Kemmiiii's Blog

Archive for the ‘From my Mailbox’ Category

My Pops writes so well, I think I’m just gonna open a blog in his name instead of letting him steal my shine. This post was obviously from the bottom of his heart…

I am in the medical profession today because of my
admiration for the art and science of the profession. I was
very sickly as a little child in Lalupon and still retain
the vivid memory of my frequent visits to Dr. Okonkwo who
had a spacious compound where he was attending to us! He
must have been a quack from his recommendation of enema for
every sick person. I got to know of use of enema following
the use of some worm expellers in Medical School and before
then I found the use of enema a common practice among the
Ibos to sanitise their gut just as they also believe,
till today, that you can use the drip to wash your blood!
All the same, Dr. Okonkwo was very dilligent in his duty and
some us are alive today by his grace. He was my first
inspiration for medicine. “Maku”, a potent hepatotoxic,
nephrotoxic and neurotoxic concoction was the only subtitute
to his treatment.
If there is anything that I remember happened in the wake of
the civil war, it was the sad and sudden disappearance of
Okonkwo and his entire household. His vast compound was left
to dilapidate.

In my early days (1974-76) at Lagelu Grammar School, Ibadan,
my occasional visits, on our outing days from the boarding
house, to Alexander Brown Hall, hall of residence for
Medical Students at Yemetu reinforced my inspiration. My
cousin Dr. Fola Ajiboye was then a clinical student.
There was marked difference in the environment and the
conduct of medical students when compared with other
students in University of Ibadan.

As a practicing doctor, I found a mentor in Dr. Oluyombo
Awojobi, a practical, pragmatic and highly principled
surgeon and the motivator, founder and force behind Awojobi
Clinic Eruwa, ACE, in the Ibarapa Division of Western
Nigeria. He is a force to reckon with in Primary and Rural
Surgery the World over. Among those things that endears this
colossus to me is his integrity and deep respect for the
Hippocratic Oath! He also has a lot of respect for tradition
a la Yoruba!

Nigeria Medical Association, our main professional body and
a trade union of some sort is one body I must confess that I
have found difficult to understand its role especially
lately. Is it a regulatory body in which case it will be
usurping the powers of the Medical and Dental Council of
Nigeria, MDCN?
Is it an investigative or law enforcement body like SSS or
the police? Is it a whistle blower or informant to the

Since I became a doctor,I have not seen any significant mark
the NMA can point to that it has made either to the benefit
of the doctors or the health sector in general other than
incessant strikes that have never achieved any of its goals.
A toothless bulldog, it has no control over the militant
NARD. Most embarrassingly, the board of MDCN remains
dissolved for over two years and NMA is comfortable with it!

I have aways seen the NMA executive as a platform to seek
political recognition and posts. It is never surprising that
the crop of trade unionists in the executive hardly put
together a practice that can benefit other doctors.

When in May 2013 or thereabout, I was told that NMA ventured
into “investigating” Dr. Awojobi’s practice,
I knew it has set itself on a path of self destruction. While the
result of the investigation was not made known to even
Awojobi himself, the aim of the visit was already being
drummed by the enemies of progress! It was not surprising
therefore to read two days ago that NMA deposed to an
affidavit that it had found that Awojobi had not renewed his
practicing license for ten years and was therefore handed
over to MDCN Investigative Panel. No mention was made of the
tremendous positive contribution of Awojobi’s practice to
medical profession in terms of training, research,
innovation and service delivery! This is a clear case of
witch hunting! One Dr. Ana, in his write up surreptitiously
referring to Awojobi could not hide his feeling.

Of all the evils plaguing medical practice and the health
sector in general, this is the only issue that has
gained the attention of NMA. Happily enough, it is not an issue bordering on integrity, malpractice or negligence! I wonder how many quacks have
so been reported by NMA or is NMA myopic to this worrisome
issue bedeviling our society?

While I’m not out to hold brief for Awojobi who must have
his reasons for failure to renew his license, NMA should be
seen to be on the side of the people! I wonder what
the vast clientele of ACE, countless beneficiaries,
including my humble self, of its benevolence and pragmatism
can rise up to do in defense of the saviour of a vast rural
community, an advocate and defender of Primary Healthcare
per excellence and a true “Nigerian Surgeon” renowned
globally . While NMA may rely on the Court of Law, the
Peoples’ court is waiting to judge while the court of God is
preparing as the final arbiter!

How I wished the NMA executives had subjected this action of
theIrs to Rotary’s 4-Way Test and see what the score
is. This is definitely an ill wind that will blow no one any
good! If anything, it will only serve to expose the pettiness
and treachery of those we are trusting with leadership and
bring to the fore the fast rising stardom of Awo J.

This is a litmus test for NMA and Medical Profession in
Nigeria. The music, albeit melancholic, has just started, we
shall see who dances better!

Olubayo Adesola Windapo is my name. My friends call me
Windy! I have spoken and no regrets.

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Enema- Passing of liquid through the anus to aid evacuation of the gut
Hepatotoxic- Harmful to the liver
Nephrotoxic- Harmful to the Kidneys
Neurotoxic- Harmful to the central nervous system

PS. I’m looking forward to Sometime next year when I’m gonna be learning at Dr. Awojobi’s feet.
Hopefully, the NMA would’ve cut the BS by then.

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Lome here I come!
These assimilated French people will never cease to amuse and amaze me with their lay-back attitude!
Despite the fact that Lome has expanded structurally, the people remained the same slow and sluggish in their mien even at these jet and computer ages! I remember in 1977 as a school boy, our guide, a french national on internship at the French Embassy in Lagos told us we were being too smart for the environment. The Summer Vacation camp of 1977 organised by the French Embassy for deserving students left an indelible memory and some of the exploits actually shaped my life. One enduring memorabilia of the camp, a rare school bag on which is written “chez nous au Togo”, meaning Togo, our Fatherland or Home, still hangs somewhere in my room to date. The phrase expressed the pride and faith of the Togolese in their country which they hold dearly. You dear not mention the name of the then maximum ruler anyhow without being challenged. We were opportuned to witness the reverence they have for their ruler and country as demonstrated nationwide on the 30th August(Trente Aout)-it was a rare carnival-like display of loyalty better witnessed than imagined!

Lome, in 1977, was a little better than a big village with Hotel de la Paix, said to be owned by our own General Gowon, being the most remarkable edifice around. The whole country could not boast of any University. The highest institution of learning then was Ecole D’Agriculture, Tove in the northern part of the country. About that time, Lycee de Toquin, a well established secondary school with facilities comparable to those of missionary schools in Nigeria, was being upgraded to what now stands as L’Universite du Benin.
It was in Togo that I cut my teeth in the art of partying and “toasting”. It was there I noticed that there’s a marked difference in the social outlook of the English and French speaking West African countries! While the English exhibit some restraint, the french throw caution into the wind in enjoying themselves.

Today, the story is different and levels have changed significantly. Gigantic buildings now dot the city of Lome with unimpressive skyline. Sadly, the hitherto magnificent Hotel de la Paix is now completely run down reminiscent of Hotel Bobby before the take over by LASG. Of note is the wisdom the authority to preserve their waterfront/shoreline for impressive hotels and resorts comparable to what obtains in Mombassa Kenya! Trust Nigeria where places like that have given way to new estates and city projects- it is all about money and blind-folding corruption with no thought of value added to quality life.
Social activities especially the night life seem to have been overtaken by the Naija experience. Commercial activities are booming with significant patronage from Big Brother Nigeria-a reversal of the situation of the 70s.
Unlike what obtained then, most billboards now advertise one product or service rather than eulogising the president.

Going to Lome posed the challenge of choice of means of transportation. With going by sea ruled out, one is left to choose between road and Air.
I chose to go by air. All the overtures made by my friends to convince me to change my mind would not work- once beaten, twice shy! Unargueably,
Lome to Lagos is not as distant as Ilorin to Lagos but the impediment created by the international border agents can be nauseating as much as they can be frustrating making nonsense of what should be an enjoyable Atlantic coastal drive with lots of sight seeing! In 1977 we had a good time driving through the borders with our brown West African passports affixed with ‘lessez passez’. Our various guides did not allow us to know what trouble they were going through and what level of corruption was being engaged in to secure our passage! In 1993, I went to Ghana in my VW 1600 with a lot of hassles at the various borders. Aflao border posed a special challenge as it was closed due to a diplomatic rift between Togo and Ghana. After some wads of naira and franc cfa notes changed hands, a border agent led us through a cultivated farmland to get to Ghana. As my beetle was tossing up and down over the ridges, my car caught fire under my father-in- law sitting at the “owners” corner. The battery terminals were bridged by the seat meshwork. As ‘you can’t kill the beetle’, I rushed to do the needful and the adventure resumed.
My recent experiences gathered in the course of our Cotonou sojourn sealed my aversion for road trip along West African coast. The travails of passengers at the boarders are getting worse by the day and are dictated by the level of corruption in existence.

Air travel, the safest but most dreaded means of transport, the Nigerian experience, to Lome may seem uninteresting because no sooner you take off and the aircraft stabilizes you’ll start descent into Lome, but you will appreciate the trouble you’re saved of when you hear the expected tale of woes from road travelers. My colleagues were not spared despite the ‘indept knowledge’ of the terrain by Adeagbo, their driver!
It would not be a bad idea afterall to see the skyline of another neighbour if only for comparison or to approach the city by air haven made previous visits by road.

The 9th West Africa Project Fair, the main reason for our going to Lome, from the onset showed the laid back ways of the francophone west africans. I could appreciate the frustration of Auntie Bas in getting us accommodation. At this age and time, their hotels are not internet registered such that it was impossible to do any form of electronic fund transfer. It then became cash and carry and first come first served!

More frustrating was the need to pay the registration fee at the conference venue only in local currency of cfa francs with non availability of bureau de change in the vicinity.
The conference bag is just another one containing the usual stuff but this time around, the conference brochure left so much to desire. Most annoying is the blurred picture of our District Governor.

Gbagada missed the cocktail of Friday evening with something more important to the bargain of compensation. Our meeting with RC Lome Zenith which took place at the prestigious and magnificent Sarakawa Hotel was highly successful to be modest. The club took twining to a very serious and well defined level. One cannot but appreciate this with the constant reverberation of the success of our Global Grant project at Cotonou, a project worthy of emulation and a biproduct of our twining with RC Cotonou Palmier. It was gratifying and most satisfying to hear the project being cited as an example at this fair with both clubs becoming reference clubs.

On the whole, the fair was a huge success despite the hiccups encountered here and there. The international partners came in large numbers as compared with what obtained last year. Can you blame them? When gold rusts, what will iron do? When Nigerians don’t feel safe in their own country, what do you expect of foreigners? Here in Lome, everybody feels at home! And you know what! Here at Hotel Copa Cabana, life is so good, no power cut!
An outing to the beach became almost irresistible as we are close to the Atlantic. At the beach it is all fun and no body is worried about how to get back home.

Right now, we are enjoying Lome and we are looking forward to that day when we’ll be proud to shout loudly “chez nous au Nigeria”

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My dear beloved,
For fear of being a bore and for avoidance of repetition, I refrained from reporting my trip to Esie in the State of Kwara(in Aregbesola’s parlance) in the last few days but for what I watched on a mid-week news Panorama on NTA! How I got watching the program was like ordained because in the first place I’m not a television person and if I must listen to news it will not be on NTA. Secondly It was an awkward time as I was supposed to be getting ready to go for Rotary fellowship.

I have made three trips to Kwara in the last one year and I did report one of them, the first that took me to Ijagbo Offa where PP Lai Abidoye buried his father-in-law. All the three trips were energy sapping as they were backache inducing for the roads that are in a terrible state of disrepair!
The second trip was to celebrate the 80th Birthday of my brother and friend Tunji’s father, Chief Oyeyipo who also prompted my third trip to celebrate his transition to glory and home going shortly before he clocked 81. With the announcement of his death in June,I started sharing that funny belief that 80th Birthday Celebrations serve as samples of funeral ceremonies with the exit of the Celebrant and in effect an assurance for a befitting burial. And hence, the Celebrant gets an earthly assurance for a Glorious Home Going. The home call is invariably a question of when. And usually before the next landmark birthday! Pa Oyeyipo got his call rather promptly!

With my experience of the first two trips , I tried to make a choice of the most advantageous route. Esie is just next to Ooro which in itself is along Ilorin-Jebba road. There are three options from Ibadan. The first and the longest is to go through Oyo, Ogbomoso and Ilorin. The other two routes pass through Oshogbo. The shortest now takes you through Ikirun, Okuku, Offa and AJase-Ipo. Unfortunately, the Kwara aspect of this route up to Ajase is a disaster! Rumour has it that the PDP government in Kwara refused to attend to the road as a way of dealing with the ACN-believing people of Offa! Politics of Vengeance! The third route is as “smooth” as the first but very long making it an Isrealites’ Journey! I’m a Nigerian making a pleasure trip, time is always of essence! It will take one through Oshogbo, Ora in the north eastern part of State of Osun and then Ekiti State and Ooro/Esie!
I settled for the shortest with my mind made up to contend with the rough stretch from Erin-Ile through Offa to Ajase-Ipo.

I’ve dealt with Lagos-Ibadan bit of this trip in a previous write up and nothing has changed to date. However, my ride from Ibadan towards Ife evoked a feeling of anger as I remembered the misnomer of awarding the contract for the expansion of the Ibadan-Sagamu half of Lagos-Ibadan expressway to the same inept contractor, RCC that performed the mess that Aregbesola Government is clearing now on Ibadan-Ife road!

Branching onto Gbongan-Oshogbo road, there are visible and palpable signs leaving no one in doubt that Aregbesola is there to work and is working! I wonder what the opponents have to say when his own campaign office gave way to road expansion within Oshobgo. It is all for the common good! The smoothness of the roads within the state of Oshun, a departure from the past, enhanced my enjoyment of the beautiful music filtering out of the Bose Hi Fi in my wagon and making the long trip generally enjoyable. I particularly enjoyed the messages of late Apala maestro, Ayinla Omowura. He eulogises and reminds me of the great contribution of General Mobolaji Johnson,rtd to Lagos state vis a vis rent edict of 1971. He does the same of Obasanjo in foiling the Dimka coup of February 13,1976 even with the loss of Muritala Mohammed! It is almost unbelievable that in this same Nigeria, a room had been rented for seven naira per month in Lagos! A subtle reminder of incredible naira devaluation over time!

The first sign of my entry into Kwara state was the presence of combined military and police checkpoints! A pleasant surprise however greeted me: all the gullies and rough spots of last year were gone. I started wondering what caused the communal strife that brought about the military presence. It dawned on me that this is another state being governed by a PDP Governor- a theatre of confusion!
From Offa to Ajase Ipo, it is the same old song of rough and dusty roads! Why is Offa, the second largest town in Kwara and host of a Federal Polytechnic, suffering this neglect? Rumour has it that its ordeal is political in origin. The people of Offa continue to associate with the Spirit of Awolowo, an anathema in PDP books and a thorn in its flesh, who had an able lieutenant in Olawoyin, an illustrious son of the soil. A recent court pronouncement for deposition of their ruling monarch, who is single-handedly transforming the town stucturally and creating jobs, may not be unconnected with this vengeance!
Politicians especially of Nigerian stock are superlatively vengeful. I heard Ikirun and Okuku suffered a similar fate in the hands of Governor Bisi Akande, the Chairman of ACN and leading promoter of APC, for not sharing AC ideology! Very unfortunate! One would have expected Oyinlola, however, to take care of Okuku, his home town, in his days but this was not to be. What a disappointment or disaster. This is why I will forever respect Aregbesola who has righted the wrongs of his predecessors of opposing or antagonistic ideologies! To me he is a great leader, a Ghandi of some sort! May Allah grant him long life in good health.

Ooro, the town through which you link Esie, is thinly populated but with an unbelievable skyline! I cannot understand the rationale behind the sighting of magnificent but empty buildings that are so notorious of the town! The owners are either taxi drivers or traders in building materials, wrist watches and clocks in Lagos, Portharcourt or Jos. These Ooro indigenes are very proud and sure of of taking care of any situation with their wealth and hence the cliche “owo ni o je” literarily meaning money will solve it. Esie on the other hand is known for its historical stature! It was in Esie that a whole village was magically transformed into stone! The relics to confirm this story are scattered all over the town and are also in the National Museum there located. I have a tendency to contest this assertion of magical transformation with the theory that there could have lived in that environment some great artist/ sculptors of some unknown civilization! Ephesus in Turkey came to mind! Up till now Archaeologists are still excavating parts of the town buried underground.

A former deputy governor of Kwara state, Pa Oyeyipo’s home going service attracted a large crowd with heavy presence of Kwara state government officials past and serving! I had a good time at the reception which paraded good music food and drinks a la all you can take!
Don’t ask me how and when I got back to Lagos on a weekend of Redeem/Nasfat/Mountain of Fire confusion!

I was still contemplating weather or not to do a write up on this trip when fate got me to the waiting room of my clinic where I was fascinated by this NTA news program showing a long queue of sycophants who went to sympathize with the first lady, Patience Jonathan on the loss of her mother! While I sympathize with her too, I’m reminded of the story of the mouse who frantically warned his colleagues of a looming disaster but was disregarded only to pay dearly for their apathy! That the old lady died in a fatal road traffic accident is an irony of fate? The Yorubas in their unparalleled wisdom have a saying, ” ko si arowa fun eni ti kile-kile pa iya re” with literary translation that there’s no need to pacify a person whose mother was killed by a roller(used for road compaction)! Is it that the roller is speeding or its noise is not enough? Death is a debt we all owe! How, when and where we’ll pay are the questions we cannot answer. But nobody wants to die violently or gruesomely. And this is why we all need to do good and be seen to be doing good especially when we are in the public glare. This is one of the key responsibilities that come with power and authority. Ineptitude in any form is an anathema.
The Jonathans have had and still have everything at their disposal to minimise road mishaps. It is most unfortunate that the worst roads in the country are the Federal roads most especially in the South-East, South-West and South-South except where the state Government takes it up! I’ve travelled far and wide enough to make this statement of fact!
A similar situation was witnessed when armed robbers laid siege on the nation some years back. It was not taken seriously until Iyabo Obasanjo’s convoy was attacked leading to the death of some innocent souls! This is an incident that the Adeifes will not forget in a hurry.
In my micro environment of Bariga sometime in 1995, I had taken the pain to warn the occupants of a building, where there was a deep well without a cover, of impending mishap. This warning remained unheeded until about a year later. A grandson of the landlord, came on holiday from the north, not used to the dangerous terrain, fell into the well and died!
This is a country where anything goes and people are not accountable for misdeeds and life means nothing. The landlord will rot in jail in some other climes!

I hope someone will drum it into Governor Ahmed of Kwara’s ears that the law of Karma is still in operation! Whatever goes round comes round! Like that proverbial mouse, I am warning of looming disasters and I pray that the price of apathy will not be too much for us to pay!

I am Windy. I have spoken and no regrets!

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A local travelogue!

Since I came back from my European tour about 3 weeks ago, I’ve been rescheduling a trip to base, Ibadan, for reasons. I have had to make up for my absence to my patients and with my able assistant and colleague, Omodara being indisposed , it is double trouble! Secondly and more importantly, the first weekend, and indeed any weekend nowadays, of any month on Lagos-Ibadan expressway is a nightmare for nuisances in the name of religion. Redeemers start the crises on Fridays, Fire Fire people continue the furor the following Saturday morning! Nasfat unleash their’s irregularly as if to spring surprises! And God is watching patiently from above!
All of a sudden, the Jonathan Government, haven dealt a deadly blow to Babalakin and his Bi-Courtney, announced the turning of the sod of expansion of the 35 year old death trap. I could imagine the kind of traffic to be encountered with a major road work. Not knowing that I was deceiving myself.

I could have continued to play the postponement game but for the stature Chief (Dr) Benjamin Abimbola Adigun, the Baba Ijo of St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Oluponna in the State of Osun, who invited me, a fellow Christ Youth Follower to his 80th Birthday Thanksgiving on Saturday, the 20th July 2013. He is a former ED of Agip and a foremost Actuary Guru taking seats on the boards of many Insurance and Finance companies! He deserves to be celebrated and off I went on Friday as advance party!

The weather was bright and reassuring when I left my “shop” only to find it drizzling on getting to Berger bridge. From there on, the rain was getting heavier with attendant increase in traffic. It was not heavy enough to hinder business at ‘kara’, the cattle market, constituting the first bottleneck at the ‘U’ turn. A dangerous spot that has recorded a good number of accidents!

Nothing has changed so far on the long bridge despite the palliative measures seen to be put up to free the bridge of flood. One wonders how come a bridge gets flooded! Does this in itself not mean danger to the strength and longevity of the bridge? With the rain coming down in torrents, the flood was unavoidable especially at the distal 300metres of the bridge. The slow moving 4-lane traffic had to merge into one! Shege! A ruthless malam driving a tanker, for whatever reason could not afford to queue behind the smaller vehicles, waded through the murky flood, splashing and spraying the screens of the lesser machines with impunity! We could only jeer at, abuse and curse the bastard as he sped past leaving many miserable.

Less than 2kilometers from the flood, this time, passing Prayer city, it was all dry and sunny! God is great! As I drove on I was watching out for Julius Berger’s men and earth-moving equipments. None was in sight! Can these people be serious at all? Are they yet to be mobilized despite the pomp and pageantry that attended the turning of the sod? I kept wondering.

To someone who has been on a highway in other climes where human lives are valued, ours are simply death traps! With unruly and crazy drivers, especially of commercial vehicles, speeding as if possessed by some blood thirsty demons, with no road signs nor speed limits nor caution, we are only surviving by the mercy and Grace of the Almighty God. I have been on Ohio Turnpike in the USA several times. Fantastic road that spans 200 miles! On it you can be viewing a 50 miles stretch and yet you are not allowed so speed beyond 70miles per hour(120k/hour) with all measures in place to enforce it. That is where there’s order!

I got to Sagamu intersection starving. Even if I wanted to resist it, that was too much not to pay homage at Ibukun Olu Canteen where hot pounded yam was waiting to be served from their kitchen, where the rhythmic sound of mortar and pestle left no one in doubt of the real thing.
Served with “egusi” soup and ‘ogunfe'(goat meat),It was a delightful meal for the day. A cold bottle of Heineken was just right to step it down and for the road!

Getting back on the expressway, I was still picking the stubborn ‘ogunfe’ strands from my ageing teeth when I saw the moderately decorated arena used for the turning of the sod, adjacent to the Abeokuta-Sagamu fly over. Nigeria and a culture of waste! Some millions of naira must have gone into preparing for the unnecessary, wasteful ceremony! I can understand Commissioning of a road project after completion! What if they don’t complete the project as many others? We are living witnesses to the colossal waste and embezzlement of public fund by Ogunlewe and Anenih through FERMA under Obasanjo, just a few years back, on this same road and the adjoining Sagamu-Benin expressway! It can happen only in Nigeria!

It is worrisome and sickening to learn that this expansion project will cost 168 billion naira, that is 1 billon per kilometer! Haba! This can only happen in Nigeria! The same country where there are 9 aircrafts in the Presidential Fleet and none as national carrier! Compared to the USA, which has the state of Texas alone almost the size of West Africa, and their most powerful president only has 2 planes serving him! It is only in Nigeria, where a half baked, semi illiterate wife(nothing first about her) of a lily-livered president will arrogate so much power to herself and call a whole state governor his son and also has the effrontery to take up arms against a world renowned academic and Nobel Laureate!
More intriguing is the Nigerian Democracy! All over the world, democracy is a game of numbers. It is only in Nigeria where a group of 16 claims victory and supremacy over a group of 19! As that is not enough, a group of 5 also claims Majority in a house of 18 members and brazenly attempted to impeach the Speaker! And of course, they got a raw deal for their impunity! Only here in Nigeria!

I was lost in thought and just driving until I got to Ogere trailer park! Another seat of absurdity! I have been driving on the American Highways in the last 16 years, I have not seen a single trailer park or rest area where there’s disorderliness! I ‘ve also been to other parts of the world and had a good feel of their highways too! It is only in Nigeria where parks are provided and trailer drivers arrogantly and flagrantly refuse to make use of the packs and the law enforcers are helpless!

The staggering cost of this project, I believe, must have been tagged to the exigency of the expansion this all important route that provides the link between Lagos and the hinterland and not the actual or a justifiable deal. I hope the cost includes putting in place measures to control the nuisances constituted by religious bodies and lawless trailer parks especially in Ogun state axis. This is the only way the road live up to being called an expressway which it was way back in the eighties.

These and other thoughts got me sick and tired as I drove on. I stopped to buy corn, a delicacy I cherish on such trips but could hardly eat as I ruminated over the type of country we’re in, the type of people we are and the level of injustice pervading the horizon unchallenged!
Are we going to continue like this? Wole Soyinka has lashed out again that the man dies in him who keeps quiet in the face of injustice!

At the Ibadan end of the highway, nothing spoke of the presence of RCC, the second contractor handling the Sagamu-Ibadan half of the highway, a firm known for ineptitude as demonstrated by the shoddy job it has been doing for ages on the second half of the dualisation of Ife-Ibadan road! ‘Ooni of the source’ is watching and I wonder whether the Olubuse has an atom of conscience seeing a company in which he has substantial interest endanger the lives of Nigerians including his own subjects, family and self!

All is not lost! I entered Ibadan to find a cleaner, more orderly city but still retaining its rusty roofs! Who ever thought Iwo road round about can wear its present look! Just as I congratulated Fashola when he cleaned, Oshodi, I will have to get across to my senior and brother, Senator Isiaka Abiola Ajimobi(SIAA) for a job well done!

Oluyole, here I come!

Ibadan, the home gallant and proud warriors! History has that of all Yoruba clans, Ibadan was the only one that survived and remained never vanquished during the Yoruba wars and hence the popular expression ‘Ogun o ko wa ri, omo Ibadan ki ‘se eru eni ko kan’.
Of importance to the world is the kind of leadership pattern that evolved from Ibadan. The Olubadan recognizes the achievement and contribution of individuals from various families and make them Mogajis to head their own family and rise through the ranks to the exalted position of the paramount ruler, the Olubadan of Ibadan land. This unique succession plan which can only be found in Rotary also reinforces the accomodating nature of the forefathers of Ibadan. Hardly can any son of Ibadan trace their origin four generations back without discovering that they actually hail from another town or village to settle in Ibadan for commerce or as warriors! For instance, the various families in Lalupon came from Ede, Iwo, Ejigbo and environs in the State of Osun as warriors during the Yoruba wars to fight on the side of Ibadan. They were settled in Lalupon by the then Basorun Ogunmola. This pattern can also be traced to the USA where you have Jews, Germans, Britons, French, Latinos and Africans!

I set out for Oluponna as early as 9.30 from my hotel room somewhere around Old Ife road. It was my first time in Oluponna and was shocked to find that there’s no boundary between it and Iwo. This rapid development can be associated with the transformation of the later into a University town. Bowen University, a product of the Nigerian Baptist Convention, serves a major landmark in finding your way to Oluponna. Directly opposite, you find all the major Bank branches.

Oluponna was agog to celebrate an illustrious son, perhaps first from the clan, who has done so much for the town bringing its name onto the world map. The reception for the event took place at the community centre built by the celebrant! The event, especially the church service attracted the high and mighty from the oil industry, acturies, finance world , politicians and Anglcan clergy. A high point of the event was recognition of dignitaries for thanksgiving. Another ugly side of Nigeria shot forth its head. Senator Omisore who came with a retinue of hangers on and security details and in an FGN registered vehicle almost caused a commotion as he strolled towards the altar and his supporters rose with those praise songs! Only in Nigeria can it happen! I recollected this guy won an election into the Senate while still being incarcerated for an alleged high profile murder case!

I left the party at 3 pm, even before the commencement of the reception program for fear of the much dreaded Lagos-Ibadan expressway on a day like Saturday! And guess what, I got to Lagos at 7.30 pm for a journey that shouldn’t have taken more than 2 hours! Fair enough you’ll say! And I will agree with you if it is only in Nigeria!

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The last leg of my European tour and of course, the last few days of my working vacation took me to the Eastern side. I’ve had the most eventful vacation of my life so far lived. I started out with a self development training, moved on to Rotary affair and now professional development all in a relaxed mood. I have maximised the value of my miserly Schengen visa!

With a combination of sign language and wisdom of brandishing the print out of my hotel reservation and conference venue, I was able to pass the necessary information to the cab driver who took me through what appeared like an endless journey to Hotel Askania close to the city centre of Prague. On our tortuous way, I managed to fight off the devilish sleep consequent upon early rise for which I had to request for wake up call. I could not read any word close to english in all the sign posts and road sings and directions written in Russian language. And with that I thought I was in for a difficult time.

WONCA (World Organization of family doctors) Conferences are held 3 yearly and since I joined in 2004, the same year that I joined Rotary, the meetings are, somehow, coming on the heels of each other and coincidentally the last 2 were held in the same environment. This was responsible for my missing the 2010 edition held in Mexico, four weeks ahead Montreal Convention. Despite missing 2 days this time, I still had the urge to make it. My enthusiasm though damped by the poor attendance recorded was compensated for by the quality of papers presented and speakers on hand. I thank God, I made it!

I had no problem navigating the city of Prague with basic understanding of the transport system that is characteristic of most big cities of Europe. You have the bus, train and metro (underground) transport systems serving the common man and their expensive taxi cabs for the elites and unsuspecting tourists or those who are just not bothered about cost. With minimal information, from the hard faced Czechs, I wangled my way through their clean city with rusty looking medieval buildings to the conference Centre, Prague Congress Centre and back.

To have the best feel of the historic city and to save me the headache of language, I had to go for a guided tour that is not part of me! I like going around my own way and at my own time! I learned a lot!

The fantastic journey started from Wencelas Square, one of the very many squares of Prague. It is located in the heart of New Town from which we proceeded to the historic Old Town under which lies another historic town in which the mysteries and secrets are hidden. The torture and execution chambers which date back to the 12th century and beyond, the darkest days of the city, lie underground and hence the cliche “The Truth is Down There”. The tour also took us to the mysterious Jewish Ghetto with its famous synagogues, before crossing the Vltava River via Charles Bridge, one of the 16 bridges across the river, to get to the picturesque Lesser Quarter located on a hill and from which one could enjoy spectacular panoramic views of the city. We also visited the iconic Prague Castle which now houses the seat of government.

The tour was made interactive and I was able to catch some facts of the the history of Prague that is riddled with executions and executioners who were revered and held in awe, prisons and prisoners, a past both glorious and tragic. I had an history lesson in which the buildings, monuments and streets tell the captivating and horrific story of a city through time. I was almost weeping to hear the horror and terror of Nazi occupation and the bloody and gruesome fight to rid the city of the invaders!

For exploration and expansionism reasons of that time, most European big cites were built around rivers which now have high tourism value. As River Thames is to London, so is Seine to Paris, Tagus to Lisbon and Vltava to Prague. Our tour ended with a dinner short dinner cruise in a Luxury boat on Vltava. Against the night sky, Prague’s spectacular water front panorama revealed its splendour! As I jumped off the boat feeling satisfied, I asked myself what have we made of all the various rivers and lagoons especially in the “state of acquatic splendour”?

Generally Prague strikes me as an old Soviet city which still reeks of the consequencies of communism! The people still wear melancholic faces of the typical Russian. Unlike portuguese ladies who are in all sizes and shapes, beautifully well endowed, sometimes fat and luscious, the Czech ladies wear the mean look and manly structure of Martina Navratilova, the famous,female Lawn tennis icon of soviet extraction!
The fear of the executioner was something that I believe must have got a deep root in the psyche of these people and as such responsible for the level of societal discipline and very low level of crime!

Another offshoot of communism is the simplicity of their dressing and other ways of life. As recommended by law, the minimum wage in the country is about 130 dollars and average income is about 350 dollars per month on conversion of their cherished currency, the Czech Krowne(Kc or CZK).
To the Czech, Efficiency is the first word! Aesthetics comes much later!

I could count on my finger tips,the number of blacks that I saw to be residents of Prague. Maybe ten including two Nigerians of Ibo extraction! Trust them, ‘Igbo Kwenu’ This is quite understandable from the stand point of colonization history! While the West were colonising Africa, australia and the Americas, the Eastern Europe under the firm grip o the Soviets went for the far and middle east. I need to find out how Britain still got to Hong Kong, Malaysia etc almost meeting the Soviets halfway!

My dear friends, as the WONCA conference ends this morning, I can’t wait to get back home! I’ve missed my family, my “shop” and the larger Polybonde family, you my friends and patients/clients as much as I miss ‘Amala and Abula’ and pounded yam with vegetable soup!

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“I made an attempt to get on a crowded bus but was irritated by the noises emanating from within and while contemplating whether to go in or not, I saw Obama beckoning to me to wait for him and not to be in a rush. I was glad to see him and to kill time while waiting for the next bus, we started talking Politics. I warned him not to reverse the decision of the court that jailed Belusconi and to hands-off the whistle blower issue! He smiled as we entered the next bus telling me that I should put myself in his position. The bus jerked suddenly and I hit my leg against one of the poles meant to give support to standers”
Oh la la! I woke up with an excruciating pain in my right big toe and some epigastric discomfort! I had been dreaming! I must have hit my leg against the woodwork of my queen bed and suffering acid reflux from late night beer!
Such was the fun that characterized Restaurados, the section of the city centre where our hotel was located!

The flight to Lisbon from Gatwick was right on time in a brand new Airbus 320. A first time traveler will hold his head in fright for the take off and landing. Perhaps the Pilot was still mastering the new machine!

A lot of things have changed at Gatwick with the change of ownership. The place is now owned, albeit under a lease agreement, by our own Bayo Ogunlesi, heading a financial consortium based in New York. His father is the renowned Prof. Ogunlesi, one of the pioneers of medicine in Nigeria! Who says Nigerians are not great! Gatwick is much cleaner, better automated and of course, better patronized and busier. Perhaps because of the state of affairs at home, Bayo has not sought an opportunity or offered his expertise to the powers that be. Perhaps he cannot navigate the murky waters of Nigerian business deals leaving the likes of Wale Babalakin who understand the language better, even without any claim to the slightest know how or professionalism, to handle similar projects at home. He probably won’t be able to stand the nepotism and god-fatherism that characterise and are demonising the award of contracts in Nigeria! He might have foreseen the truth or wisdom in avoiding riding on the Lion’s back not to end up in his stomach! I feel very sorry for Wale in his predicament and I pray he survives it and gets wiser!

The aerial view of Lisbon shows a well laid out city with draught-like layout of Washington DC around many monumental structures appearing like Adebisi Compound of Idi Ikan, Ibadan. Landing at Lisbon ‘Aeroporte’, looking somewhat quiet at a time when you expect a bee hive like situation gave me the impression of a laid back city and country. The ineptitude of their embassy that embarrassed all Rotarians in Nigeria reenacted itself right from the passport control where there was only one officer on duty causing unnecessary delay. At the Luggage claim area, only one conveyor belt was in use with an inept, carefree attendant who remained on a phone call that gained his attention more than his duty of sorting the luggages.

TY and I by coincidence were on the same flight and it just became economically beautiful for us to hire a cab to our hotel. If not for language difficulty we would have been an easy prey for our cab driver with whom we argued with some Nigerian aggression that we were just not ready to pay more than 35 euros when the innocent and, maybe, God fearing man was telling us with a crooked accent that our journey should cost roughly 15 euros that we took for 50! It took the intervention of a policeman who also was as dumb as the cabman for us to simmer down and continue the journey as we kept our eyes on the meter.

We got to Restaurados with the meter reading a little less than 15 euros. The short and stocky driver feeling vindicated took us right to the doorstep of our hotel located on the second and third floors of a an 18th century building.

As we alighted from the cab, we were greeted by an air akin to a carnival! Even before exploring the area, we knew there and then we were in for the fun of our life. And we were not disappointed.

Staying at the city centre gave us an opportunity to have a good feel of Lisbon. The transport system is amazingly easy and cheap. The Metro(Underground) is the easiest even for an illiterate. There are four lines(linha) red, blue, green and yellow! To get to the convention centre and return cost a little less than 3 euros and took about 30 minutes. From Restaurados, Blue line took us to Sao Sebastiano where we changed to Red line that took us to Oriente, where Feira Internacional de Lisboa, the Rotary International Convention centre is located. An expansive compound of massive structures, Feira is comparable to the the past convention centres and swallowed the rather unusually thin population of Rotarians. Though I don’t have the figure of attendance, with my experience of the last 8 Conventions, I could estimate fairly well.

The convention, though conventional in outlay and program content, was not as bubbly as expected. The few plenary sessions I attended paraded some powerful speakers. The break out sessions too had a lot to offer! The House of Friendship was beautifully decorated but sparsely occupied! The convention closed yesterday, devoid of the usual nostalgic feelings, with lots of Rotarians hurrying out of Lisbon to avoid being caught up in a proposed civil demonstration for fear of it escalating into an unrest and strife!

Generally, Lisbon, an old city of over 2000 years represents another european cultural heritage with laid back population who try to be friendly but appear less so perhaps as a result of their indolence in learning other languages. I cannot understand the basis of their proposed strike of 27th June! Is it in conformity with their peers in Brazil? It is in Portugal that I’ve heard of reverse brain drain! It is an irony of fate and history that young men and women in Portugal now seek opportunities in Angola, Mozambique and the Congos that were formerly Portuguese colonies! The global economic downturn is not sparing any nation And from my own assessment, life seems to be relatively good in Lisbon! I feel they can live life the way it is, rather than the way it ought to be, a Nigerian perspective you will say! Maybe there’s more to it than meets my innocent and short sighed eyes. Whatever he outcome of the strike is and whatever the fate of fellow Rotarians especially from Nigeria caught in the web unprepared is, time will tell.

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Here’s another;


Fellow Rotarians and loved ones,
Your various comments on and praises for my previous pieces are appreciated and serve as the tonic for this and future articles. Please enjoy.

As I took my seat in the almost empty Coach J of Virgin Train, a First Class coach courtesy of my friend of over 30 years and host, Ayodeji Osobu, on my return trip to London yesterday, I remembered that I slept all through my outward journey to Manchester on Friday. I decided to stay awake this time, to have a good look at the Country side. And that meant fighting off an almost inevitable nap consequent upon the hang over of an eventful Friday Night.

Beyond that, I am specially blessed with ease of falling asleep even in the noisiest environment and most awkward position. Glory be to God!

Manchester typifies the northern England cities with easy life, no hustle and bustle characteristic of London. With my experience in Harrogate, Leeds, Newcastle, Birmingham etc in the past, it is easy for me to make this conclusion. No wonder you find more of Nigerians in tangible professions making their living there leaving all the riff-raffs in London. A comparison of this situation with Lagos versus Ibadan and Abeokuta can only suffer on the basis of economic activities!
Trust Nigerians! There’s a joint called Roots in Central Manchester that serves “Ishiewu”, “Nwongwo”, “Shawa” among other Nigerian delicacies! That was our port of TGIF! Cold drinks, Beers and stout originating from Nigeria abound with Naija hip hop emanating from the juke box of a DJ with typical Ibo accent. Before I knew it, the joint transformed into a nite club by 12 midnight with influx of young men and ladies in “hot” dresses! As I watched all sorts of things happening inside and outside the joint, I couldn’t but wished to grow younger!
At my instance, we left the joint with a lot to talk about at about 3am.

Ayo lives at Imperial Point, a magnificent, beautiful. block of serviced apartments in Old Trafford overlooking a canal across which Manchester United Stadium stands out in what looks like an industrial area. “Old” because there’s a new Trafford that is closer to the city centre. The Old Trafford, I was told was originally occupied by shanties built by merchants and fishermen. Like it is happening at Ilubinrin in Lagos, Old tafford now houses magnificent buildings among which is The Imperial War Museum and industries with jetties along Salford Quays!

To keep me awake, I ordered for a cup of Cappuccino which was delivered promptly and with the typical courtesy of Virgin establishment. Just then, the train left platform 5 almost unnoticed. No noise, no jerk except the driver’s (mind you, they no longer call them engine drivers because they don’t operate locomotive engines)announcement and relative motion that accelerated to what I believe was between 120 and 140 kilometers per hour speed. I sipped the coffee with strong faith as the train sped on with so many things on through my mind while gazing, through the window at the beautiful and spectacular countryside!

The countryside reminded me of the exciting picture I had while in a similar electric train from Paris to Lille way back in 1978.
All the way from Manchester to London I could not see an expanse of land up to a plot that was left uncultivated except close to towns and villages. There are agricultural settlements all the way with various arable crops at various stages of development giving a beautiful jig saw of various colours! Those at the flowery stage giving red, yellow and pink, puple etc while those already harvested and withering off present brown and grey within the ubiquitous green also of various shades! Whao! What a scenery! There are also grazing portions for cattle and sheep!

Compared with the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, you will have to contend with the various Religious Camps and Trailer Parks with their attendant nuisances! Nigeria is fast becoming a country where there are more churches than factories and more Pastors than Managers!

Thick forests that harbour criminals also abound especially beyond Ibadan and Ijebu as you move into the hinterland! Nigeria was once described by a French diplomat friend of mine as a forest because that was all he saw from Lagos to Ibadan in 1977, just before the expressway was commissioned! I took him up, albeit with a baseless argument!
Visiting France a little later opened my eyes!
My little son, Bayonle was to corroborate, on a lighter mood, the Frenchman’s assertion in 1997, 20 years later! My father then kept this unusual pet, a crocodile! My son seeing it for the first time raced to tell me with a lot of excitement, ‘this Lalupon is a forest, daddy’ just for sighting a croc. I laughed my head off!

The train just went past Milton Keynes another quiet town, towards the north, about 30 minutes from London by rail maybe 1hour by road, when there was an SOS announcement for a doctor to come to the aid of a passenger in Coach C! Pronto, I was there to see a young man in his late 20s, most likely an Arab, complaining of palpitation and chest discomfort. He looked anxious, sweaty and somewhat distressed! His pulse was pounding and heart rate about 120 beats per minute. I threw some probing questions and in no time was able to arrive at a diagnosis of Drug- induced Tachycardia! The stupid boy had taken a powerful chinese aphrodisiac earlier in the day! He reminded me of the recklessness of the driver in Frankfurt! Is recklessness an arabian culture? I advised he be taken to the nearest hospital for detoxification with an antidote and intravenous fluids. Getting an ambulance to pick him up at the next station cost us extra 30 minutes.

As we got to London Euston station, I could count not less than ten other Virgin trains waiting to be boarded or discharging passengers! My mind now wandered to this ubiquitous company that has its hand in virtually every essential need of life and also making a success of it! From Virgin ‘tooth pick’ to Virgin Airline! Is there anything that Virgin does not do other than party politics? Virgin India, Virgin America, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin everywhere are success stories in the Aviation industry. My conclusion is that Richard Branson, the founder and CEO is an avid, incorruptible and diligent businessman who cherishes his integrity! In a conservative environment, he has built a large, reputable business empire. His withdrawal from Nigeria, perhaps his first sad story of failure, was not unconnected with CORRUPTION, an entropy that gives me palpitation and missed beats each time it crosses my mind! And it does so many times!

A man of immense means and vision and style, I heard, Richard Branson has an ISLAND to himself in the Pacific Ocean from where he will probably be smiling at the lot of Nigerians who are in a prison.
May I call on all of us to rise up and never get tired of trying to get out of our PRISON where there seems to be no doors or windows but only concrete walls and barbed wire fences.
Disasters are looming in our society and we all owe it a duty to. speak up and speak out! As Wole Soyinka warned us, “The man dies in him who keeps quiet in the face of injustice”. Corruption is the greatest injustice in our land converting it into a prison manned by vicious warders!

Happy Sunday to all and I wish the convention Goers an exciting time in Lisbon.

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    • Cecila: When shopping from the internet, a numerate of the great unwashed ofttimes take time to scan done a twosome of reviews on the merchandise ahead qual
    • cycatrx: Kem dela creame....... :d
    • bybaaaa: Lol. I just saw this thanks to oumissa. I love you. :*


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