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LEAVE YOUR KIDS ALONE!

I once lived in a part of New Jersey called North Bergen. It was quite European by design in most parts and was obviously an escape for all who had a phobia for the clutter of New York City. Most people, including me, worked in the City and the morning and evening commute was a social phenomenon to be observed. I liked it though. I was constantly drawn to the evening and weekends of the North Bergen life, which I have come to appreciate as a microcosm of big City conurbations.

Some evenings and weekends, I go jogging or biking in the park and derive my motivation from the older populations who display such pleasure at keeping fit than a fledgling male such as this writer. After combusting the calories I will usually sit on one of the park benches, earphones in place to pump some good low notes, and begin my careful observation on one of the highways of human activity. In doing this, I was particularly drawn to kids who were at the park training at one sport or the other, in particular Baseball and Soccer. Standing and sitting at the sidelines were several parents watching carefully over their wards.

During my many evening trips home from work, I had passively noticed that the parks were always bubbling with people exercising and parents who had brought their kids for after school training in their chosen sport. These are the baseball moms and soccer moms that wield so much influence in typical American sociocultural and political life. I recalled this from my park observatory and moved my attention to the several parents who were screaming and cheering from the sidelines and I thought how beautiful it was to see parents who are so involved in the lives of their children, something we scarcely see in this part of the world.
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Live in Lagos – Can I help?

Help by force!

I arrived Lagos like an Israelite carrying the half-baked dough into a determined exodus. I had absolutely no idea what to expect, particularly how I will react to the weather, coming from extreme conditions like we saw this year in the Northeast US. Nothing really changed about the humid conditions, even at 8pm the wind was warm and slightly noxious. But hey! I am used to this, just have to acclimatize a bit. Err…I will dare not talk about Murtala Mohammed Airport, else it will be the rantings of a raving lunatic. Lekki Airport to the rescue!!!!!!!!!!

The road from the airport still is the famished road. It is fast becoming a bush path and reminds me of the road from Onitsha to Owerri in the late 1980s into early 1990s, It may soon need the kind of old Mercedes-Benz 9-11 trucks to ply it. It still amazes me that the government expects people to encounter that road first on a visit to the country through Lagos. Again it may be one of those roads that fall into the grey divide of Federal and State roads and no one is responsible for it. Very soon I will get dangerously upset to code red levels and will fix it. If the government refuses, private business making a fortune refuses, very rich men whole have stolen us blind also refuse to act socially responsible (at least to save face and the impending anger of the State), mere men like me will one day carry a digger and shovel to repair the road. At least beyond our children traveling safely, the police checkpoints will run smoothly and not be afraid to stop more vehicles and harass tired travelers. I have an idea, I will first start by asking my neighbour from Borno, who owns an active barn in his backyard (suitable to shoot a medieval movie), to lend me his cattle so they can graze the weeds shooting from the islands on the entire stretch of the airport road.
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ON RIBADU AND OTHER MATTERS…

I agree to a certain extent with the analysis of some who claim a Ribadu-Adeola (Muslim-Muslim) ticket will not fly because of the primitive tendencies of the voting population. This is political realism in Nigeria due to the abuse ordinary Nigerians have suffered from our early politicians who chose to play ethnic and religious politics rather than on ideals and purpose. Its no surprise then that at a time when we should be allowing the intellectual likes of Pat Utomi and Donald Duke create a niche for idea-politik, we are still grappling with ancient and tactless strategies.

For those who premise the similarity of this ticket to the Abiola/Kingibe ticket of 1993, they forget too soon that the political reality then is far removed from what it is today. Every Nigerian was united in booting out the military by any means; even if it meant a Gorilla from the forested slopes of the hinterland was to be presented on a party platform, we were ready to vote it in. So we are in a different season, when the heterogeneous filaments and antennae of the average voter is hyper-sensitive (as some commentaries have already sounded the marginalization of Ibos). Things are different now and we shouldn’t ignore this reality.

But since I assume that everyone in this localized cyberspace is rich in comprehending matters of higher concern to the nation, we must never at any time be tempted to disregard the ideal and trade it for existential issues. Yes Ribadu and Adeola are both Muslim, but does that really matter? Shouldn’t we in this heavy discourse be analyzing thoroughly what their manifestos contain to see how strategic these men are in articulating the desire of the common Nigerian? Since our universities have failed to exert influence on the system by organizing national debates as done in other countries, then we as verified loyalist to Nigeria’s cause must raise this issue to the fore and educate ourselves before we make choices based on cosmetic ratings.
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FOR WANT OF MY FUTURE MY CHILDHOOD WAS LOST: RECLAIMING MY CHILDHOOD(2)

Some persons would think that looking back to your childhood for guidance is a delusional attempt at escaping from confronting the challenges of today. Realism seems to suggest that we do a critical analysis of the present and hone our skills to meet the demands, thereby rightly fitting into the flow of things and a making a profit thereof. I had many friends in high school, having witnessed the era of the Pax-Computera, began chasing a dream of becoming computer gurus and migrating to locations where the sector was intense. Some made it and are enjoying the pleasures that come with runaway successes of the computer age, but many others remained totally frustrated at locations where the grind was slower. With the burst of the dot-com bubble came also the burst of many dreams stimulated by glossy success stories.

Years later, I was to witness how several friends, who landed the shores of the United States with a degree and sometimes a post-graduate qualification, would scramble to start a new profession in the medical field such as Nursing as well as in Accounting. Nurses and Accountants were the in-thing-professions and if you wanted to have security in life’s market, ‘prevailing wisdom’ spoke to a high consideration in this regard. The result is that society is replete with examples of the walking dead, alive to nothing but a sense of survival and a total coldness to the inner promptings and cries of a stifled childhood.

All around me are those living within the socially carved cocoon of convenience, while living without the essence of a true call. And what is worse is that the more complicated the world becomes due to advancement in knowledge and the apparatus to explore such, the more it becomes very difficult to wade through the demands of life. We are born into a season when it is the times that dictate what men must do and not men dictating what time must afford. So many of us are simply living for the moment because it feels like the seconds are whizzing past without our capacity to interject it. So we engage society on its own terms and not ours.
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NIGERIA AT 50: ARE THE “BEAUTIFUL ONES” YET BORN?

Photo by One Laptop per Child

One great advantage of personification is that it helps reduce an abstract entity to a relatively understandable concept. When we use the word “She” to refer to a country, it is because we can append certain human characteristics in assessing its existential issues. This traps complexities into units that the mere mind can comprehend and so pass due judgments. When we say Nigeria is 50 years old, it could be totally lost on us if we do not appropriately personify the country to understand the troubles it faces as well as the gravity of such. Perhaps if we can imagine for a moment a 50-year-old woman who has been severally raped, duped, blackmailed, and wasted, yet still lumbering on a dark road, then we may understand what the country has been through. How many persons of that age would suffer such dehumanization and yet remain composed and pretend to be fine? That is the best way to capture the past 50 years of Nigeria’s existence, or I should say recent history. And worse still is the fact that the woman is still undergoing an immoral bludgeoning by wayfarers and vile caretakers whose bellies and ambitions are their primary concern. So one wonders then for how long her pretense will last without an implosion.

Today however, an encouraging fact to know is that there is an awakening among Nigeria’s children. Silently, many voices are starting to cry out for change, while steadily there is growth in loyalty, like that of a young husband, within the precincts of her communities.  Also there is the rise of an army of technical competence within her young population (disputed by many); an army equipped with the overflows of a globalized world running fast on the cyber lanes. This is one comforting detail I look to when forecasting the trajectory of Nigeria’s growth and development in all sectors.

But I fear. I fear because there lies an apparent disconnect between the visions of these progressive ones and those who hold or seek hold power. A greater fear for me is that more of the “Beautiful Ones” are succumbing to the rot in the system and getting anesthetized by the need to be successful. Those who have stepped out to see the workings and possibilities of other societies have become frustrated and their frustrations are further marinated by the already existing tangible angst on the streets. It sometimes feels like we have lost the present generations to a calamitous decadence, to the point that even the unborn child harbours the seeds of national iniquity. Not only that, but it feels as though we received nothing good from the generation before and then lack the capacity to pass anything good to the generation ahead.
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WHO WILL TELL OUR UNTOLD STORIES?

After I watched one of Ishmael Beah‘s several lectures on his book, I was rightly inspired on the fact that no one will ever tell your story as good as you. With a carefully woven narrative and a well coloured setting to bring into our imaginations the trajectory of the Sierra Leonean war and its implication on children, Beah succeeds in holding any reader spell-bound for all moments spent juicing the book. After I read the book, I asked myself who could have told this story better than Beah himself? I read beyond the language and the imageries it used to communicate the story. I felt the emotions streaming from the lines betwixt the text, and literally walked the frightful paths of labyrinth-like forest of Sierra Leone‘s countryside along with the confused children. It can only be told by Beah and he did justice to his story.

This points me to the fact that Africans over the years have never really told their stories for what it is. We have often received attention because someone else told the story and defined the narrative way too early before we come to grips with the fact that we are not active in the conversation. This could be an extreme characterization of the issue, but perhaps I can only express it this way so we fully get my point. With Africa having experienced so much in the last 50 years, there is a lot to storyboard. We stand the risk of our unborn children having to read the stories we didn’t write just as we read the stories of “how we were discovered”. Oh! that I read from my father’s great grand father on how his people met with the Caucasoid foreigners that first stepped foot on our shores. Maybe my understanding of our history would have been different. Even though the sages have passed down wise words woven into our vernacular conversations, and I have been taught songs and moonlight stories that help my appreciation of where I come from, I am still bereft of a complete capture of the story of my origin. Is there something to do in provoking the dead to talk.

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On the orgin of HIV/AIDS

This discourse comes out of a major argument I was engaged in with a couple of my colleagues in school. When I could not provide answers for major questions raised I knew I had to read and research more on the issue of HIV/AIDS and not remain a casual partaker in a global phenomenon. A major concern for me about the penning of this article is for my fellow Africans who are faced with a menace threatening to decimate its flowering populace. As we contend with social forces that have aforetime worked against us. We are beset yet again with another unresolved mystery, bringing a new dimension to our struggle as a continent to end our darkness and the thrust of continental dependency. I have never really believed in statistics imported from across the sea about every facet of the Africa life, rather I have always lived to be objective and make my conclusions from what is relatable. This makes me question the veracity of HIV/AIDS statistics on Africa.

HIV, I have believed is a phenomenon that has been politicized to the suffering of Africa plummeting us within the vicious triangle of economic, political and health dependency. Have you ever wondered why there is much ado about managing a disease that very few have opted to tell us where it came from? The medical field, the media, and government have not enlightened us about its origin, yet much money and efforts have gone into enlightening us about how to prevent or live with it. Sometimes, understanding the source of problem could as well lead you into its solution.

They first incident of AIDS is reported to have been in Los Angeles in 1981. It came to be established as a disease found mostly between homosexual and bisexual. Barely 15 years after Africa has about 80% of the reported HIV/AIDS cases, especially sub-Saharan Africa. Now Africa is heavily dependent on external aid to help it combat a disease we cannot find out its origin. I researched several materials including the Internet and discovered there was a dearth of information on where this plague came from. Almost the entire medical field, if not all, believes that the disease derived from some natural evolutionary event. But Dr. Jonathan Mann who was according to the medical field, WHO/AIDS czar, made a profound statement shortly before his death in an Airline Crash. He stated that more than the medical significant problem AIDS is a “socio-political imposition.” Is AIDS man-made? This is the dreadful question that pervades my mind through out my search for what information had on its origin. While I do not want to draw conclusions but to provoke you to having an inquisitive mind, I cannot but be tempted to conceive AIDS as iatrogenic. This is because of the unique way this virus works.

HIV, which is the cause of AIDS, is a retrovirus that possesses a special enzyme called “Reverse Transcriptase”. This enzyme is able to make a copy DNA of the viral RNA, which enables the virus to reverse the normal flow of genetic information and to incorporate its viral genes into the genetic material of its host. This virus may remain latent for an often lengthy period of time until it is reactivated. A major step in the HIV infection is that it binds itself to a receptor called the CD4, which is found on the surface of the T4 cells (your soldier cells that fight infection in the body). This way, it gains entrance into the nucleus of the T4 cells, grows and reproduces within it, and then destroys the T4 cell. A point to note is that whichever cell in the body carries the CD4 on its surface will get attacked by the HIV. This is almost the same way a computer virus works, by attaching itself to files and then finding its way to the computer system’s hard drive, thereby crashing it. The process looks highly planned and instructed. This raises questions in my mind to the likelihood that AIDS is iatrogenic.

On reading the Leonard Horowitz postulations on the danger of HIV/ AIDS, I began to wonder if Western scientists are not hiding things from the common man on the street. Horowitz believes that HIV/AIDS is the outcome of “specific vaccination experiments”. The WHO specialist, the late Dr Jonathan Mann, buttresses this. According to him, “AIDS is undoubtedly man-made. I can now assert its iatrogenic origin”. He further controversially links those developments to the early or mid-1970s. From some of the materials I came across, I discovered that most of the investigating scientists seem to link the AIDS pandemic to the Hepatitis B vaccine. In 2001, there was the publication of the Royal Society of London. This society published its proceedings on its enquiry into the origin of AIDS, in which they focused on the theory that contaminated Polio vaccines triggered the HIV/ AIDS pandemic, after which consideration was given for the theory of the HB vaccine. The publication stated that clear resolutions were made by the society of which I quote some profound parts: –

“There should be an investigation by an international committee mostly composed of Non-medical people about how a rather obvious and plausible theory (of AIDS’s origin from contaminated vaccines) came to be proved and restricted from publication for so long, especially when important consequences about mankind’s’ worse epidemic and even more important consequences for others, possibly even worse that may be following, hang in the balance”.

Faced with the terrible burden of AIDS, stories that HIV was introduced into Africa from the West by an accident with the OPV (Oral Polio Vaccine) or intentionally by the USA (Central Intelligence Agency), have gained widespread audience. Never the less, because natural and iatrogenic transmissions of retrovirus are not mutually exclusive, these are the very powerful conclusions that cannot be overlooked by African leaders. Our governments through institutions like A.U or ECOWAS should present a common front on constituting an inquiry into this “Afrocidic issue” (if the word permits).

It is now widely accepted that the Cut Hunter Theory of natural transfer holds no substance. This theory alleges that an African native received a bloody wound or infected splash while preparing for food a chimpanzee carrying a similar AIDS virus found in monkeys i.e. the Simian Immuno-Virus (SIV). The Royal Society of London’s delegate had concerned themselves with the OPV contamination, since the vaccine was partially got from growing life polio viruses in the monkey kidney cells. They concluded that HIV origin and AIDS was not likely to have come from polio vaccine transmissions as chimpanzees were not proven to have been used during the manufacture of these vaccines. They however left open the possibility of contamination of the HB vaccines for which Leonard Horowitz stands his ground.

From the book “The Origin of AIDS: Darwinian or Lamarckian” written by T. Burr, J.M Hyman and the famous Dr. Gerard Myers who is the US governments’ Chief DNA Sequence Analyst in New Mexico, they claim that some genetic sequencing studies links to sometimes around the mid 1970s the punctuated origin of AIDS events. They said the most likely cause of this animal to man disease was some man influenced acts involving monkeys. But they were not certain if chimpanzees were used especially for the making of polio vaccines. But Dr. Horowitz (a Harvard degree holder) attempts to answer this in his book “Emerging Viruses, AIDS and Ebola Native, Accident or Intentional?” I believe every African should read this thought provoking book. He in this book with backed documents proved that chimpanzees with contaminated viruses were used in the growing of HB vaccines which was used on homosexual men in the US (New York City) and central African people around the mid 1970s. I was absolutely appalled looking through this book and the evidential instances made. I keep asking, with such research work done by prominent scientists such as this, why is there still little attention given to this threatening issue?

In the second part of this discourse, I will take a very close look on prevailing and modern evidence on the origin of AIDS. I sincerely hope that we will gather enough momentum to prevail on the authorities in Africa to sound a clarion call for a deeper investigation into this menace. As much as we are privileged to enjoy divine intervention, we must secure the faith of the weak. What is African Development when we are on the brink of extinction? How can we fold our hands and watch 30% of a whole continent battle HIV/AIDS and we claim we can only pray. I believe we should allow our prayers bring us into divine inspiration on how to permanently root out this disease from our continent if God’s agenda will materialize in our time.

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