December 8, 2023

Pathfinder News

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Released from Modified House Arrest: My Experiences & Lessons

Ik Muo

I have been ‘out of stock’ for the past few weeks and I want to inform all and sundry that sadly, I was placed on Modified House Arrest (MHA).  I also   want to unequivocally and emphatically state that Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB and ESN were responsible for 99% my recent travails. The UGM, other unknown elements and some miserable witches and wizards from my village were responsible for remaining  1%. I am therefore calling on Malami, PMBs Attorney General (even though many lawyers are questioning his credentials), to amend the charges against Nnamdi Kanu to accommodate this latest crime. I am also calling on the great Lai (whose nose has been bloodied over the Lekki Massacre affair) to call a world press-conference to announce the new charges. I  expect that I will be given some dollarized whistle-blowing allowances as par the extant policy.

So, which one be MHA (it looks and sounds like a Federal Government honour)?  You recall that in 1993, Professor Humphry Nwosu introduced the Modified Open Ballot System ( MOBS, aka, Option A4)) , which slightly deviated from original open ballot model.  Similar to MOBS,  MHA is  a house arrest in which the victim voluntarily submitted himself or allowed himself to be so arrested.  You can trust that I have sought legal advice. I had wanted to brief  Festus Keyamo but he is now ‘one of them’ with specialisation  in the art and science of weaponising poverty and unemployment, as in the current 774000 scheme or scam. In any case I am not a in a mood for theatricals and as such, I settled for Olisa Agbakoba so that among others, when the bill gets as high as the contentious Ikoyi Building, I will whisper to him: nwanneeasy. Now to the  main story.

On Friday,5/11/21, I was in the office fully and functionally and thereafter, I drove myself to Lagos. I worked on my car on Saturday and attended 6.30 am Mass on Sunday at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom, Okota, where I performed fully as a ‘Church-worker’. That Sunday, the weakness, which I started feeling on Saturday accentuated to the extent that I could not attend   some scheduled social functions. I felt like running some tests but my Lab Scientists no longer worked on Sundays. I was indoors throughout and decided to go straight to OOU Clinic on  Monday morning. Around 9.30pm, I doubted if I had the strength to drive down to school and luckily, Paul, my brother and a professional driver offered to take me down to school and return to Lagos. You see, because of the Ghost Town Strategy in the East, he was idle that Monday. We drove straight to the Clinic and the   doctor who prescribed a series of tests. The lab people informed that the results would be ready at around noon but they conducted one test, the result of which came out instantly.  I suggested that I should wait for the whole results before seeing the doctor but he said: ‘just show her this one first’. When I saw the doctor, the tempo and body language changed and the atmosphere became frenetic. The doctor referred me to OOU Teaching Hospital and asked them to get the Ambulance ready. Ambulance? Somebody who worked throughout Friday, drove down to Lagos on his own, performed my duties as a church warden on Sunday and came to school on Monday with 1001 seminars, projects, and results on my mind. How did I suddenly become an invalid and a candidate for the ambulance? Na so this world be? Jesus Wept!  However, I escaped the ambulance angle of the story because, thanks be to God, my emergency driver, had not yet gone back to Lagos as we originally planned.

Anyway, that was how I ended up in Modified House Arrest at OOUTH, where I was in captivity for 10 days and in full bondage for 5 days. Captivity was the period I was under medical detention and bondage was the period I was permanently ‘chained’ with drip-infusion technologies. It was from house to school to the hospital and MHA within 6 hours.  I slept or lay on the bed or sat down on the chair, looked at the ceiling or the wall clock from AM to PM, no reading, no writing and with one of my hands permanently shackled.  And to complete the circle, security-personnel were hovering around the corridor, and saying to me with body language (which everybody learnt from PMB), ‘don’t try anything funny!  Furthermore, on 15/11/21, after 8 days in captivity, when things had started looking up, and I wanted to take a walk outside the ward and the nurse sternly told me: Don’t  go beyond that he door unless you obtain permission from my boss. You can see that it was a full-fledged medical detention or confinement, the only difference being that I gave up myself!  The funny thing was that even after the hospital granted me bail, my family took over, detailing when and how I would sit or stand, when I should wake up, sleep or even listen to news. That wanted to practice John 21:18 with me but I told them it was too early. John 21.18? Go find out!

 I ended up at the emergency ward for the first night. The doctors and nurses took over my affairs as a nurse cleaned me up (everything and everywhere) on the first day (I was so down and out that I did not notice her shape or face) and on the second day, I was so weak that I had to be wheeled to the Male Medical Ward by another staff. I had initially enquired of a private ward but on a second thought I decided to join the people in the  well-spaced male ward. For the 10 days of captivity, everything (wakeup, medication, cleaning-up, meals) was determined by the medics whose uniforms exhibited a kaleidoscopic array of colours (white,  light and dark blue, oxblood, green, yellow orange and khaki,), all indicating their  professions,  group affiliations and status. Those in khaki were most prone to throwing their powers about and that may be because they were called ‘orderlies’ and so, they must have learnt from police orderlies.

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Having just been released on bail from medical detention, I want to share the experiences and lessons with all. Nothing about routines (personal, family, official and social) and even life itself is certain. I did not open my laptop from 7/11/21 to 20/11/21  neither did I check my mails until 26/11/21( what I did daily since I became ‘computerised’ about 25 years ago); my WhatsApp involvement fell by 95%’; all my writings, light and heavy research, records, official and personal engagements and appointments  became automatically suspended. I never knew this was possible.  My head was aching as if a  diesel-engine Moris Minor was climbing a hill  within. Thus, even picking my phone was dreadful. My prayer life changed from struggling to make it 1 hour in the morning to limitless hours, day and night. The Litany verses that appealed most to me were: Health of the sick, consolation of the afflicted, friend of sinners and help of Christians. Indeed, nobody knows tomorrow.

The Ward, my place of captivity, was a leveller. Everybody, (big small, retirees, academics and illiterate, educated, young, old, poor and rich) was subjected to the same  regime and environment, served from same kitchen and store, and nobody bothered because the major objective was survival. It was a kibbutz-community, sharing resources including consumables, and assisting those who were weaker or alone. There was this lady Maryam, who came to take care of her husband but she made it a point of duty to attend to and serve everybody who needed any form of assistance. There was an affluent patient who adopted another patient and paid all his bills, even after he (the big man) had been discharged. There was the ‘landlord’, who had spent 5weeks +, who supplied hot water, to the entire community, a task I took over when he left. Another looked like a Baale, holding court with his courtiers, citizens, wives and children all over the place. There were old men in diapers, some strapped to their beds, some helpless, some could not  walk and some could not pay their bills, some wailing in pains and even dangling unmentionable things. The concern was survival.

One night, my neighbour was shouting in pains and tears: I want to die; I am tired; I want to go and rest and for sure in the AM, he had died.  The nurse explained that he needed blood and dialysis, which his family could not afford. The man was killed by poverty. I wondered whether I could have been of help but I had no idea. I wept for the dead and in thanksgiving to God  because my case was minor. I regretted that I did not have a direct line with these TV miracle-workers, who would have just said it and it would come to pass, because there was real work for them in the hospital. But can they do a thing? Will they even want to do anything off the stage where they and their patients are mostly actors. That day, I began my own ‘ward-round’ encouraging my colleagues, and intervening where I could. There were two students in the Ward, (from UI-Computer Science) and LASPOTECH- Bus. Admin) and the one from UI was prancing up and down as if he were on a picnic. Different strokes… One day, one of our distinguished citizens dressed up, parked his things and  said he had had enough. And sure, the doctor agreed with him and discharged him that day. I also learned that this online thing was real as my daughter was ordering diverse types of food for me from her office in Lagos, and they were delivering.

Released from MHA… Left with infusion logistics

 I also got an idea of how we manage free things. A lady brought fruit salad and desperately wanted me to buy. I had seen one nurse haggling with her and as the Spirit directed me, I asked her to give to all the nurses. I saw about 6 nurses there, about 10 meters from me but when she came back, she said they told her they were 13! I paid and that was that.  I wasn’t sure the thing got to the other nurses because nobody acknowledged it that day or any other day.  First, the number was doubled and second, the item was probably hoarded and or privatised. Did that remind you of our Coro palliatives?

Our people have up to 6 proverbs that prioritise people ( relations, friends, colleagues and neighbours) over wealth( mmadu ka aku; mmadu ka eji aka, onye nwelu mmadu ka onye nwelu ego etc). I did not know that I was so valued and cherished. Three of my former M.Sc students  visited twice  daily with food and all sorts.  Current and former PG students also came calling and Dr. Essien, an omonile at Shagamu was regular.  Dr Adebiyi from UNILAG visited twice, the first daub to check-up on me and the second to sign my bail bond. His mother in-law also came calling, offering to provide anything needed to make my captivity more comfortable.   Two Children of My Colleague, Dr. Ariyo, ( both medical students at OOUTH) were there 24/7. And then, the heavyweight roll-call: The DVC,( Acad), Prof Agboola, who represented the VC, The  Dean of Student Affairs( Dr Oladimeji), Director of Entrepreneurial and General Studies( Prof Oladoja), Director of OOU  Ventures ( Prof Abosede) and a three-man delegation( made up of two women) from my department were there. The Dean, Prof. ROC Somoye came calling after I had been discharged. The Unknown Young Man, who later became my family friend came with his wife, child and a friend and offered to stay in the hospital with me. Of course my relations  were there but they had no choice.

 And my  fellow ‘detainees’ were taking note. One day, my immediate neighbour asked me‘ who are you? I looked askance and said he had seen several people coming and asking: what do you need; what can we bring for you and you always replied: I am ok. I told him I was ( and am) a lecturer. On the day I was discharged, another colleague asked: what post do you hold in this government?   Me;Post in this Government? I asked him what gave him the idea and he replied the number and kind of people who kept on checking on you, I told him I was an ‘ordinary lecturer’.

My friends, colleagues, students and relations made me look BIG but that notwithstanding, I had a white book that contained the names of all those who did not visit, who did not call, who did not stay long enough, who promised to come again but failed to do so and students who were asking me about their seminar papers while I was in captivity. I told one of them  that he was in the list!

The day I was released, I had one or two issues bothering me and then, saw the corpse of one of my ‘colleagues’, being wheeled to the morgue. It was at this stage that I squeezed my ‘list of sinners’ and threw it into the dustbin. I  wept for him and thanked God for my lucky escape.  I ran as fast as my feet could carry me, lest somebody should call me back.  I was in such a hurry to escape that I forget a part of the infusion technology attached to my right arm for the whole 10 days. It was in Lagos that I noticed it! Luckily, when my case was called up on 30/11/21 and 2/12/21, they did not revoke my bail. I am a free man now; it is the lords doing. I am gradually trying return to my routines, including covering the arrears that had accumulated.Well, a teacher is a reader, always trying to learn. While in captivity, I saw a door labelled Sluice room. Abeg, those of you who are Englishists  and Medics, wetin be Sluice?

Ik Muo, PhD. Department of Business Administration, OOU, Ago-Iwoye,08033026625