Ebola, Bola and Ola


By Monday Japhet Emo

I have been on a compulsory leave of absence from serious work, extending it to even mundane and trivial things like consumption of alcohol, no need to prance and prattle about my celibate status. So it was no little shock for me when I crawled out of my enclave to see bedlam. Since I was still basically a recluse, I listened without interest as I heard the name Mr. Patrick Sawyer, Ebola virus, and the phrase viral terrorism.

My shock attack turned febrile when I landed at the local wing of the Murtala Mohammed Airport and saw people dressed as aliens complete with nose covering, hand gloves and pantyhose. I noticed a subdued behaviour as against our internationally acclaimed boisterousness, as people avoided shaking hands. Just as I was taking in the strange environment I found myself wondering whether I boarded the wrong flight and was in some backward African country, a scene caught my sight that made me come out of my reclusiveness. A stylish woman, tall and elegant with the best jewellery bedecked on her, walking in that familiar mien of the rich and confident spouse bumped into one the local airport workers and the content of her expensive designers’ box flew to the floor. Pieces of bitter kola spewed out of a broken cellophane bag in hundreds and formed a heap, I saw two cartons of hand sanitizers of different makes break out of cartons. People nodded their apologies and helped her pack the contents spilled on the floor.

I looked in shock at the man beside me seeking an explanation, when I got none I ventured to talk, having kept my mouth shut for a long time, I could not hazard a guess as to what caused the reaction I got as I asked the man “why all these things and funny dressing?” without as much as looking at me, the man shot back “have you been out of Nigeria? How am I sure you are not a Liberian?” At the word Liberian, there was pandemonium as people fled in different directions with the bitter cola and hand sanitizers littering the floor all around me, I stood flummoxed. In my state of bemusement, I couldn’t move a muscle, to my utter bewilderment, about three men dressed in alien or astronaut’s suits wrestled me to the ground grunting all the while angrily “another bloody Liberian with their satanic viral terrorism, it will not work; devil has caught you…off to the quarantine centre you go…”

I woke up sweating and shouting “Jesus! Jesus!” then I realized it was my phone that woke me up. I was soaked in my perspiration, the clock on my bedside clock read 4:30am and as if to confirm the time, the shrill sound from the minaret of a house that served like a mosque blasted that unmistaken call for prayer that one dare not complain about. With shaking hands I picked the call, it was my old aunty from the village “Aya, abeg before you do anything this morning please mix water and salt in a glass cup, drink it in one full gulp, sprinkle salt on warm water and bathe with it…” she spoke matronly and as a matter of fact.

Eko Distribution or something that seems similar to that restored electricity and I switched on the old air conditioner in my room I had christened “humming bird” because of the loud noise it produces in its bid to cool my room. Alhaji Lai Mohammed was on air, he said the Ebola virus and its spread was as a result of the callousness of the ruling People’s Democratic Party while Nasir El-Rufai corroborated same by saying he has uncovered a plot by federal government to use the ebola virus as an effective rigging tool to thwart and disenfranchise the people of Osun State from their electoral mandate which is voting for the APC, he warned that if care is not taken, the All Progressive Congress would expose the federal government by proving that Mr. Patrick Sawyer is one of the repentant militants that is on the pay roll of President Jonathan.

Then I saw CNN show something akin to an ink stain and showing the high prevalence of the virus in Nigeria with their telestrator and Isha Sessay has been quiet in any case. I saw pictures of Bola Tinubu and Tunde Fashola in a father and son bear hug celebrating the trouncing of Senator Iyola Omisiore while Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola was jumping up and down in secondary school uniform, then Eko Distribution struck again, humming bird made a loud noise and I got out of bed. I dragged my good old bottle of kaikai mixed with acum shut up (anti malaria) and man power, took a swig shot, gulped the stuff down and sauntered out of the bedroom to prepare myself for more ridiculous stories, tales from Nigeria range from the ridiculous to the absurd like I heard Mr. Sawyer was on a revenge mission…..

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