Thursday, April 22, 2021
Harrisburg, PA, USA

followed the saga of this young lady, her issues with her erstwhile pastor, and her eventual death. She was the lady that fell out with her erstwhile pastor, in the South Eastern part of Nigeria. The feud started when she alleged that one of the pastor’s friends had asked her to recruit some people for fake miracles in the church. The pastor was incensed and was said to have placed a curse on her. She became seriously ill and we have now learned that she passed away, April 21st, in a hospital at Abuja. She was diagnosed with acute kidney disease and also had a lump in her breast. She was on dialysis in the hospital.

In case the reader is wondering the source of my information, I listened to an eye witness account. A young man called Gwamnishu, who was in the hospital with her in person, gave the account on BBC Igbo. I listened closely because I have been following this saga.

I will not go into how incensed I have been about how this young lady was tormented while her ailment lasted, by some who call on the name of the Lord for a living. I will leave that to others to discuss but will only make some observations to our folks in Nigeria about some of the lesson that this tragedy should teach us. It is a tragic moment but also a teachable one.

Often times, our people only go to the hospital when they are sick and the symptoms have become overwhelmingly manifest. From what I have learned in this country, the great US of A, that is the wrong approach. Folks must endeavor to always go for yearly medical check ups that include lab tests. Even if one is feeling healthy, only yearly physicals(medical check up)will help doctors detect any ailment developing in the body. If detected, doctors can start necessary preemptive treatment. Prevention is better than cure. Our body is akin to a car. If you go for yearly tune up of your car, where the mechanic looks for any components that are beginning to wear away or deteriorate and repair them even before they become big problems, the possibility of the car suddenly stopping you on the road become very rare. If you don’t do that, one day, a common fan belt that may have been slowly wearing away, without detection, will suddenly snap and stop you on Ore/Onitsha road!

“Ada Jesus” said it herself that she knew that she had kidney disease but was unable to keep to the diets that doctors prescribed. That was a mistake. I hear this type of story in Nigeria a lot. Someone will say, I have “high sugar”, a term for diabetes and the doctor says don’t eat sugary things but I cannot stop drinking mineral(soda). This type of negligence has sent many to early graves. When doctors detect issues and prescribe a diet that will help you, stick to it because they do this based on experience. Yes, I realize that stopping consumption of that food you love or the drink you love is always hard. I exercise every day but I never get to my target weight. I found out that it is because of the food- fufu and bitterleaf soup that I love so much. Every time I quit fufu, my weight starts trending down towards my goal but then after a while, I cannot take abstaining from fufu anymore so I go back again. I have been on this yoyo for a while but became firmer in my resolve lately. So I understand how it feels when you are trying to stop eating something you love. But one should always think in terms of the fact that the abstention is an attempt to save their life. Now, it is possible that if “Ada Jesus” followed the food guideline that the doctor gave her, the story may be different. I don’t know, but this is essential.

Nigerians must stop tempting God! I believe in God and divine intervention but it gets too much when every time I look, Nigerians are “putting in the hands of God”, something they can take care of themselves. Someone will be sick and you ask, “did you see the doctor?”. They will respond, “it is well, it is in the hands of God”. This, to me, is a big case of tempting God. When you have an issue, pray about it but then start actively seeking a solution pragmatically.

“Ada Jesus” was sick, she knew it and her family knew it but her people spent more time carrying her around to a pastor to go and apologize so that a supposed curse he placed on her will be lifted. If all the time expended in going back and forth to that place were spent right away in the hospital, probably getting dialysis from experienced medical people, it is possible that the story may have been different. Let us all learn from this tragedy. Put your problems in God but do something pragmatic about it.

Humans must always listen to their bodies. Our body, most of the time, provides clues to us when something has gone awry or beginning to. It could be subtle or drastic. So many times in Nigeria, you hear someone say, “I have a blinding headache. I had it yesterday”. And you ask did you find out what is wrong. The answer is almost always something like- “Oh, I took Panadol…or a pain reliever” It is not always the best way. Go find out what is truly wrong because a headache might just be a side symptom of something deeper going wrong.

Of course, always consult with your doctor because I am just making observations. I am not a doctor and this is NOT medical counselling.

Finally, Nigerians and Africans, in general, must break this primitive belief that humans have the power to send ailments to others through the air or other diabolic means. If that were so, half of humanity will be dead because humans misuse power. God did not bestow that type of power on humans. We must snap out of that belief because it is partially the bane of Africa. I have seen a doctor, in Africa say, “this disease no longer seems to have a wester remedy, it should be handled in the native realm”. It makes me cringe.

Having said all the above, I will pause to acknowledge the goodness of humanity. I understand that as soon as people became aware of “Ada Jesus’ situation as well as her presence in the hospital, some called about possibility of kidney donation. Some took food and other things to her. Someone helped foot the bill to celebrate her 27 th birthday. That was humanity at her best. But heaven helps those who help themselves. Let us always do our best to help ourselves.

God Bless Humanity! May Mmesoma’s(Ada Jesus) soul rest in peace.

Author of the books- 1. Nigeria: Contemporary Commentaries and Essays

2. Surviving in Biafra: The Story of the Nigerian Civil War