olufemiksa
ban of okada and tricycle

Everything works for good, we always say, implying that light must show up at the end of a dark tunnel or that, as daylight follows night fall, one door must open as one door closes.
One door closed in the Lagos transport sector last week when the government and the police cracked down on highway and expressway motorcycle and tricycle taxi business which had maimed or killed many passengers in crashes, lent itself to robbery… and is feared to be a potent tool in the hands of possible insurgency. The last straw which broke the camel’s back must-have been security flashlights that this mode of transportation was promoting insurgency in Nigeria…and was massing up in Lagos.

For now, I do not wish to talk about which new doors the crackdown has opened. These would unveil themselves in the next few days for people who do not impulsively react to events but contemplàtively approach them. The light at the end of a dark tunnel which has been obvious since last week is that many people are now walking. I love to walk. So that is good news for me because walking adorns health with many wonderful benefits which sick people are paying doctors through their noses to get but are not enjoying. For example…walking for only about 30 minutes helps us to produce enough of the enzyme called LIPASE to continually burn fat in our bodies for the next 24 hours. This helps to reduce the risks of blood vessel and heart disease, heart failure and heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, muscle and bone weakness, HYPOXIA and hypoxemia apart from helping us to sweat out poisons. HYPOXIA is the shortage of oxygen in the blood. HYPOXEMIA is the shortage of blood in tissues and organs. The respected noble prize winner, doctor Otto Waburg, became popular with his hypothesis that when an organ is deprived of 3.5 percent of its oxygen requirement for a few days, it may become cancerous. This explains why oxygenation of blood and tissue has become a major aspect of cancer therapy in alternative medicine.Sweating out poisons has its own benefits as well, not the least of which is giving the kidneys much less work to do, thereby prolonging their lives.

Not many people know that oxygen, a portion of the air we inhale, accounts for about 65percent of the human body mass. Disease hardly strikes when enough oxygen is available in the body. Oxygen simply burns it out. I discovered this in a Chinese book titled BURN DISEASES OUT OF YOUR BODY which I read in the 1980s. In Mexico, which has a good record of cancer cures, the oxygen content of the body is routinely checked by doctors with an electronic finger ring. A Nigerian cancer patient I once encouraged to go to Mexico returned with one. When I slipped it on, something like a dash board lit up on which appeared a reading of 99 percent. That showed that my blood oxygen content was one percent below the optimal mark. My friend recorded 98 percent. In patients with lung problems, such as Congestive Obstructive Pulmonary Disease(COPD), in which the lungs cannot bring enough oxygen to the body, oxygen content in the challenged person’s body may fall between 88 to 92 percent. Such situations often suggest moderate to severe cases of COPD. Below 88 percent is dangerous and may require oxygen support in the hospital. At 84 percent, some organs may begin to get into trouble as they do not have enough oxygen to generate energy for their living processes, including self-defense against germs and diseases. That is why, in Europe, cancer-challenged persons may spend some time in the HYPERBARIC OXYGEN CHAMBER where, exposed to oxygen, the skin absorbs some into the body while the lungs do the rest.

In a world where many people have become sedentary and do not walk, their bodies do not have optimal oxygen concentrations in the blood and tissue. They look ill and are tired and, perhaps, sickly, despite being not malnourished in terms of their meals. The doctor checks their profiles but may see nothing wrong with them if he does not look out for oxygen content. In Alternative medicine, such people are advised to introduce in house green plants, which will help to increase the oxygen concentrations of their apartments especially during daylight. Proper ventilation is also suggested. So is the emphasis on green foods in the diet, which should include stuff like spinach, kale, spirulina, wheatgrass, chlorella, nettle, papaya leaf etc because they carry oxygen in their structure. In some cases, there is a resort to oxygen tablets and liquid oxygen. Some doctors abroad, and even now in Nigeria, go for ozone (03) intravenous injections which require medical expertise to manage with antioxidants. Antioxidants are free radical destroyers. Too much oxygen may generate free radical singlet oxygen, oxidative stress and oxidative damage. Above all, walking affords us tremendous opportunity to increase the oxygen content of our bodies. As I said earlier, many people have become so sedentary that they do not have enough oxygen in their bodies and do not know they are weakening or dying installmentally.

From the last bus stop to their houses, they ride on motorcycles or tricycles to their door steps. Climbing staircases or pedestrian bridges is a problem for them. Back home, they can hardly do anything by themselves. They spread out in settees and send children up and down for just about anything, including bathroom slippers, even when such things are within about 3 footsteps away. The lungs of such people are probably working at below 50 percent capacity. And the pity of it all is that tissue withering occurs when it is unused or sent on holiday. That is why a prisoner kept in a dungeon for years may go blind,and an athlete who does not train may not hit peak performance.

1000 STEPS A DAY

Many health coaches and doctors agree that walking is a good exercise as cycling and swimming to open up and use dormant lung capacity. These days, it would even appear that jogging and running are finding less favour among the guardians of health. For they dispose people who engage in them to oxidative and free radical stress, if not damage. On the other hand, paced walk does not. It increases the need for oxygen for the muscles to make energy for the lomotion. It helps, though, if an antioxidant snack, drink or supplement is taken before and after a walk. Many of the “energy” or sports drinks on the market are contraindicated for this purpose as they are heavily stuffed with caffeine which fire the nerves to make short lived energy and burns them up and flat.
About 10,000 measured steps every day are suggested. On the market, there are gadgets of all sort of design to help count them. These gadgets may best be strapped to the wrist or clothing.

I love to walk. Recently, I got off a minibus bound for Ikeja underbridge from pen cinema Agege when the traffic got stagnated at Guinness bus stop, some kilometers from its destination. The weather was hot, the air in the bus was smelly. Passengers were grumbling and cursing.Etheric energy in the bus was negative. I walked all the way to LASUTH underbridge, happy to be able to pull 70 calendar years along without complaints from muscles, joints and, of course, the lungs and the heart. Last Friday, Mr Okoeki, a correspondent of THE NATION newspaper and I met in a bus. That day, I was bound for Fadeyi and Ojota from pen cinema, Agege, which has been a construction site for about two years now. I walked and walked and walked. Even at ojota, where I had an appointment with my opthalmologist, there were no motorcycles and tricycles in many of the inner streets. I couldn’t call off the meeting because my eye pressure had risen from 18/24 to thirty something in both eyes, then jumped to 46/42 and I had done something unorthodox in my view to crash one reading to18 in three days, and wanted to know if I hadn’t done anything wrong which I must stop. The meeting went well, I got a pat on the back, so to say, and braced up for another long walk-on my way back home. I must confess something, though. If I didn’t like to walk, because I know some of its health benefits, especially for my age, I probably would have been grumbling and cursing like many people who, in daily prayers, beseech the Good Lord for the Blessings, but cannot see a terrific blessing in the opportunity a public policy provides them to walk.

Before I round off, I would like to recall my longest walk ever. Other walks I had undertaken before this one, such as the one I regularly undertook as a primary school boy from N4/464 oke aremo, Adeoyo, Ibadan to my school at Agodi Gate or to liberty stadium to watch football matches were toy walks compared with this one. This super walk was in 1969 or 1970, when I was 19 or 20 . Stationery stores (Adebajo Babes) of Lagos, and warri wolves from the Bendel state were playing the challenge cup final at King George V stadium at onikan, Lagos Island. Military governor Samuel Ogbemudia of Bendel state became popular in Nigeria because he made Bendel a sports leader. Col Mobolaji Johnson of Lagos State was no sports push over either. That Nigeria football association (NFA FINAL) was a sort of test of vits for both men. Therefore, the match was oversold in the newspaper, radio, television and billboards. And it would appear the whole of Lagos city was at the stadium. Even Sunny Ade (Sunday Adeniyi), a leading juju musician, then and now, was there, and an extended play (EP) he made of the outcome titled SUNNY ADE LO S’ ODAN LO W’ORAN was an instant chart buster. Brigadier Ogbemudia left the stadium when WARRI WOLVES, tipped by bookmakers to win, slumped 0-2, followed, out of courtesy,by his host, col Johnson. The match ended 3 0 win for STATIONERY STORES. Cars and buses lined up bumper to bonnet on the single carriage way from onikan all the way through Ikorodu road to the police college corridor in Ikeja where I lived in Lagos with my parents.

Like thousands of spectators on that day, I walked all the way through what must have amounted to more than 25kilometers. But this was a child’s play compared with the three day runs of my maternal grandmother(born in1909) when her generation trekked from Ijebu ode to Lagos, some of them pregnant and having their babies on the way, with sacks of garri or tins of palm oil on their heads to sell in Lagos. Her generation lived long if they didn’t succumb later in life to the social foibles of ours such as sedentary life and foodless food diet. Her brother, pa Alphaeus Taiwo Olunaike, a thrift collector in Shomolu popularly known as BABA ORI MI PE or ORI MI PE BI TI BABA ALAJO SHOMOLU, died at the age of 95. Her cousin, Mr H.A. Olubanjo, who lived near them, died at age 97, followed about 2 years ago by his wife. They were all slim, stood erect, had no stomach pouches or extra baggage on the waist line or buttocks.

A LARGER PICTURE

In my understanding, there is a larger picture to the restriction of motorcycle taxis in Lagos than many people are seeing. Everyday, there are complaints that foreigners have mapped and mastered all the forest routes in many states of Nigeria. They may very well be a future army of occupation in quiet formation. There are reports as well that another group of foreigners has successfully mapped and mastered all the streets or villages, towns and cities. This group does not heard cattle in the forests but is involved in camoflague motor cycle taxi business, say many accounts. Some people who claim to interface with them say some wear the insignia of Elzaki and his religious sect, believed to be financed by IRAN to instigate an Islamic revolution in Nigeria which would overturn the Islamic establishment in the north and islamise the entire country according to a new order dictated by IRAN. In Abuja, president Muhammadu Buhari, and in Kaduna state, governor El-Rufai, fellow moslems, are battling this group to protect their own Islamic Order. While unsuspecting Southerners continue to back El Zaki in the name of THE RULE OF LAW, Buhari continues to say national security is superior to the rule of law. He should know better because he wears the most pinching shoes, fighting Boko Haram insurgency, which two Christian presidents before him failed to address in a myopic vision that this was a moslem-on-moslem and north-on-north wahala. And now that the wahala has spilled over to us all, and we have suddenly woken up to recognise the need for regional defence where federal protection appears to be ebbing, haven’t we heard of the unwillingness up north to let us protect ourselves by supporting federal efforts to protect us? And if security reports continually say the time bomb is ticking off, at what point should we act? At Zero hour when the pointed, mangled tree branches once far away would be so near to easily pick out our eyes? Wise Yoruba elders left us two important sayings in this regard:igi gogoro ma gun mi l’oju, okere l’ati n Yan…o m bo, o mbo, awon l’a n de de. Both mean that you combat and diffuse uncoming danger before it has the opportunity to come near enough to you to fall upon you.

SOFT LANDING

I agree with the saying of the elders that some righteous people cannot escape from blanket punishment for the unrighteous in a crowd. But mother nature compensates for unjust dealings. That is why we ourselves always say one door opens when another closes, or that there must be light at the end of a dark tunnel. We do not forget in harrowing time to remember the comforting sayings such as “Day follows night, sunshine follows rainfall and joy comes after sorrow”. I was in the labour room with my wife during the birth of our second child. I hid my face from hers, tears rolling down my cheeks as I sat by the edge of the bed, comforting her, running my hand across her abdomen just to let her know I was with her in her labour pains. What happened after the baby was born? Those pains were gone , chased away by joy of a new miracle in our hands. Such should the government make the experience of genuine motor cycle taxi men and women who have had their jobs swept away, and those whose jobs will still be swept away, in the attempt to clear their ranks of potential foreign militia among them.

A NEW ORDER

Since last week, Lagos traffic has been suprisingly freer. This is a good testimonial for the government that motorcycle taxis cause some of the jams. Turn around time has improved for the minibuses and LAG buses. My suggestion for one bus route may be replicated over Lagos. These route is Abule egba-pen cinema-ikeja under bridge. Although the roads are much freer, waiting time for buses may be anything from 30 minutes to 90 minutes. If a LAG bus seats and stands 60 passengers, that is 20 tricycles eliminated for good from this route. Three buses will therefore equal 60 of them. Six buses will nullify 120 tricycles. According to present statistics, I do not think there are up to 120 tricycles which ply this route. If six buses can take care of them, the state government may invite the local government to give it a helping hand in floating these buses. Afterall, local governments now receive direct allocations from the federal government. The 120 operators of tricycles displaced may be organised into cooperatives, to own, through government financing, those buses, and to run them. Their union has a register of bonafide Nigerian members of proven good conduct. Twenty can group together for a bus. They may run three shifts of two conductors and one driver. This will engage more of them every other day with the remaining ones running administrative service in turns. The government may connect them to banks and guarantee loans for them. They must make daily payments, with three day defaults leading to withdrawal of the vehicles from them. This way, they would not be dislodged from their occupation because of an overriding need to forestall an army of occupation taking over the land and manling our conscience , dehumanising us. This is just an idea which would bow to superior proposals in this regard.

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