Diezani And The Spectacle Of Death, By Bamidele Ademola-Olateju

imageDateline 1988: I spent my NYSC year devoted to the study of religions. Islam was the most distant to me. I was born and raised a strong Methodist. I learnt the rudiments of Arabic, read volumes of Bukhari’s Sahih and committed 500 to memory. I studied Islamic Jurisprudence by reading Muwatta Imam Malik cover to cover. By the time I finished reading Maliki’s school of thought, I lost sleep. I was almost running mad. Life lost its meaning. I started looking at heaven, imagining it. Then came one book. It changed my view of life fundamentally – Spectacle Of Death: Including Glimpses Of Life Beyond The Grave(Khawaja Mohammed). Since reading that book, I think of death at least 3 times a day. The fact of death, became all too real to a very, very young me stepping into early adulthood. I urge you to buy and read the book. Your life will be different afterwards. Alas! I was preparing myself for what lies ahead. All seem well and good, I got married and battled infertility and several health scares. It baked me! Without a child but blessed with a loving husband and years in the reference section of my University library exposed me to reflections and deep thinking. I got to know about the randomness of life and all that comes with it. I came to profound understanding of life and the nature of things. I came very close to transcendence! Sometimes before this millennium, I vowed to work just enough to feed and live my life in service. Do some people think they will live for ever? Are they not awed by the vastness of the universe and the fact that they are a tiny insignificant speck in it? Do they attend burials? Do they reflect? Do they think about life and death? Do they know that position is an opportunity? Do they know there are no guarantees in life? The probing questions about life, living and dying are endless for those who think!
The picture of Diezani as taken by Bashorun Dele Momodu is the spectacle of cancer. The gaunt face, the bald head and the weight loss. May God heal her! If you have seen how cancer ravages the body, you will not wish it on your enemy. That said, the plunder of Diezani and many like her have robbed many cancer victims in Nigeria their chance for survival. Diezani has access to the best cancer care in the world including experimental drugs, many don’t! Diezani has access to heavy duty pain relievers like Morphine and Dilaudid that makes the fight easier, many cancer sufferers in Nigeria, shout to their deaths. Diezani has access to vials and vials of Erythropoietin (EPO), I have seen cancer patients and people with hypoxia die when they could no longer afford EPO. Diezani hospital bed will be like paradise for millions of Nigerians!
I am a farmer, I have the unique privilege of traveling the world and seeing the best of living at the same time, I drive through villages and see the best of poverty. What drives the looters of our patrimony? If Diezani had performed creditably well and LUTH is worldclass, I am sure thousands of Nigerians will throng LUTH to support her, show her love and shower her with prayers. Nigerians are very kind. Do the looters ever think of their mortality? Have they ever pondered about the futility of life? Do they ever reason that all they looted can still be squandered in a generation because “owokoniran”! Do they ever know that inherited money does no good if the fundamentals of values, character and hard work is not taught to the inheritors? Look at the Rockefellers, the Carnegies, The Vandebilts, The Kennedy’s; they still work! They are devoted to public service! What is wrong with us? Again, I wish Diezani well. I hope she gets better and I hope she survives. Her survival is important to me, because I want justice to come to her, or we bring her to justice. whichever one. I want the ginormous money she stole recovered, handed over by her own hands.
For the rest of us, I leave you this quote from the greatest genius of the last century – Albert Einstein. “A human being is part of the whole called by us, universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. The true value of a human being is determined by the measure and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive.” Thanks for reading, may God protect us from bad diseases and bad desires!

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