteousness and love. Let’s stop waiting for activists and motivational speakers to ‘ginger’ us to make a change and let’s realize that the change starts with each and every one of us reading this piece.

Spread the word, get others to read this and be stirred in their hearts to act. It’s now or never. God bless Nigeria!

My Experience at the #CNWritersConference 2019

This year has been pretty busy for me with mini collaborations here and there that are yet to come into the limelight. Don't worry i wi...