Archive | August, 2012

Dearth Of Knowledge Makes People Slump

28 Aug

By Ekerete Umoren

Excellent, but sad, very sad observations. Our society has slowly been lulled into a state it can do less and less of its own thinking but depends on individuals who themselves cannot think to do their thinking for them.

We have also depended more on “what we don’t know cannot hurt us” and so some would even avoid doctors that way “nothing would be found”.

While I am not advocating anyone should try to live forever in this realm, I believe we all do have our bit to contribute before we move on and so there is no sense in hurrying the process of our demise while a lot still remains to be done.

I know some would point to statistics we would die anyway and that is true. Only a child would not have come to that realization by now. Truth is we now know there are a few things like good nutrition, exercise, weight control that significantly affect the statistics and also leave a better quality of life. Beyond these, there is also the fact even some real vicious sicknesses can be controlled or cured if caught early hence the reason to see the doctors.

Beyond these direct dealing with one’s health, what your write-up has also highlighted is the extremely powerful effect of our thinking on everything we do. Even the highly educated among us do fall to very significant destructive modes of thinking and, while we can overcome most things we put our minds to – alas we are fully trapped by our thinking.

Our people, most of them, have come to a full conviction they are in no way responsible for what befalls them in life and so we are always looking for whom to blame. Read the writings on the forums carefully and you would see the fatalistic thread, sometimes almost invisibly, woven through. Naturally, if I am not responsible for my woes, there is really no point in my trying to solve them, is there? I need to go after the one responsible. We are also quite willing to listen endlessly to those who would point at the others who are responsible for our woes.

(So for instance, if corruption is our problem, it is only the faceless government functionary who is responsible, the fact I don’t hesitate to pay the 40 Naira to the so called cop at the illegal checkpoint does not clue me in I am doing exactly what I am condemning, howbeit on a smaller scale and from an opposing standpoint because of my opportunity.)

What I believe this does to our psyche is we have come to believe we can flout any laws man-made or natural and get away by “bribing” our way. Unfortunately, the natural laws, like that of our bodies, do not succumb to the corruption and so we pay in unusual ways.

As for why our parents lived so long and our contemporaries are dropping off at a much more tender age, it is a curious thing I have also observed. When you hear of someone dying back home your mind wanders to what the age of the person would be. You tend to notice they are either really aged, like in their 80’s or they are really young, like in their 40’s and then there is the massive gap, so something is definitely wrong as we should have something akin to a normal distribution or some similarly symmetrical statistical construct.

My speculation ties this phenomenon to some of the things you highlighted. Our parents did a lot of physical activity not having the early luxury of jumping in the car from end to end while growing up. Not so for us and, while this is a good thing, it also carries the bad side. Most of us spend our time in sedentary jobs. If we do not supplement with some decent exercise, we are inviting the grave early.

Another thing that has changed is the diet. Most people, in days of yore ate the lean meat they could catch once in a while. Today we have chicken from the farms, pork from the farms, beef from the north, etc. Too much of this particular thing is definitely not good as we have come to learn. Especially when this massive dietary change occurs in just a generation it is a real shock to our system. The usually terminal, especially the way we manage it in Nigeria, chronic diseases like diabetes enter and take their statistical toll.

Similarly, the sexually transmitted diseases like AIDS, which though somewhat controllable and is highly preventable in other climes, becomes an almost instantaneous death sentence when it shows up on our shores.

Couple all these with the fact our health care delivery is not in the best of state and can place unacceptable burdens on its recipients and the picture begins to paint itself why our life expectancy is not really what it should be.

Add things like the transportation accidents mostly caused by untrained or poorly trained vehicle operators (I can always count several motorcyclists who appear to have billboards around their necks screaming “kill me”, “hit me”, “run into me”, etc. when I am driving in Akwa Ibom) and juxtapose with the lack of trauma medical care and the numbers are depressed even further.

I am sure others can contribute what they believe has added to the premature mortality of our people.

Back to your points – there are simple things we, as a people can do to repurpose the statistics in our favor and no one is going to do it for us.

Ekerete Umoren

Columbia, MD

The “slumping” phenomenon

27 Aug

The “slumping” phenomenon………..

There is an epidemic of both men and women “slumping” and dying. On a recent trip home, it was disconcerting to be informed that my old friends are “slumping” and dying frequently. Underlying news of their death would be elaborate stories of how some spirit had “struck” them to death—almost always confirmed by a church pastor/prophet. It is bad enough that my beloved friends are dying off but the reasons behind their demise have added to my pain and worry about not only the physical but mental health of my people. It is bad enough that someone left home in the morning seemingly healthy and did not make it back home—the suggested reason for their death adding insult to injury. I asked a friend once about the cause of another friend’s death and his responded sarcastically—death. A humorous attempt at lightening-up what was serious and unpalatable news. I am reminded of a time not so long ago that I asked my parents, of blessed memory, why their weekend activities consisted mostly of attending funerals—they simply smiled and suggested that I would understand much later why. Unfortunately for me I find myself in the same shoes now much earlier in life than they did. In my mind things should be much better now than in their time. You see, my parents and their cronies lived full lives and died expectedly at ripe old ages. I have no other frame of reference. On reflection, I wonder why our health situation appears to be worse now than in the past. Did our parents do a much better job of taking care of themselves than we do? Was the health care system much better in their days than it is now? What did they know then that we do not?

In many instances, our parents were lucky to live through birth and survive early childhood to adulthood with all the perils of growing up without adequate healthcare or pre-natal care for their mothers. The age of many adults were marked by cataclysmic health events. My father for instance suggested that he was born in the year “influenza” came to Nigeria. It was based on this that he was able to retrospectively estimate his age. The month and date, you can imagine was mostly guess work based on the agricultural and market calendar, although he seemed quite certain of it. Birth was by attendant birth, I suppose, although I am not an expert in this area. All the same you can imagine that they went through all kinds of illnesses that we now experience and more without—the benefit of modern medicine and coordinated health information systems. I was much luckier; my father had struggled to get us out of poverty and made it to being a university lecturer. I had the benefit of the university health center which was well organized and excellent. Treatment was timely and I can still remember bouts with malaria, jaundice and assorted illnesses that no matter how difficult were resolved. I also remember a time prior to this that an ear infection was treated with the juice squeezed from fresh onions neatly placed on orange leaves—no antibiotics. Amazingly many survived this and many more unusual treatments and local techniques. Perhaps we were all “lucky” or strictly survived by the grace of God.

The living conditions of our parent’s time when compared to now would be like comparing apples to oranges. Their life-styles perhaps due to conditions of their time, was simpler and much harder than it is now. For instance; the farm work, distance traveled to get an education and the general struggle was tough. Some of us had a little taste of this struggle and some were lucky enough to have the luxury of traveling to school in a car and never really knowing what suffering is—especially if born after the civil war. We are more prosperous now, better educated (some may disagree), live in better houses and environment and eat a “healthier” diet. So we can say that the quality of life is much improved. What would account for what seems to be a decline in life expectancy in our country Nigeria? It is reported that the average life expectancy in Nigeria in 2000 was 51.56 years and by 2011 had declined to 47.56 (World Bank figures). All indications are that this decline occurred even as we have become a more affluent country. Without boring you with statistic the average worldwide life expectancy presently is approximately 65.5 years, while that of countries like the USA is in the 70’s. A more realistic comparison would be that of a country like Rwanda, where the life expectancy is estimated to be approximately 55 years in 2011. Incidentally, the age of most of my friends who are slumping would fall right within the accepted margins of error for this estimated life expectancy for Nigeria. Why the anomaly?

What is most alarming to me is that my friends are “slumping” from, in my untrained point of view, treatable and manageable medical conditions such as Malaria, Diabetes, Heart Attacks and Strokes. All have local definitions and ascribable spiritual connections. What I am fully aware of is that such illnesses are preventable and treatable through appropriate health education, change in life style and adequate treatment, despite what in my books is misguided “spiritual’ diagnosis. I recollect a conversation I had with one of my friends about his health condition. He had disclosed to me that he felt dizzy and had gone to see the doctor who then “tied his hands” (local reference for checking his Blood pressure-BP) and was told that his BP was very high. Asked the numbers he shared that it was 200/110. To explain, the high number is what is referred to as the Systolic blood pressure and the lower number the Diastolic blood pressure. The recent goal is that BP should be below 120/80. These numbers were extremely high; and based on personal experience very dangerous. I was alarmed and let him know my feelings. He abruptly interrupted me, suggesting that he had been delivered through prayers and miracles in his church. He argued that “unbelievers” would not understand this. I immediately implored with him to seek medical attention and that he needed to be on medication, suggesting to him that God is the author of knowledge that heals this diseases through medicine. I went on and on—to the extent of disclosing to him that I am a survivor of this disease and have been on medication for well over 15 years, imploring that he seek appropriate help. After much botherance on my part, as if to soothe my concern, he shared that he had begun native treatment, further alarming me. A long story short—my friend had a major stroke a month later and is now deceased after a “slumping” incident. You can imagine my annoyance and frustration when his family members suggested that a church “prophet” had posthumously gotten insight that he was somehow struck by a “spirit” sent by a relative. Insult to injury!

It seems to me that there is a disconnection here—when people are dying of treatable diseases due to what I would term ignorance, unholy deception and misinformation. We are failing each other either by not educating ourselves properly, passing on information or ignoring obvious signs of trouble. Apart from the larger question of our dilapidated healthcare system (a topic for another day) there is a more fundamental issue of our deteriorating logical thinking and lack of adequate mental health services. The world it seems is moving past us at a rate which will doom us if we do not have a collective effort to combat issues of this nature. These are preventable health issues. As one ages the body stops functioning as it should or is not as resilient and naturally needs assistance. A body that was able to tolerate a high fever may be unable to do so anymore as one ages. An unintended result of “healthy” eating is obesity which by the way leads to adult onset diabetes. It is the nature of life. What was treatable with “onions” is now treatable with antibiotics—proper information. It is bad enough that we have incurable diseases, let us at the very least deal properly with the ones that are curable and can be managed. Why are we so reliant on crude methods and posthumous predictions by people of dubious intent that are preying on our individual and collective ignorance? We have to find a way to reverse the trend and help save the lives of our loved ones.

Please take the time to care for yourself. Seek medical attention at the first sign of illness and routinely at least once a year. Try to understand your family medical history and respond accordingly and proactively. Avoid self diagnosis or basing your decisions on unprofessional help. Utilize whatever is left of your primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare institutions—just maybe we can prevent some slumping.

Paul Inyang – 8/25/12

Paul Inyang

Maryland, USA

US Ambassador to Nigeria Commissions Mega Fish Project at CRARN Centre Eket

27 Aug

By Don Oliver

Ambassador Terence P. McCulley and Consul General Jeffrey Hawkins cutting the Fish Project tape at CRARN Centre

The United State Ambassador to Nigeria , Mr. Terence McCulley, on Saturday
commissioned an ultra modern fish project at Child’s Right and
Rehabilitation Network (CRARN) Centre, Ikot Afaha in Eket, the major oil
city of Akwa Ibom State in Nigeria.

Speaking at the commissioning ceremony, Ambassador McCulley stated that the
US government was prepared to support groups and organisation that work
towards enhancing the quality of lives of the vulnerable and the less
privileged members of the society.

“We will continue to give our support to organisations and community that
pay greater attention to alleviating poverty in the midst of its community
and gear up quality lives of the under privileged people, the women and
mostly children who need helping hands, who crave for support and comfort.”

The Ambassador commended CRARN for paying greater attention to the
underprivileged children and women who suffer torture and other forms of
horrendous abuses in the hands of those who owe them a duty of protection
and love. He acknowledged that his office had been following the good work
of CRARN for quite a long time and found it worthy for its support; and
promised to give further assistance to organization and the community.

Barrister Pius Madaki-CRARN Attorney addressing the US Ambassador to Nigeria

A community leader and former Eket chapter Chairman of the defunct NPN,
Apostle Okon Harry Ekpuk expressed the community’s deepest appreciation to
the Ambassador and his team for selecting the Eket community as one of the
beneficiaries of their projects. Apostle Ekpuk averred that the fish
project will go a long way in touching the lives of the ordinary people.

“His Excellency, the US Ambassador to Nigeria, let me at this moment
express out profound appreciation to you and your team on behalf of the
people of Eket Community and its environs and to state categorically
clearly that this project is a huge one, and will so strongly touched the
lives of the ordinary people of this community and beyond and we will do
everything humanly possible to protect and sustain it. Our community is a
humane and hospitable one, so our is culture…. ” Ekpuk said

Apostle Ekpuk who spoke glowingly of the good work of CRARN said despite
daunting challenges, the organization was still working hard to save live
of children. He urged CRARN to continue with its services to humanity for
which he said holds abundant, nature and God’s reward.
“As you can see, CRARN is not only a blessing to this community, but a
huge asset to world and entire human race, given its philosophy, advocacy
work and humanitarian record of saving and indeed transformation of
children lives and the aged ones beyond its scope of operation.”

In his response, the principal attorney to CRARN, Mr Pius Madaki expressed
gratitude to the Ambassador for citing a project of such magnitude at the
CRARN Children Centre; and expressed the willingness of the organisation
to train the community to replicate it in various communities. He said the
fish project will no doubt propel a lot of ordinary people to be

” It is my strongest belief that this project will touch the lives of the
disadvantage children, foster parents, the ordinary people and the
community towards becoming self-reliant…” Madaki asserts

According to the project coordinator, Mr Akpan Umoh, the pond has four
compartments ( One Nursery pond, one Transition pond and two Raising
pond) which
has the capacity to nursing 8000 fingerlings and raising 15000 mature
catfish, was constructed and completed in July 2012 with support from
US government

Ambassador Terence McCulley and his team at CRARN Centre Eket

He maintained that the organization would not lose focus in its quest to
enlighten the society on mental reconstruction, superstition and
witchcraft belief; rescuing and
rehabilitation of stigmatized children.

The Arrest of Ekerete Ekpenyong as reported by Global Concord

20 Aug

Godswill Akpabio

Forwarded here is the story of how Ekerete Ekpenyong, the Chairman of Uyo Local Government, was arrested by the United States Homeland Security, as reported by the Global Concord newspaper, which is based in Uyo. It is important to mention that this is the first time I have seen this article, which I received this morning from the editors of the paper, upon my request for a copy.
When I wrote my own version of the story last week, I had no idea of how much money was involved, until now. Now, we all have a better understanding why Godswill Akpabio had to leave the United States in a hurry, when he knew the agency was investigating the source and the intention of why such a huge amount of money was brought into the United States.

EKERETTE EKPENYONG: Arrested Chairman of Uyo Local Government

As you read the story, please bear in mind that Akwa Ibom State Government has been mute over the matter. Even Akpabio’s numerous agents and his Special Senior Personal Assistant (Ete Clement Ikpatt) in the United States are not talking in public over the matter. However, if they ever issue any statement, we should expect them to repeat the same old mantra; “we don’t respond to the lies of Thompson Essien.”
For the benefits of those abroad who may not understand the laws of the United States, let me explain here that as far as the amount of money found in the possession of Ekerete Ekpenyong was not declared before he landed in the country, the money has now become the property of American Government—seized!
Then sit back and reflect on how much $450,000.00, or N74.2 million, could have done for the people of Akwa Ibom State, especially when one considers that since March or April, salaries have not been paid to government employees, schools are in dilapidated conditions, hospitals are bare and the walls are crumbling, unemployment is at its highest level since the creation of Akwa Ibom State in 1987, hunger and poverty have become a menace that afflicts the majority, not to mention the high rate of crime and a rise in prostitution among the young. And because there is no money, Uyo, the state capital, as well as other parts of the state, has become stagnant, where nothing moves because there is nothing to stimulate the economy.
All these happen in the midst of plenty; Akwa Ibom is the richest of all the 36 states that make up the entity known as Nigeria. In June 2012, it received nearly 23 billion naira in oil allocation from the federal government. As you read this story, please ponder and look beyond the story of how Ekerete Ekpenyong was arrested at Houston airport. Enjoy!
 Ikpafak Thompson Essien
Portland, Oregon                                       
                                                                                           Money laundering:
                                                                                  L .G. Chairman Arrested in US
                                                                                            Akpabio steps in
Security report reaching Mid-Week Global Concord from Houston, Texas, United States of America alleges that the incumbent chairman of Uyo Local Government Area, Hon. Ekerete Ekpenyong was arrested by Houston security at the airport on arrival with over $450,000 (N74.2 million) on Wednesday the 8thAugust, 2012.
The source disclosed that the council helmsman was arrested by Houston Security Agents during security a check at the Airport when over $450,000 was discovered with him.
The money allegedly discovered in his possession according to our source, was not declared to Customs during filling of Customs papers both in Nigeria and Houston.
Mid-Week Global Concord news desk gathered that during interrogation, Hon. Ekerete Ekpenyong told Houston security that the money was a donation from Uyo Local Government Council to Akwa Ibom State Association for 25th anniversary celebration in Orlando Florida of which he was one of the delegates from Akwa Ibom State.
Another source who spoke with the paper in confidence said that the chairman was later released on the intervention of the State Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio pleading that he Ekerete Ekpenyong was a Mayor of Uyo in Akwa Ibom State coming to represent his people at the anniversary.
Another source who accompanied them to Florida told this paper that there was no donation from Ekerete Ekpenyong on behalf of Uyo Local Government at the Akwa Ibom State Convention in Florida.
“At what point did the FGPC of Uyo Local Government council set and approve  over $450,000 to Akwa Ibom  State Association anniversaries celebration in Florida”, the source queried.
However, there are lamentations across all the Local Government Areas in the State due to massive deductions from the monthly allocations most of which could not be explained which left most Local Governments with practically zero allocation in spite of the jumbo allocation from the Federation account.
This paper learnt that the deduction from Local Government accounts is for the Governor for his private use. We also learnt that most of the Council Chairmen were installed by the governor to loot the Local Government treasuries.

Governor Akpabio, When Will You Call It Quit On This Genocide!

20 Aug

It has never got this dirty that decent person will call it “I quit.” Mr. Akpabio you have headed one of worst government in the history of Nigeria, not just Akwa Ibom State, the blood shed (genocide) is far beyond that of Syria, Irag, Liberia, Iran or Afghanistan, the poverty rate has gone up to all time high even surpass the poverty level in Northern Sudan, but (you) AKS. is receiving millions of dollars every month oil allocation from the Federal Govt.. and you have nothing to show for except the death trap call fly-over and over quoted road construction contract with N2 Billion per Km. Well this is not important as lives that you are wasting.

Dr. Barrister, Obong, Adede, Baba, the Uncommon Transformer, Gov. Godswill Obot Akpabio. Is sending people to their early graves transformation? I am drawing this to your attention, if you were to be a decent man, since you can not or have no damage control tools – the best thing you should do is to resign and call it ” I quit “. Listen to me Akpabio, if I call you names such as idiot, it is because of the idiotic way our brothers and sisters are being murdered by your cult gang, as this is unprecedented in the annals of our dear state, Akwa Ibom; and as I am writing this piece, trust me you deserve it. How can you sit-down in that self acclaimed seat of governance, then our Mothers, Fathers, Future Leaders (youth), Our Children even Old Women are killed in a very shameful way and you still close your eyes at night and sleep! Is it true of the legendary story of your tribe not too long ago used to eat Human beings or is it of your cult involvement? I am just getting confused, Sir as to the level of genocide your allow to continue unabated!

Hey! I don’t get it. Let me ask you some interesting questions here! Asuming your mom was killed during other Administration what would have been your reaction?.

Listen, what are you doing about this senseless killings in the state or is it none of your business? Mr. Gov. I don’t think Eka Efanga (the mother of Barr Efanga) was your political opponent? Why was she killed is what many are curious to know! Is it because you could not get Barr Efanga himself you resorted to killing his mother? Or is it because, according to you: in your own words ” smashed and kill any-one that stand on our way to………”

How about Eka Ini Udonwa? What crime did she commit to deserve such brutal and humiliating killing by your PA? Yes, tomorrow you are ready to shed a crocodile tears “if i did it…” you would say.

What about Faith Udoh killed by one of your guard? As you can see I am crying for my people killed by your administration and more that you have promised to kill. Why can’t you call it quit on this killings, my brother? You sometime call your self ‘Promise Keeper’, was this meant to fulfill the ego of exterminating a tribe or just a delight to kill and kill; and just to kill, Mr Godswill Akpabio!

Mr Governor, enough of this killing! It is time you called it ” I quite. ” Akwa Ibom State does not deserve these senseless killings – Period!!!

Uwem Sam
Liberty Voice
Los Angeles.

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