Thank You, Dr Stella Adadevoh!

On July 21, 2014, I was in Calabar, peacefully engaged in the compulsory service to Nigeria. Meanwhile, hundreds of kilometres away, a certain woman saved me from getting infected with a deadly virus with a fatality rate of about 90%. In the year 30 AD, it is believed in Christianity that a man gave himself way to be killed so that many others, even those unborn, might be saved. The man’s name was Jesus Christ. In 2014, many centuries later in Nigeria, this doctor, with the knowledge of a possible infection and death, saved a nation from an epidemic called ebola. Her name was Stella Adadevoh. This viral outbreak had turned Liberia and Sierra Leone to pariah countries. Although, it is probable for this selfless act to get lost in the political wrangling between the state government and the federal government on who takes the credit for the eradication of ebola (who could blame them though it was an election season), but some of us choose to remember Dr Adadevoh’s as the singular person who even made the glory to be sought available in the first place.

Under pressure from an international government to release the patient zero, Patrick Sawyer, from the hospital, she stood her ground to save her countrymen and the most populous black nation on earth. Her great grandfather Herbert Macaulay had fought for Nigeria’s independence more than 50 years earlier. A country like ours would have been the most perfect breeding ground for the virus to fester. We come in contact with bodily fluids at every turn- the headrest on the danfo, the alabaru at Oyingbo brushing you with his sweaty arm, the ablution area in most mosques. The devastation would have been deadlier than Liberia’s. The health sector which had collapsed would never have been prepared. The strike embarked by doctors then proved to be a blessing in disguise as it ensured that Sawyer was not taken to the government hospitals which are always crowded, thus, risking more people getting infected. This makes Adadevoh’s act more prominent and heroic. Not a virologist herself, she could have run to save her life when Sawyer chose to deliberately infect others by spilling his blood and other body fluids in his room. But she chose to stay to restrain the patient- a decision which proved fatal. On August 19, 2014, she fell to the deadly virus.

Finally, in a society that fails to reward valiant actions, it is noteworthy to remember Dr Adadevoh on this anniversary of her death. Ma’am, thank you for saving us from an impending doom. Your sacrifice will not be forgotten in this corner.

Not all heroes wear capes; some are in lab coats.

 

Image sources: DRASA and naptu2

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A TALE OF 2 ATUNBIs

A $lodier's Dream HD Desktop Background

I had just taken my truancy a notch higher. This latest act sealed my fate as a budding outlaw. Big Cousin had instructed me to torch the school building. Apparently, it reminded him of his failings. I started from the chemistry lab; setting fire to a jar of unknown chemicals. The commotion thereafter pumped my adrenaline into overdrive. The guards were on my tail but their motivation was no match for mine and I left them in the dust.

Within minutes, I was done with it. I felt a sense of accomplishment as I dusted off my shoulder. Big Cousin would be proud of me. Outside the burning building, I heard approaching footsteps- non-aggressive ones. Turning, her red lipstick was the first feature I noticed. Then, her white pleated shirt which accentuated her chest region became clearer. She was petite and fair complexioned. I’d never seen her before. She talked first- wanting to know why I had committed this arson. She said she worked in a media house in one of the office spaces in the school building. A slight feeling of remorse dawned on me, but not enough to douse the adrenaline still in effect.

“I’m Funmi… Funmi Atunbi”, she said, introducing herself.

“You’ll have to find out yourself”, I quipped, before leaving her there.

The brevity nevertheless, our meeting was a sort of balm I needed. We met days later at an enclosed market, like Watts. Sobriety had kicked in now. She sneaked up behind me and with a grin, inquired to know me more. She believed I was a diamond in dirt. Joined by an old friend, we headed to a school down the road, willing to become an atunbi. I warned Funmi of the risk of being seen with an arsonist. I wouldn’t hold it upon her if she doesn’t want to go but she insisted on going.

With a reputation like mine nonetheless, I made a positive impression on the proprietress. An old guard sighted me and tried to make a serious case before the owner not to admit me. No, I won’t let this pass. I returned to defend myself like Jessica’s defence of Leonard Bailey. I would totally understand if she doesn’t admit me though. I’ll just keep on searching.

The woman sighed and reached a verdict.

“Hakeem …Hakeem, it’s time for Zuhr.”, I woke from my siesta to hear.

 

“Dreams feel real when we’re in them; it’s only when we wake up that we realise something was actually strange”

-Leo DiCaprio, Inception.

Image: Source

13 Takeways from House of Cards- Season 5

Spoiler alert! If you are a House of Cards stan like me and haven’t watched season 5 of House of Cards, check other blog posts that might interest you, please.

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Here we come, America!

So the anticipated intensity of the new season was justified. The campaigns were in top gear at the end of season 4 and Frank’s re-election was in the balance. Conway was not slowing down. Without further ado, here are the 13 points I took note of in the new season.

  • Fourth Wall debuts: Right from the first scene, we’ve been introduced to the Fourth Wall by Frank. That was actually my 1st time of seeing a movie with a fourth wall. Since then, the fourth wall has been exclusive to Frank Underwood. Through it, he dropped his dope quotes, stared at us and carried us along. Alas! The director has had enough of its monopoly. Claire made her debut with the fourth wall in this season, although Frank still dominated it. Also, when Frank was being sworn in and made the real estate and location analogy to the Fourth Wall, Mark Usher waved at
  • Sex & more sex: Sex and politics aren’t exactly mutually exclusive, are they? It oiled Frank and Zoey’s relationship. This season though, it went a step up. By more sex scenes, I meant explicit scenes. While season 1 had three sex scenes; seasons 2 and 3 had 3 scenes apiece while season 4 had just one scene. However, Season 5 had a whooping 5 sex scenes.
  • Homosexuality: This aspect of Frank’s life has been alluded to in previous seasons. It usually came up in discussions. In this season though, Frank damned everything and went for his ‘grandfather’s’ mouth. Why the creator of HoC had to portray him as gay is still not clear to me. It has no bearing on the storyline.
  • Where are you, Remy & Jackie?: I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who thought these two would have made impact in Season 5. Remy being a lobbyist (even though he claimed to have retired from lobbying, I didn’t believe him for a second. Jackie also laughed at his phantom retirement) and being his role in the ending of season 4, coupled with his past relationship with Frank, my expectations were justified. Jackie, having done Frank’s bidding for long, turned against him in the last part of Season 4. She played prominent roles leading up to Frank’s ascension to the Oval Office. So, it came as a surprise when she didn’t even get screen time. Maybe they rode off into the sunset as their last scene together showed.
  • Power and not letting it go:

“And if you think it was hard getting here, you’re beginning to understand what I’m willing to do to stay”- President Frank Underwood S05E09.

Hasn’t this been the theme of the show? Yeah. This time though, it’s two-pronged-Frank going against his wife and Claire building her own base. We saw what Frank was willing to do to get and keep it. With MacAllan, behind the computer monitoring and shaping voters’ decisions, it wasn’t impossible to achieve this. This isn’t even unexpected. However, this theme was reinforced when Claire was Acting President. Having tasted power for a few days, she wasn’t gonna let go. Ambitious and independent as ever, she organised her own team, much to the disapproval of Frank. After Frank’s theatrics at the hearing and facing the possibility of becoming president, she put in motion acts to stamp her ownership of the White House- moved Frank out of the House, got rid of Seth Grayson (who was surprisingly silent this season) and pushed Harvey out.

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Like Claire, like Cersei!

PS: Was I the only one who noticed the similarity between Claire’s dress on her inauguration as Ag President and Cersei Lannister’s dress on her crowning as queen in Game of Thrones?

  • Entry of Mark Usher and Ms Jane Davies: A Republican, Usher came late to the party as campaign manager; but not too late to make a difference. He brought experience and connections to the campaign. The first feature I noticed about him was his calm mien and confidence. His confidence is quite infectious. Not one to take nonsense and condescension, he clashed with Conway as the season rolled on. Still being a Republican, he crossed over to work with the Underwoods due to his pragmatism. He was the only one who really threatened Doug’s relationship with the Underwoods. A good friend of Cathy’s, Davies looks harmless and delusional. But is there any harmless person in DC? She is the Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade. Tapping into the crisis of the missing truck, she showed what she was capable of. Both of them have a history though.
  • Tom’s death: A character that oozed smartness and intelligence, I was surprised by his actions which led to his death. How dared he threaten the Underwoods? That was foolish. People lost their lives for less. Did he mistake Claire’s seeming love for him for weakness? Dude should have asked Adam Galloway. Maybe he was just overconfident- or how could one explain his act with the tour guide? If there’s any consolation, he went out hard.
  • Behind the Social Media scenes: Conway really gave Frank a run for his money. He seemed like the real deal. But behind the scenes, he really is an arrogant and entitled prick. Even though he showed glimpses of this in Season 4, it was full blown in Season 5. This led to the sympathetic viewers from the previous season to hating him. His condescending disposition to General Brockhart was irritating. His actions while in the military when brought to fore showed some deep rooted fears and anxiety. It might be linked to PTSD though.
  • As loyal as a Doug: If you thought the highest act of loyalty was displayed when he murdered Rachel, I’ve got news for you. Doug would do stuff that would jeopardize his career for Frank. From being the fall guy during the Xander Feng- campaign funding investigation in season 2 to illegally moving Frank to the top of the donor list, Doug was going to do anything for his boss. In season 5 he accepted, without hesitation, to claim he killed Zoey Barnes. How loyal can that be?
  • Frank and Claire can never go back to how they were: From

“I love that woman… I love her more than sharks love blood”

to

“If she doesn’t pardon me, I’ll kill her”

That’s quite a huge leap. A lot of water have passed under the bridge. As Frank doesn’t joke, this threat isn’t an empty one. To be factual though, their marriage was never going to remain the same after the stunt Claire pulled in Russia in Season 3. With Claire’s last words to the Fourth Wall, she’s willing to go after her husband.

  • Hammerschmidt is never giving up: His article at the end of Season 4 set the tone for what to expect in Season 5. And he’s not stopping till he finds answers to his questions, not even if he gets assaulted in the process. This season though, he showed his will by going against The Washington Herald’s ethics- through a proxy, he floated a story he believed was right but had no source. The man has been quite busy you know!
  • The Macallan’s Knot: Without Aidan’s help, the race for the White House might have been over for the Underwoods before it even got started. Even though it seemed he was going against his beliefs and thoughts, he got the jobs done anyway. In the middle of it all, he fled the country- Snowden style. It wasn’t surprising that he went to Petrov’s Russia. Being a plethora of The Underwoods Secrets, he became a bargaining chip for Petrov. However, his escape from Russia back to the US befuddled my mind. It seemed he just jumped on the available plane back home. Also, his killing in his hotel room left more unanswered questions than answered ones. Obviously, Davies does more than International Trade.
  • The Underwoods are not leaving anytime soon:

“It’s no longer about who lives in the White House; it’s about who owns the White House” – Frank Underwood, S05E13.

If you watched the trailer, you probably would have had an idea. What you didn’t know was the schematics he was going to use. Frank wants to be Raymond Tusk 2.0- a godfather of some sort. He wants to have the kind of influence Tusk had while insulating himself from it all. Thus, he created the confusion all along- such as feeding information to Hammerschmidt anonymously. He admitted he has had the bull’s-eye on his back for so long. Giving up his Executive Privilege to appear at the Judiciary Committee was intentional too, although his advisers saw it as a stupid move.

Frank isn’t done with DC yet!

Image: Google Images

House of Cards- Terror Unleashed

‘We don’t submit to terror; we make the terror’- Frank Underwood, House of Cards S04E13

They think we’re cornered. Their champagnes are waiting to be popped. Conway thinks his youthful ebullience, budding popularity and his social media exploits can match our experience and combined will, Claire. Hammerschmidt believes his article will change the tide and put us down. Remy and Jackie, breathing each other’s breath after a romp, think they’ve gotten back at us.

They’re all mistaken. This is a battle of survival and we hold a chunk of the ammunition. First off, let’s start with terror. Let’s attack the people’s minds. They’ll have no messiah to run to. All they’ll meet is us, Claire. Oh! Do they think Jim’s slaughter would be a one-off? Nah. We’re at war. Enemies come at us from all sides- like wolves encircle a wounded prey. But this prey isn’t done living yet.

America thought she had seen terror. How naive! No, that was the preamble. The real terror is about to begin!

This is what I envisioned would be Frank’s words to Claire in the East Sitting Hall on the evening after watching the killing of the Jim Miller.
The Underwoods now have to fight like they have never fought before. All their experiences and links in Washington and beyond would be deployed. Season 5 will be premiered on May 30, 2017. I believe Frank in his full glory of ruthless pragmatism will be seen in this season. 

Nigeria’s Underwood.

I can’t wait, fam!