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When ori bib becomes the cure for fori!


When does beheading become the cure for headache? This question arises again and again and always. Some students don’t do their homework; take out homework as part of education. Some people come late to work, close the place of work. Some children die young, let there be a law against having children ever again! Ridiculous? Well, what to do?

You have heard the mindless lyrics:
Ko sewe!
Ko se gbo!
No leaves
No roots
Science students
Have mixed chemicals!

One of the ‘chemicals’ is codeine, which has now taken the place of marijuana and chewy roots. And our caring federal ministry of health, under the supervision of a professor with a Ph.D. has now banned codeine.

When did banning anything make it unavailable? Might make it more expensive but it gets more encouraging and financially more rewarding to make available! What do we call someone who does the same thing but expects a different result? And what would you call a country that does the same thing over and over again and expects a different result? You didn’t hear it from me o!


The codeine thing reminds one of the plague of South African young drug addicts who waylay HIV/AIDS patients returning from picking up their month supply of anti-retroviral drugs and highjack the drugs violently. They use them in a mix that gives the greatest highs!
Imagine if the South African government were to ban the manufacture of anti-retrovirals? And there in lies the difference. Back to this point anon!

Instead, the government put in place a series of actions, called on NGOs and other society institutions that give care to the drug addicts to do more. And of course to the police and the security system to be aware of this new plague on the street.

Years ago, if we can excuse the going back to history where our leaders don’t go anymore, countries surrounding Nigeria determined their budget details when Nigeria announces the items it intends to ban in its next financial statement. Champagne was a military favourite to ban. Cigars. Rice. Second hand clothes. Second hand cars. Second hand hopes. Second hand aspirations. Second hand air. Immediately the country is flooded with second hand and tokunbo existence.
Didn’t government ban stock fish one time? Yet oporoko had become part and parcel of our culture.

The reason for the ban is that stockfish has no nutrition and anyway it used to be fed to slaves on the Atlantic crossing. But remember that catchy tune Sonny Oti taught us on the set of DANDA?

Onye werego
Were ya suta maya
Onye werego
Were suta oporoko
Dey union yeriwo
Ka inta oporoko
O ga dinma!
Which being interpreted means:
Whenever we have money
Let us buy palm wine
And when we have small money
Let us buy stock fish
Our union says
If we eat stock fish
Everything will be fine!

So much for banning stockfish. Now, to why South Africa would not ban an important drug because it is being abused. Like banning women because some men abuse women. Or banning children because some people, parents and guardians as well as absolute strangers to children abuse them. South Africa manufactures many of its drugs locally, in the country. You cannot ban what you yourself produce, that keeps your people in jobs and makes paying salaries possible. You look for rational means of dealing with abuse of anything – drugs, humans, hopes all.
Let’s look at the abuse of hope and the government plan to ban the importation of hope and prayers. Recently, a vice chancellor of a Nigerian University claimed to let God run everything in his University. In a simple formula God is in charge. This is all well and good as long as things are running smoothly. But we know that in Nigeria, despite everybody managing, nothing manages to run smoothly. So, when things don’t run smoothly who is responsible? Who is in charge? So, God is responsible. So, it is the fault of God then, ehn? Of course not, never. You cannot blame God for anything. So, who is to blame? The vice chancellor for handing over the University to God? No, you don’t understand Mr. Trouble. You are just causing trouble, that’s not what he means rara a-tall!!!

A time was, again back to history, when we were encouraged to take responsibility for our actions. As well as our inactions. That was the basis of rewards and punishment. When we did well we get rewarded. When we messed up, we get punished. That was in the past.
In these days of prayer mountains, prayer warriors and miracles aplenty, we want rewards and reject punishments. We want rewards when we don’t deserve rewards. We reject punishments when we deserve punishments. By prayers and by miracles these things will happen.

There is another solution to abuse or criminality. People are stealing trees in the forest. Instead of catching the thieves through police work and arrest of the criminals, the government bans going into the forest for everyone. As from now on, nobody must go into the forest: not the woman looking for snails and mushroom, not the hunter looking for game and bush meat, not the herbalist looking for chewing sticks.

Everybody becomes a criminal because a few people are criminals.

Like all banning, the banning of codeine will fail to cure the headache of codeine abuse and the abuse of chemicals by our diligent and inventive youth in the pursuit of their pleasure. Rather than banning codeine, treat codeine as something containing ingredients available here. Let’s make it here and give our youth things to do, to occupy their time and keep their hands busy. And most important of all, give them a monthly predictable salary on which they can build a life of responsibility and usefulness to themselves, their parents and their guardians as well as the larger society. If we do not do this, and be depend on banning this and banning that, soon there would be a different lyric going thus:

Ko sile!
Ko sona!
No home
No property
Our students of chemistry
Have sold home
And the country
For drugs harder than codeine!

In this article:
Kola Omotoso
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