Essay from Adelayok Adeleye

The POTENTIAL VII: Managing Debt

Around this time last year, I was owing NEPA some thirty thousand
naira; today, NEPA owes me some twenty-five hundred. Funny, eh? As at
when I was owing thirty grand, my neighbours prided themselves as the
rich ones, and insisted that NEPA cut our light at the meter points
(so they could retain their connections while I lost mine). One even
scorned me the month I paid three out of thirty, she stood in the
street and argued that I mustn’t be spared. I came back to meet me
disconnected. Well, she owes just as much now, a year later.

Truth be told, we all owe at one time or the other; even Dangote.
Sometimes, as in my case, we owe because someone disappoints and we
have to take responsibility. Either way, debts are easier incurred
than settled. In fact, one often pays off one debt with the other; run
in circles, never able to break out of the rat race. Luckily, there is
a way to pay debts and stay afloat. The discourse that follows is not
to make me out as some (arrogant) debt guru, but as someone who has
seen, and conquered…

Perhaps the first step is to stop the increase.

NEPA brought a bill N1 200 more than the previous month’s. I couldn’t
pay the whole bill, but I paid the N1 200. No, I didn’t wait till I
could afford the whole bill. The next month, the bill was N3 000 more,
so I paid the three grand. And was mocked.

What my financially illiterate neighbour didn’t know was that I coulda
paid much more than i did each time, I just didn’t. If I had, I’d have
pushed myself to the brink of indebtedness just to save face. I saw
the bigger picture. And those two months allowed me to prepare for the
tough times ahead: stocked the house with food, planned for farm, be
ready for the derogatory gazes of pseudo-rich classmates.

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Essay from Ayokunle Adeleye

Lessons from Ife

Elsewhere, “the price of freedom is watchfulness”; back home, the price we pay to still be on this side of the here and now is fear. Legendarily, it is the fear of the future, the fear of the unknown; but in more recent times, there is likewise the fear of the law… For we are aware of the laws protecting us, our being, our freedoms, the respect others give to us; as we are also aware of the (not so) subtle ways that these laws have been undermined, sidelined, and crushed- and all in one breath- by the very ones we allowed to be in the position to safeguard our sovereignty, and who do not…

We’re back, or so it seems, to when it was said, and understandably so, that to (admit one that one did) witness an event (or crime) is to risk imprisonment, and for six months: Ó s’ojú mi, èwòn òsù méfà ni! That is how much our apathy has cost us and brought us. That is what we get for hiding in our rooms while the votes are cast; for looking away while the votes are counted; for not being involved in the process that represents us, and in the way our representatives are suggested, fielded, and appointed. And that is why they have gone rabid…

So that what currently obtains is the (illegal) detention of opposers, their liberal labeling as enemies of progress, and the graphic instillment of fear: fear of the lawkeepers, fear of the lawmakers, and, summarily, fear of the law itself. So that my people have learnt to watch with a straight face the petrifying putrefaction by and of the putrescent pigs we passively preferred, by not voting for the man of the people, as they glut glibly on our Commonwealth. So that we have learnt to turn to God in all things, even the mundane ones.

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Essay from Ayokunle Adeleye



I loved Etisalat. In fact, at a time when Nigerians have mastered the art of subscribing to multiple networks so as to buffer one with the other, I have become strictly Etisalat, buying SIM after SIM from the same network provider. Believing wrongly and ruefully that I was being ‘Naija for life’, and flaunting my network like nothing else mattered. Well, until they too showed me their other side.


Here’s what happened.


I see the advert for credit-to-bonus conversion each time I recharge. You know the scheme, don’t you?… you dial a code and N200 credit becomes N600 bonus valid for 7 days, N1000 becomes N2500 valid for 14 days, and so on. Sounds interesting, right? But if you have dealt with these networks before, you will have been taught that ‘nothing goes for nothing’. So, I finally decided to find out more about it. Knowledge is key na. Especially in this era of carrot-and-stick.


The Customer Care lady that attended to me said the scheme only works on EasyLite 4.0 and told me about the various options and their validity periods. Then she assumed I wanted in on the promo, perhaps because I sounded interested and all, and instantly migrated me from my lovable EasyCliq. Not with my consent, not even with my knowledge.

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Essay from Ayokunle Adeleye


The Clinical Pharmacy Clerkship in OOUTH, Sagamu runs for some 6 weeks and allows associate Pharmacists to receive clinical training and garner experience in clinical settings, to hone their skills, especially in the area of drug therapy, and to experience first-hand Pharmacy as a profession (of humanitarianism) in contrast to Pharmacy as a course of study.

Like many things scholarly, it is compulsory– and necessarily so. Yet, several occurrences make this experience worthwhile despite the compulsion: the dizziness from standing for so long during the rounds, seeing Consultants gb’ara le (unnecessarily rebuke) registrars and medical students, witnessing patients take offence to the frequency of students’ examinations while smiles yet light up the faces of recuperating patients, and particularly the vast knowledge available for grabs during rounds.

One fateful morning found me in Paediatrics, again on rounds. This time, the memorable moment was not the gb’ara-le of the Consultant or the stupefied look on the (helpless) recipient, it was the sight of three infants with Cerebral Palsy (CP). And after the Consultant in charge had questioned each mother and examined each child, it was glaring that the ignorance, poverty and poor practices of the mothers disabled these bundles of joy. I remember asking the soul beside me in hushed tones, “Should we not give birth?”

Prior to this memorable encounter, People Living with Disabilities (PLWD) were a much unknown existence to me, save the occasional encounters in motor parks where they have become a norm, begging for alms from all who cross their path. Yet, whenever I was that one in their path, I rarely gave out money for security reasons. Yes, that is so convenient. And, no, I ain’t that bad. I give them money once in a while, usually to get them off my back but sometimes out of pity as well.

Now, as irksome as that may sound, I am pleased to tell you that that account (and attitude) accurately depicts the prevailing acceptance of PLWDs: definitely below average! Ok, when was the last time you gave out of your heart, un-begrudgingly, to a person with disability? Hmm… I thought as much. Did you not rather scowl, or even swear? I have not bothered to ask about the hiss since that one is a given! Yet they need us to survive.

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Essay from Ayokunle Adeleye

TORCHING the Anointed

In recent times, our society has become more chaotic, yet more predictable, especially if you understand the basics: we have become a society of impunity and impoverishment, immunity and immutability, and yet of constant change.

In recent times, for even time has changed, the gods of our land have finally ordained impunity for the froth, and impoverishment for the dregs, since we are beer, a fermented society that we have become. So that the cabals continue to haul protuberant tummies off us, alcoholic hepatomegaly immune to the hard times that the common man faces, while the poor, as the Lord had said, continue to be amongst us…

In recent times, it starts like this…

The nomination form for Presidential aspirations is nearly thirty million naira, and you usually don’t get chosen the first time. So you must have romanced the government for quite a while. From contractor to Ward Councillor to House of Assembly to Local Government Chairman to House of Reps to Senate to Governor. Then you must be re-elected, by hook or by crook, deservedly or not, and whoever stands in your way must fall, physically or metaphysically. You must have saved up over the years, in money, in goodwill, in friends, and in crimes. And something changes in you: you are never quite the same.

You must have worked hard over the years, plotted, schemed. You must have lied, confabulated, signed unholy deals, and been to scary places. Maybe even (be rumoured to have) decapitated a few neonates. All so you must be invincible, immutable, immortal. Your word must be law, your image must be flawless, and whoever dares to call you controversial must be detained, in this world or the next; you are the upgrade of impunity: Mbunity. And if you are lucky, Baba nominates you for VP and orchestrates your Presidency.

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Essay by Ayokunle Adeleye

Ebola and the GORGONS


Diseases can be terrible; how much more epidemics? It was barely a week ago that I came down with fever, malaise and highly disturbing diarrhea. It was just after I’d (unsuccessfully) treated malaria with drugs of questionable originality; they had been much cheaper. So my first differential was of course relapse. Then I realigned my sentiments with prevailing public opinion and arrived unquestioningly at Ebola (note the capital E; na respect be that). And I automatically began a rather paranoid contact tracing in my head…


All these before I remembered that I had made a warm culture of anaerobic organisms, don’t ask me how, and swallowed it, don’t ask me why. Suffice it to say I was not recolonising my gut, I do not have pseudomembranous colitis. It was a mistake. Mistakes happen, even with the most careful and most experienced of doctors. That is why God made PPEs, personal protective equipments, to discredit our paranoia as much as we’d allow.




“ι ρυт ση му ησкια ρнσηє тσɗαу αηɗ тнє тωσ нαηɗѕ ʀєƒυѕєɗ тσ ѕнαкє. ι тнιηк тнєу αʀє αƒʀαιɗ σƒ євσℓα.”

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Essay by Ayokunle Adeleye

“I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly,

To pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully.

I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous,

And will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug.

I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession,

And will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping,

And all family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling.

*With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physician in his work,*

And devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.”

– The Nightingale Pledge, 1893. (Asterisks added.)


Those are the words of the original version of the Nightingale Pledge. Back then, the health team was one, had a doctor as the captain and the nurse as his sidekick, and worked. Back then, daughters of Nightingale were not averse to swearing loyalty to Doctors, the men of honor were yet men of honor, and no one thought he had to displace the sons of Hippocrates to “reach the peak of their careers”. Back then… before the envy and strife and hypocrisy that we see now.


For now we have a health team wherein everyone wants to do everything that is a doctor’s job even when they can barely master theirs, where everyone wants to take everything that is a doctor’s pay even when theirs is relatively more, where everyone wants to be the doctor’s public foe yet private friend so that they may keep those free, secret, consultations aboard. Now they want to be doctors (and consultants), do not want to go through medical school to be such, and definitely do not want to endure the rigors of residency.


And what is worse? Rather unlike when they threatened strike actions, cut ICU power supply, and locked everything up, even bedpans, whenever they go on their political strikes; now they form a coalition against the disciples of Hippocrates so that they can challenge our rights to freedom of association and of decision, malign us, and sue us to court– and actually do.


So that now government hospitals are paralyzed, people are dying, and privatization is looming. And all these because of insincerity, for JOHESU wants to have its cake and eat it too, yet he who comes to equity must come with clean hands… They feed the common man with lies to turn him against his doctor, Boko-Haram style, and hope, foolishly enough, that their propaganda will survive. Of course they won’t; falsehood may endure for a night but truth comes in the morning…:

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