TIME TO CHANGE THE ‘CHANGE’ IN EDO STATE POLITICS: NO THIRD TERM

TIME TO CHANGE THE ‘CHANGE’ IN EDO STATE POLITICS

NO ROOM FOR THIRD TERM AGENDA

Edo state of Nigeria is unlike many states of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the level educational attainment is very high and our people are generally proud but as a state we lack the money spinning establishments as you will find in a state like Californian State in the USA where the Silicon valley provides jobs, innovations and financial resources to the Californian State Government.

Edo state of Nigeria thrives on good management of available resources. Professor Ambrose Ali with the State’s meagre resources provided good roads, gave free education to our youths, gave Bendel State bursary to deserving students without borrowing a penny or mortgaging the future of Edo State children by borrowing repeatedly from the World Bank, or the Nigerian Stock exchange as Oshiomhole has done and with nothing tangible to show for it.

The architect of that borrowing spree is the chairman of Oshiomhole’s Economic Advisory Team Godwin Obaseki ; the man Oshiomhole is thrusting on the people of Edo State as the next governor. This is an unholy plan akin to Obasanjo’s term and MUST not be allowed to happen.

The Edo State economic team led by this Godwin Obaseki has impoverished Edo people in his bid to increase the internally generated revenue (IGR). Our people have never paid so much tax on so many commodities and small scale enterprises as in the last six years. As patriotic Nigerians of Edo State origin in the Diaspora, we preached the establishment of small scale enterprises to increase job creation in Edo State. Edo men and women irrespective of the part of the state they originated as Edo people are one and of the same origin harkened to our preaching, the preaching of Edo Global Organization to help establish these small scale enterprises in the state. They responded during Oshiomhole’s first two years in office by starting hospitals, clinics, opening  new pharmacy shops, computer centres, fashion homes, eating centres with foreign touch, computer-aided diagnostics in motor mechanics’ repairs shop.  They were employing our youths and taking them off the street from the life of thuggery, armed robbery, assassins and kidnappers.

With the greed and insatiable desire for irresponsible spending, largesse and sponsorship for his political friends and acolytes, these fledging new enterprises were crippled by obnoxious taxes enunciated by the economic team headed by Godwin Obaseki.

Suddenly community taxes, local government taxes, economic development taxes, environmental taxes and collection resulted in crippling these small scale enterprises before they could find their feet and they folded up and sent their employee back into the unemployed pool. So much damage was done to the physic of these patriotic entrepreneurs whose desire to help their people was crippled by the governor of the state and his economic team. Those who lost their jobs were worse off due to the activities of the State Economic Team led by Godwin Obaseki who is now campaigning to be the governor. Such ruthless way of seeking IGR must not be allowed to be visited on Edo People for another four or eight year if Godwin Obaseki (Edo State Economic Team Chairman) is on the saddle of state governance.

There are clear indications that the Nigerian economy is in recession and inflation is in double digits and our poor Edo people are bearing the brunt of this poor economic management at both state and federal level  resulting in  poor feeding or real hunger, inability to pay the children and ward’s school fees, high cost of transportation. ‘Tukeke’ (mini buses) in Benin have hiked the cost per drop from thirty naira in 2014/2015 to one hundred and fifty naira per drop in 2016 and there are no jobs, no increase in salary; no wonder that in the last twelve months there has been a sudden rise in the number of cases of armed robbery and kidnapping for ransom in the state for which the predecessor to the current Inspector General Police Mr Arase had to send a crack team of police officers to fish out these kidnappers in the state.

Edo State needs a governor with a human face and human mind, a governor who shows empathy with his people and not one who will tell a petty trader even if she is a widow to go and die in full view of the TV camera. We do not need the continuity of a government that is not trust worthy whose stock in trade is to lie and deceive the people all the time or the continuity of a government who does not obey the rules of law, acts with impunity and interferes the activities and smooth running of the State House of Assembly and make them ineffective.

Oshiomhole came into power in Edo State,  with  the slogan of ‘no to God Fatherism in Edo State politics’ but here we are in 2016 he is acting George Orwell’s Animal Farm of 1945 of four legs good but two legs better to deceive Edo State electorate and impose his acolye as the next governor to cover his tracks.

Our people must not be deceived by a governor who has repeated lied and deceived his people. If you recall how Okada riders supported Oshiomhole during his court case with Professor Osunbor after the 2007 elections; lining the street for him as a former labour leader and their hero; his first act was to ban Okada in Benin and environ sending all Okada riders into the job market. His promises were not only unfulfilled he reduced them further by banning Okada entirely in the City. He tried to replace Okada with what he called the Comrade taxis but they have all been parked due to bad and poorly maintained roads in Benin. Advisors to such government must not be allowed to rule the state in any guise.

Based on the economic advisory team, Oshiomhole demobilised numerous teachers from the state teaching service to reduce his salary burden for frivolous reasons without replacing them. A state governor is like the father who should care for his people but Oshiomhole was aloof. For eight years in Edo State there was never a time of employment exercises to mop up the unemployed from the pool of job seekers. Those who retired over the last eight years were never replaced so we have a shrunken work force in Edo State;  all to reduce the salary burden for government as advised by the state economic team led by Godwin Obaseki. As I write no pensioner has received his gratuity or his monthly pension stipend for the last eight years. As they carry placards along our street the governor goes on TV to proclaim no Edo State employees or pensioners have not received their emolument to date. We have never seen such falsehood with impunity before.

The pensioners, the unemployed and not into kidnapping and armed robbery depend on their relatives in the Diaspora for their daily bread. Edo people in the Diaspora are now being stressed due to Oshiomhole’s misuse of Edo State resources at home that is why we say Oshiomhole should not be allowed a third term through Godwin Obaseki. Our people needs time to recover from the hardship under which they have been suffering and are about to escape come September 10 2016.

Oshiomhole as governor shunned help from abroad for the people of Edo State. In 2013/2014 we organised a package of a team to train the trainers in Edo State supported by the Liverpool School of Maternal and Child Healthcare and United Kingdom Department for Foreign and International Development (DFID) to help reduce maternal mortality and morbidity and perinatal and infant morbidity and mortality. Edo State government was required to provide security and a list of trainees; as we speak there is still no response in spite of reminder on two occasions by DHL letters and a third time by a letter delivered to him by one of his senior special assistant for health.

He blocked that aid to our people because it did not come directly through him to the people. We are not politicians and we will never be politicians but we are Nigerian patriots who wish to see a progressive Nigeria and Edo State so we follow closely events in Nigeria and Edo State.

A couple of weeks ago, Oshiomhole through the attorney general of Edo State dispatched a team of crack mobile police unit to a village in Ovia local government to stop the rural electrification project as part of a member of the House of Representative Constituency project. Electrification project should gladden the heart of anyone in Nigeria as poor power supply is the bane of the people especially the rural dwellers; that is why it beat good reasoning that a state governor should through his attorney general stop a rural electrification project because it is being executed by the opposition. That kind of attitude and mind set should not be allowed to continue in the state hence Oshiomhole’s third term agenda should not be allowed through Godwin Obaseki.  A vote for Godwin Obaseki  is a vote for Oshiomhole and Oshiomhole has failed Edo people.

Edo State deserves a grass-root player, a man of God, articulate, a kind hearted individual in tune with the yearning and aspirations of Edo people like Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu. I implore Edo people to change the change and vote Pastor Ize-Iyamu as the next governor of Edo State. There must Not be a third term for Oshiomole.

Dr Stephen E O OOgbonmwan FMCOG(Nig), FRCOG(UK) KSC

For

EDO GLOBAL ORGANIZATION

Omo N’ Oba Joins His Ancestors

THE PRESIDENT AND ENTIRE MEMBERS OF

EDO GLOBAL ORGANIZATION

COMMISSERATE WITH

HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS EDAIKEN N’USELU, PRINCE EHENEDEN EREDIAUWA; THE ENTIRE MEMBERS OF THE BENIN ROYAL FAMILY, THE ENIGIES & ALL EDO PEOPLE AT HOME AND IN THE DIASPORA AS OUR MOST REVERED ROYAL MAJESTY, OMO N’OBA N’ EDO, UKU AKPOLOKPOLO OBA EREDIAUWA, CFR JOINED HIS ANCESTORS.

omonoba

HIS ROYAL MAJESTY, OMO N’OBA N’ EDO, UKU AKPOLOKPOLO OBA EREDIAUWA, CFR

1923-2016

We join The Royal Family and all Edo People to celebrate the life of our Royal Majesty Omo n’ Oba, Erediauwa  after four scores and thirteen years on Mother Earth  reigning as the 38th Oba of the ancient Kingdom of Benin and  the traditional ruler of the Edo people in Edo State in Nigeria. He was born Prince Solomon Aisieokhuoba Igbinoghodua Akenzua and ascended the throne of his forebears taking the title Oba Erediuwa  at the passing of his late father  Oba ni Iso norho; Oba Akenzua 11 in March 1979. The name Erediauwa which is a shortened form of Erediauwa n’Edo was very significant as Ere was the third Oba of the ancient Benin Kingdom with a reign associated with peace and prosperity. That peace and prosperous reign was reincarnated during the period of Oba Erediauwa. The choice of that name was a harbinger of blessings and growth in all areas of human endeavour in seen in Benin Kingdom during his reign.

As Chief custodian of the ancient Benin customs and tradition, he led from the front like any visionary ruler, he was also very pragmatic emphasising the best in our culture and educating us on aspects that may be modernised. Like in the days of yore he awarded gifts and societal status to deserving Edo people to stimulate honourable work ethics, integrity and dignity in labour and productivity whilst maintaining the critical aspects of our tradition and custom as a people.

Omo n’Oba attended our prestigious alma mater Edo College Benin City long before we were born from where he proceeded to Government College Ibadan, thereafter King’s College Lagos. He did his law degree at Cambridge University England where he specialised in administration.

He returned to Nigeria and joined the civil service in Eastern Region of Nigeria as District Officer. He progressed through the ranks to reach the exalted position of a Federal Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Health from where he retired in 1973.

He wore so many hats including as a Finance commissioner in Bendel State, Regional Representative of Gulf Oil Company, Grand Patron of Edo College Old Boys Association (ECOBA) etc and Edaiken n’Uselu in keeping with the tradition of preparation and subsequent ascension to the throne by the principles of primogeniture system; ‘aisagbo rhio oba’ as the Oba is chosen by Almighty God before birth.

As we say in Benin, ‘Osorhue burun’ (Great Pillar of Chalk has broken), the home Leopard has finally slept, the mighty Eagle has soared beyond the clouds for ever. The rocky biceps have gone motionless. The beauty, elegance, splendour and royal tone of speech of our Omo n’Oba is no more.

He has joined Enikaro (his ancestors)

Umogun; Okhiendehia (We bid you farewell)

Oba ghator Okpere Ise.

Signed

Dr Stephen E O Ogbonmwan President Edo Global Organization

Mr  R.Eboigbe Chairman Edo Global Organization Germany  Chapter

Mr Ivan Osamuyimen Chairman Edo Global Organization Australia Chapter

Mr Osborne Ekhibise Chairman Edo Global Organization Canada Chapter

Mr Peter Ihaza Ex Chairman Edo Global Organization  Canada

Mr David Ajayi Chairman Edo Global Organization Republic of Ireland Chapter

Dr Osamwonyi Edwin Igori Chairman Edo Global Organization Italy Chapter

Dr Joe Igunbor Chairman Edo Global Organization Ivory Coast Chapter

Mr Vosper Enoma Okungbowa Chairman Edo Global Organization Austria Chapter

Mr Charles Omorodion Chairman Edo Global Organization United Kingdom Chapter

Mrs Helyn Woghiren  Chairperson  Edo Global Organization USA Chapter

Mr Alex Igbineweka  Guosa Language Evolutionist /Elder Edo Global Organization USA.

Mr Victor Osazuwa Chairman Edo Global Organization Royal Kingdom of Spain Chapter

SEEKING THE GOLDEN FLEECE: A PERILOUS JOURNEY FROM AFRICA TO EUROPE

A Presentation at  Global Eghosa  Old Boys Association at the Crowne Plaza Hotel London Heathrow.

 

SALUTATION

  • The Chairman,
  • President Global Eghosa Old Boys Association (EGHOBA GLOBAL)
  • President EGHOBA (UK)
  • Distinguished Eghosa Old Boys and their Spouses,
  • Ladies & Gentlemen

Content of Discussion

  • Definition of Terms
  • The Origin of Migration.
  • European migration to Africa;
  • The scramble for Africa & Subsequent Partition of Africa.
  • Causes of African migration to Europe –
  • The scale of the problem.
  • Migration Routes from Sub-Sahara Africa.
  • Solutions to the Problem

African Solutions & European Solutions

DEFINITION OF TERMS:

  • Regular Migration: Migration that occurs through recognized, legal channels.
  • Irregular Migration :

Movement that takes place outside the regulatory norms of the sending, transit and

receiving countries. There is no clear or universally accepted definition of irregular

migration.

Perspective of destination countries it is illegal entry, stay or work in a country, meaning that the migrant does not have the necessary authorization or

documents required under immigration regulations to enter, reside or work

Perspective of the sending country, the irregularity in which a person crosses an international boundary without a valid passport or travel document or does not fulfil the administrative requirements for leaving the  country.

  • Illegal migration cases of smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons.

 

DEFINITION OF TERMS 2

  • Refugee:

A person, who “owing to well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion,

nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinions, is outside the

country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself

of the protection of that country” (Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, Art. 1A (2), 1951, 1967)

DEFINITION OF TERMS 3

  • Trafficking in Persons:

The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or

of the giving or receiving of

payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation (Art. 3(a), UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and

Punish trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, Supplementing the UN Convention against Organized Crime, 2000).

 

THE ORIGIN OF HUMAN MIGRATION

  • Early human migrations and expansions of archaic and modern humans across continents began 1.8 million years ago with the migration out of Africa by Homo erectus.
  • The Homo sapiens ventured out of Africa around 125,000 years ago, spread across Asia from 75,000 years ago.
  • The first modern humans to spread east across Asia left Africa about 75,000 years ago across the Bab el Mandib connecting Ethiopia and Yemen.
  • From the Near East, some of these people went east to South Asia by 50,000 years ago and on to Australia by 46,000 years ago.
  • The first time H. sapiens reached territory never reached by H. erectus.
  • H. sapiens reached Europe around 43,000 years ago, replacing the Neanderthal population by 24,000 years ago. Is history repeating itself?

 

EUROPEAN MIGRATION TO AFRICA

  • The European migration led to the creation of European communities throughout the world predominantly in the Americas, Africa, and Australasia etc
  • Emigration from Europe began during the European colonial empires of the 18th to 19th centuries and continues to the present day. Spanish Empire in the 16th to 17th centuries, the British Empire in the 17th to 19th centuries, the Portuguese Empire and the Russian Empire in the 19th century.
  • From 1815 to 1932, about 60 million people left Europe primarily to “areas of European settlement” in USA, Canada, Argentina and Brazil; Australia, New Zealand, Siberia, Africa especially South Africa and Namibia.

EUROPEAN MIGRATION TO AFRICA

  • The “Scramble for Africa” is the invasion, occupation, colonization and annexation of African territory by European powers during the period of New Imperialism, between 1881 and 1914. It is also called the Partition of Africa.
  • The Berlin Conference of 1884, regulated European colonization and trade in Africa.
  • The 19th century saw the transition from “informal imperialism” (hegemony), by military influence and economic dominance, to the direct rule of a people which brought about colonial imperialism.
  • The second serious problem was the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade which removed the best, the strongest and the brightest from African shores to the sugar cane plantations of the Americas.

The Europeans were uninvited, they did not obtain a visa and the trade was one sided as they determined what they paid for or sold a commodity

 

EUROPEAN MIGRATION INTO AFRICA

  • In the partition of Africa, homogenous tribes were divided e.g. the French Cameroon and the British Cameroon, the Ndebele of South Africa were separated into South Africa and Zimbabwe. Western Sahara divided between Spain and the ancient Kingdom of Morocco.
  • Conflict of territorial control today between POLITSARIO FRONT and Morocco government,
  • On the horn of Africa, you will recall the 30years war of independence between Eritrea and Ethiopia which led to secession of Eritrea. Peace has eluded the horn of Africa since.
  • The inherent problem in the arbitrary partition of Africa, separation of ethnic nations into different countries led to incessant wars in Africa resulting in huge refugee problem as in the Congo Basin.
  • Nigeria and Cameroon could have gone into full scale war if not the diplomacy and the weakness showed by President Obasanjo by conceding the oil rich Bakassi peninsula to Cameroon. In oral Nigerian history, Bakassi is an integral part and parcel of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

CAUSES OF AFRICANS MIGRATION TO EUROPE.

The PUSH FACTORS

Include violent conflicts, wars, gross human rights violations, repression, population pressure, degradation of natural resources, poverty,  poor governance, corruption, tribalism, ethnicity, unemployment, cultism and nepotism.

Migration from Africa is a reflection of its socio‐economic dynamics over time. In the past decades the number of refugees from conflict regions in Africa increased dramatically.

Between 1993 and 2002, the population of 27 out of 53 African countries suffered from violent conflicts.

At the end of 2005 some 18% of all African migrants were refugees. This proportion is

far above the global average, as African refugees constitute about one third of the global refugee population. This may explain, why nearly half (47%) of the 16.7m. cross‐border migrants in Africa in 2005 were women and children.

Above figures explicitly disregard some13m. additional internally displaced persons  in the North Eastern part of Nigeria due to the activities of the Islamic insurgency of boko haram.

 

CAUSES OF AFRICAN MIGRATION

The External Pull Factors

Young men and women, threatened by unemployment and lack of perspectives in their home

country, try their luck in what may appear to them at first sight as their El Dorado, i. e. Western Europe;

a better life; the proverbial golden fleece.

Deterrence and zero‐migration policies on the part of the fortress Europe  encourage irregular immigration, smuggling, marginalization and exploitation of migrants on different levels and stages of their journey to Europe

The better educated, have most to gain, and because of their resource endowment are more prone than others to benefit from the pull factors, like better living and economic conditions in their host countries.

This is one of the reasons of a considerable ‘brain drain’ over the past thirty years, which resulted in the loss of about one third of the African academic work force to highly industrialised countries.

About 20,000 Nigerian and 12,000 South‐African doctors migrated overseas, whereas only 33,000 remained in South Africa according to recent WHO statistics.

Even the 926 Ghanaian doctors practising nowadays in OECD countries, would be urgently needed at home, where they would represent 29% of all doctors employed.  Western Africa has been the most important source of this brain drain, due to the economic and/or political crisis in Ghana, Gambia, Nigeria, Liberia and Sierra Leone since the 1980s.

The drain of human capital is most pronounced in the employment sector for highly qualified personnel – a total loss to Africa economic development.

 

THE MIGRATION ROUTE

  • THE MIGRATION ROUTE
  • “The journey across the desert is nothing like the journey by sea, which is also complicated enough. In the desert, there is practically no reliable information, no guide and anything can happen to you: you have to get this into your head. You are forced to learn, you make mistakes but each error you make helps you not to repeat it.
  • It is a journey of chance, of destiny, of coincidences; plans are worth little or nothing and everything is unpredictable”.

MIGRATION ROUTES

  • From Western Africa
  • West Africa is a strategic gateway to North Africa and Europe. Although West African migration to Europe slightly decreased in 2013, Mali and Nigeria, continue to experience rising numbers of migrants.
  • The main hurdle for both West and Central Africans comes at the crossing into North Africa, where they are most vulnerable to authorities and exploitation alike. For Malian nationals, the jump into the Maghreb is easier, as those with a Malian passport or those with easily obtainable false Malian papers, do not need a visa to enter Algeria.
  • From there, most irregular migrants cross into Tunisia or Libya before beginning their maritime journey across the Mediterranean. Transportation is largely via trucks, buses and lorries that are in poor condition. Local ethnic groups, such as the Tuareg, are involved in migrant smuggling to Europe via Sahel routes. The Tuareg cooperate closely with “travel agencies” in Agadez (Niger), renting out their lorries to transport people.

MIGRATION ROUTES.

  • The Agadez trail is a well-established smuggling route from northern Niger’s largest city, Agadez, into Algeria and onward. The number of migrants on the Agadez trail has increased since 2013.
  • More than 5,000 West Africans leave Agadez to North Africa each month between March and August 2013. Half of all West African migrants arriving Lampedusa, Italy transit through Agadez.
  • There are over 70 known migrant way-stations and transit houses in this region, 18 of which are located in the town of Agadez itself.
  • These way-stations are reported to house as many as 500 migrants at any given time. They move from here to Tripoli, Benghazi, Sebha, Tamanrasset, Gao, Agadaez, Sallum, Ma’tan as Sarah, Selimat, paying from2000 USD to 4,000 USD for full package.
  • It is believe that free movement through ECOWAS Members states facilitate this irregular migration

THE SCALE OF THE PROBLEM

  • No one knows exactly how many people perish at sea or in the desert but most deaths probably gounreported and the bodies of the deceased remain unidentified.
  • Even less is known about those who lose their lives during the desert crossing from sub-Saharan Africa to Libya. Both at sea and in the desert, the casualties are men, women and even children.
  • The passage to Europe via Libya – typically composed of the desert crossing, travel within Libya, and the boat trip across the Mediterranean Sea – is a treacherous journey.
  • Most refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants alike are left at the mercy of smugglers at each leg of their difficult journey.
  • Before the death of Muarmar Gaddafi, Libya was a destination nation but since his death and the instability in Libya, it has become a transit country for irregular immigrants to Europe without control.

DEATH IN THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA

SOLUTIONS TO THE PROBLEM

  • AFRICAN SOLUTION
  • EU SOLUTION

A NEW ONE NIGERIA

The news of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan conceding defeat in this keenly contested Nigeria Presidential election brought the supporters of the APC presidential candidate of the northern Nigerian cities and the commercial capital of Nigeria in Lagos to the street to jubilation.

While we congratulate the President elect Major General Muhammadu Buhari for a clear victory for the APC (All Progressive Congress) party and for being fourth time  lucky due to his personal resilience and determination; we whole heartedly thank President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan for keeping to his promise of a free and fair elections; more importantly for creating an enabling environment for the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct  free and fair elections without the interference of the government of the day unlike in previous elections.

The present government provided adequate funds and support for recruitment of more staff and the purchase of election materials including the personal voters’ card (PVC) electronic equipment and totally made INEC independent as it should be. While he was pressured to terminate the appointment of the Chairman of INEC Professor Attahiru Jega before the elections by asking him to go on terminal leave prior to the elections, he refused to buckle to the pressure his party associates.

Goodluck Jonathan did not only concede defeat but congratulated his opponent in the APC. This has never happened in Nigerian politics or even in African democracy. By this singular act, President Jonathan has placed his name in the history books and the annals of statesmanship globally. This action elevated him from the common everyday politician to a statesman who wishes for what is best for his country Nigeria.

We hope that what Jonathan has started in Nigerian politics by being an honourable loser will endure for the benefit of the political growth of Nigeria and Africa. This is the 8th time in the history of elections in Africa where there has been peaceful change of government and the 7th time where the opposition party has defeated an incumbent government but the first time an incumbent has conceded defeat and also congratulated his opponent.

African Leaders are usually sit-tight leaders and others try to make new laws to change the national constitution for a third term as happened during President Olusegun Obasanjo’s tenure of office here in Nigeria.

The preceding years to what happened on the 31st of March 2015 when President Jonathan conceded leaves so much to be desired in political campaigning in Africa or in anywhere in the world.

The smear campaign and violence was deplorable, unprecedented and the heating of the political situation in the country were all uncalled for. Politics can be without bitterness if those playing the politics can absorb themselves of bitterness and steer their supporters away from violence, smear campaign and thuggery.

It should be on recorded the number of Nigerians that relocated away from the major northern cities like Kano, Kaduna, Zaria, Minna, Katsina and even the Federal Capital territory of Abuja for fear of violence and destruction of life and property. Due to intimidation of fellow Nigerians by fellow Nigerians of Northern extraction the massive relocation of Southern Nigerians to their home base was like just prior to the Biafra war. By this relocation away from where they registered to vote; they were therefore disenfranchised and this fear for life and destruction of property prior to election should be tackled by the in-coming government and completely abrogated in subsequent elections if we have to have a united and progressive One Nigeria. Appropriate measures should be put in place to reassure Nigerians whose abode is away from their state of origin to allay their anxiety so that they can take part in the election process.

The President-elect Major General Muhammadu Buhari should ensure in his utterances, body language and actions that this fear for life and property of Southerners living in the North does not re-occur in subsequent Nigerian elections under his watch. Action or utterances that will necessitate massive relocation of Nigerians for fear of post-election violence in Nigeria should be a thing of the past in a united One Nigeria.

The President elect should show the olive branch and be a truly Nigerian President for ALL Nigerians, all political parties including the defeated PDP and ALL Nigerians in spite of differences in culture and tradition, religious worship and ethnicity. He should do his best under the prevailing economic situation in Nigeria with a devalued and weakened Naira due to low price for a barrel of oil by blocking all the loop holes that leads to haemorrhaging the Nigerian economy. He should completely curb oil theft in the Niger Delta and reduce Nigeria loses of crude oil to theft that runs into millions of barrels on a daily basis.

In addition to ridding the country of terrorism and the Islamic fundamentalist boko haram, provision of regular electricity, good education, affordable healthcare, security of life and property;  he should ensure the current poor distribution of oil blocks to a few Nigerians where the over 170 million Nigerians live on less than one dollar a day is quickly revisited. We have on good record that in spite of General Muhammadu Buhari being the Federal Commissioner for Petroleum and Natural Resources and Chairman of Petroleum Trust Fund, he has no oil block. His job of ridding Nigeria of massive corruption should start from recovering the oil blocks from these individual and nationalising them for the benefit of all Nigerians. Resources that  will accrue from this action will help improve the living standard of the average Nigerian and increase the average life span of Nigerians from what it is today of less than 56 years to over 80 years as in developed countries. By this singular act General Buhari would place himself as the saviour of Nigerian masses.

He should work hard to integrate Nigerians in all works of life, Nigerians of all ethnicity and religious dispensation or in due course what created his success today will also create another Nigerian’s success in subsequent elections if he develops tunnel vision and action whilst in office.

The implementation of the outcome of the Nigerian National Assembly should be done during the tenure of office of the in-coming government so as to give Nigeria a new lease of life for a truly united nation with Nigerians having a sense of belonging.  Nigerians voted overwhelmingly for General Buhari to win with over two million votes to his nearest competitor so he is truly a Nigerian President because of a proper Nigerian mandate, but the observed free thumb printing of ballot papers on You-tube on the internet should not be allowed in subsequent elections so that rigging is completely wiped out in our body politics.

Nigeria has so much potential which should be harnessed for the common good of all her citizenry. The best of Nigeria should run the country for the benefit of all Nigerian weather they voted or not for the ruling party.

Finally, one has to congratulate Nigeria and Nigerians for maintaining Peace during and after the elections and the role of General Abubakar Abudusallami Chairman National Peace Committee for 2015 elections, working tirelessly for Peace during the tense moments while INEC was collating the results. The international community really forecasted doom for the nation after the elections but Nigerians jubilated instead of killing and maiming innocent one another. They did not allow the predictions of the doomsayers to manifest.

This celebrated after election PEACE and tranquillity we have all enjoyed was due to a single phone call by the incumbent President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to the President-elect congratulating him and the President’s  subsequent appeal for calm and non-violence for all his supporters.

Nigeria has passed another test and has moved from being the biggest economy on the African continent to being the Biggest Democracy on the African Continent. This is truly a New, Indivisible, and Peaceful One Nigeria. We pray and hope for this progressive match to continue and in due course Nigeria will take her place amongst the industrialised and peaceful nations of the world.

God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Dr Steve E O Ogbonmwan FMCOG(Nig), FRCOG(UK), KSC.

steveogbonmwan@aol.com

May 2015

THE PASSING OF REV Father Festus Ogbonmwan

 

rev

The news of the passing of our most Reverend Father Festus Ogbonmwan took all of us by surprise on that fateful Saturday morning the 24th of January 2015 when a phone call from a Catholic Lay Reader informed us of the sad news. Everything seemed still; coming to rest in that ever perpetual motion of our time through life. Initially it was unbelievable but it was confirmed by further phone calls that Rev Father Festus Ogbonmwan has truly been called to the great beyond.

Until his death he was the Parish Priest of St Gabriel the Archangel Catholic Church on Sapele Road Benin City amongst many hats he wore including the Episcopal Vicar for Public Relations in the Benin Dioceses.

Father Festus Ogbonmwan was more than a Parish Priest, Father absorbed problems from members of his congregation, he was a leader who led from the front and by example, provided pastoral care for his flock, a teacher who taught by giving everyday examples; a preacher par excellence, a builder of mind and body and physical structure and a great winner of souls for the Lord.

The Grace of God made him more caring and compassionate further enhancing his calling as a Catholic Priest. The Grace of God made him to consider others’ view points and less critical even in un-savouring situations. He was the face of Jesus in the lives of others around him, in the hospitals when he visited the sick, the prisoners in the prisons, at the funeral services, at weddings and christening ceremonies he performed for members of his congregation and his friends.

Rev Father Ogbonmwan was on the job for Jesus Christ; the more he served others in love and friendship, the more he influenced them towards Christ. He was an exceedingly successful Evangelist. Though he was free, Father Festus was a slave to everyone. He gave his time and life so that many of us will know Christ and strengthen our faith.

In Rev. Father Festus Ogbonmwan one saw evidence of God Almighty through His Grace bestowed on his life. Where ever he went there was the Grace of God in him which he shared unreservedly to members of his congregation. Because there was grace in him, there was growth where ever he worked and there was evidence of it. As Parish Priest of St Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Abudu, he worked hard to create the Catholic Nurses Guild in his time and improved the physical structure of the Church.

His tenure as Parish Priest at St Patricks’ Catholic Church Ugbowo Benin City transformed it into a bigger, better and a more modern church where he physically supervised the extension of the church and the building of the Parish Priest Residence. He was transferred from there to the Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Okhoro, Benin City where he built a school for the children including physically challenged children; only one of its kind in the state.  It was from here he moved to St Gabriel the Archangel where his preaching attracted more Christians to the congregation and he has reached the advanced stage of the erection of a Church Hall for marriage reception and other sundry uses before his calling to the great beyond. There was evidence of God’s Grace wherever he worked.

Father Festus Ogbonmwan hailed from Egua Eholor in Isi in Uhunmwonde Local Government area of Edo State. He attended St Kizito Grammar School in Egua-Eholor during the tenure of another great man of God as Principal of the School, Rev Father Elahor. Father Ogbonmwan excelled in academic activities which drew the attention of his principal to him and in a short while Festus became Father Elahor’s acolyte from where he moved to the Seminary in Benin. He has never looked back in his faith since. He harkened to the prodding of Father Elahor that he should come to God’s vineyard as the labour was huge and the labourers very few. Rev Father Ogbonmwan is the 3rd Benin Priest to have passed on the last two years. What a great loss to evangelization in Benin Diocese.

The pain of Rev Father Festus Ogbonmwan death was further accentuated when the circumstances surrounding his death were revealed. UBTH doctors were on strike as usual without thinking of the consequences of their action so he had to be taken to a private hospital in Asaba. In the UK where I have worked for the last 25 years, there has never been a strike by doctors no matter the disagreement with government. The Black man’s attitude to work should change. He should remember his responsibility to his profession, to God and to Man.

Father Festus Ogbonmwan started off without a parish after his ordination in 1980 into the Catholic Priesthood the same year I graduated from the medical school. He came as a visiting Priest to Ogbahu whilst I was the Medical Officer at Igbanke General Hospital Igbanke. He would minister to the sick and staff especially those who were always moaning about working in the village like Igbanke. He would stress if no one appreciated their work that God was recording their good deed. He was very encouraging. He worked in various places including as a Parish Priest in Ekpoma before being transferred to Benin City. Rev Father Festus was always there for all of us and he sanctified my hospital in Benin in August 2013 and dedicated the place to God.

It is less than a year ago when we gathered at his residence at St Gabriel the Archangel to celebrate his 34th year in the Priesthood. His blood sisters and brothers, Christian brothers and sisters, congregants and friends were all present. It was truly the celebration of His Life on that day. Speeches to exhort him were made by friends and family members and a very rousing toast by me for my Rev Father, my Friend, and my Brother, my co-traveller in the Catholic Faith and a spiritual adviser and pillar of support.

Father Festus Ogbonmwan will be dearly missed by all who knew him. His smile was infectious; he had a good laugh and a very pleasant and sociable personality which attracted the congregation and all of us to him.

May his souls be accepted into the bosom of the Lord, may his family, friends and members of his congregation have the courage to bear this huge and irreparable loss.

Adieu Father Festus Ogbonmwan. You were truly different; a primus inter pares. 

 

Signed

Dr Stephen E O Ogbonmwan MBBS, MMED, FMCOG (Nig.), CCST, FRCOG (UK), KSC.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6SWrQiFeAU

EBOLA

EBOLA; A DEADLY VIRAL DISEASE: APPEAL FOR FUNDING RESEACH INTO TREATMENT OF VIRAL DISEASES.

Ebola virus is named after the Ebola River in Yambuku in Zaire (Democratic Republic of Congo) where it was first detected in 1976.

Ebola like other virus is a small infectious organism which is much smaller than a fungus or bacterium that must invade a living cell to replicate itself. The virus attaches to the host cell, enters it, and releases its DNA or RNA inside the cell. The virus’s DNA or RNA is the genetic material containing the information needed to replicate the virus. The virus’s genetic material takes control of the cell and forces it to replicate the virus. The infected cell usually dies because the virus keeps it from performing its normal functions. When it dies, the cell releases new viruses, which go on to infect other cells.

Like other viral infections, people may get Ebola viruses by close body contacts, inoculation of infected blood or body fluids, swallowing or inhaling them, being bitten by insects or parasites or through sexual contact or eating viral infected bush meat. Most commonly, viral infections involve the nose, throat, vaginal, urethral and upper airways due to the nature of the porous and wet membranes in these areas of the body.

Treatments of viral diseases are very difficult unlike bacterial infection so prevention is the best cure for viral infections. Available antiviral agents are few and work by interfering with the reproduction of viruses or strengthening the immune response to the viral infection which is not consistent in all individuals who may be infected by viral agents.

Normally, the body has a number of defences against viruses. Physical barriers, such as the skin, discourage easy entry. Infected cells also make interferons; substances that can make uninfected cells more resistant to infection by many viruses. Virus enters the body and triggers the body’s immune defences. These defences begin with white blood cells, such as lymphocytes and monocytes, which learn to attack and destroy the virus or the cells it has infected. If the body survives the virus attack, some of the white blood cells remember the invader and are able to respond more quickly and effectively to a subsequent infection by the same virus as in the virus of the common cold and influenza. This response is called immunity. Immunity can also be produced by getting a vaccine produced against a particular virus.

Virus infections are associated with cancers like Epstein Barr virus with Burkett’s lymphoma, Human papilloma virus with cervical cancers in women, HIV with Kaposi Sarcoma, Hepatitis B and C viruses with Liver cancers, warts (HPV) viruses in vulva cancers.

Viral infections may be diagnosed based on symptoms. For infections that occur in epidemics like the influenza or Ebola, the presence of other similar cases may help doctors identify a particular infection hence post mortem diagnosis is still very relevant in disease prevention. For other viral infections, blood tests and cultures from samples of blood, body fluid, or other material taken from an infected area may be done. Blood may also be tested for antibodies to viruses or for antigens.  Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) techniques may be used to make many copies of the viral genetic material, enabling doctors to rapidly and accurately identify the virus. When the infection is a serious threat to public health as Ebola virus or when symptoms are severe, a sample of blood or other tissues is sometimes examined with an electron microscope, which provides high magnification with clear resolution.

 

Anti-viral agents are few unlike antibiotics. Many antiviral drugs work by interfering with replication of viruses without actually killing the viral agent as in the treatment of HIV. Because viruses are tiny and replicate inside cells using the cells’ own metabolic functions, there are only a limited number of metabolic functions that antiviral drugs can target which is in contrast to bacteria that are relatively large organisms, commonly reproduce by themselves outside of cells, and have many metabolic functions that antibacterial drugs (antibiotics) can target.

The above are the reasons that antiviral drugs are much more difficult to develop than antibacterial drugs. Antiviral drugs can be toxic to human cells and viruses can easily develop resistance to these antiviral agents.

This is why we are appealing  to all kind hearted individuals from anywhere in the world to help fund research into anti-viral drugs which can take years and years to develop from conception to testing and subsequent approval by the various drug administration control authorities in various countries.

Most of these viruses are linked to Africa especially sub-Saharan Africa. It is therefore imperative for African leaders to be in the fore-front of finding solutions to these viral infections instead of always depending on others to fund research for their own problems while they are siphoning national economic resources for luxury goods to foreign land. They should encourage and fund home grown research into finding solutions to African problems. Africans should stop the blame game and utilise their human resources appropriately. In Nigeria for example where the Senators earn as much as twice the salaries American Senators for minimal results; money which is squandered for marrying more wives and building houses which they may never live in could be used to fund such research, pay doctors decent salaries so that they continue to be in the fore front of fighting diseases including incurable viral infections.

Generally viral diseases can only be controlled or suppressed by innate immunity but cannot be cured like bacteria diseases so government agencies should fund the campaign about healthy living and prevention of communicable diseases than corruptly enriching themselves to the detriment of their citizens.

Dr Stephen E O Ogbonmwan FMCOG(Nig), FRCOG(UK)

July 2014

YOUTH RE-ORIENTATION & MORAL EDIFICATION: A SPEECH IN DUBLIN

YOUTH RE-ORIENTATION & MORAL EDIFICATION.

 

By

DR SEO OGBONMWAN MMED, FMCOG, FRCOG, KSC.

 

Presented at

EDO GLOBAL ORGANIZATION ANNUAL CONFERENCE 2012.

 DUBLIN, IRELAND.

 

The Chairman,

Mayor of South Dublin,

 

Representative of the Nigerian Ambassador to Dublin

President Nigerian Community Ireland,

Distinguished Speakers,

Members of Board of Governors Edo Global Organization

Representatives of Edo Organizations in…

Members of Edo Global Organization,

Our Host : BCI, Edo Global Organization Ireland and Edo State Community Ireland.

 

It is an honour to deliver this speech on the need for re-orientation of our youths to the straight and narrow path so as to sustain Edo genealogy in this global village of survival of the fittest. If our race must not become extinct as a result of emigration then our youths must toe the path of honesty, honour, transparency, hard work, self dependency and acquire entrepreneurial spirit and be home based. We must reclaim our lost glory in our father and mother land in the confines of the ancient Benin Kingdom in today’s Nigeria nation.

 

Youth have many connotations to different people, countries and organizations. The definitions range from those that are purely of a legal nature to those that are of a functional one; so a youth can be an adolescent, a teenager or young individual undergoing physical, mental and cultural transition from childhood to adulthood.

For legal purposes the World Health Organization defines adolescents as people age 10 to 19 and young people as being between the ages 10 and 24 so for the purpose of this discussion, we shall regard a youth as being between the ages of 10 – 24 years.

 

 

Whereas orientation is an integrated set of attitudes and beliefs, then re-orientation is a changed set of attitudes and beliefs; that is a fresh orientation.

Reorientation is also the act of changing direction in which one is orientated; a turnaround, a reversal or a change of course. A change from idleness to productive work, from despair to hope; from checking out of Benin Kingdom to staying-in in Benin Kingdom; a change from fear of youths to love of our youths, a change from lack of integrity to overflowing flow of integrity because our youths are our future and must be sustained and directed.

 

Edification means improvement, teaching, instruction; that is moral instruction, teaching or enlightenment which can be spiritually uplifting; the act of edifying or state of being edified.

 

There are a number of major youth issues like social, economic, cultural issues that need to be dealt with as part of the numerous developmental programmes and strategies in many countries. Some of these issues constitute serious obstacles to youth development and to improving the quality of life of the whole population. Development is an increasing capacity to produce and build upon what was inherited while advancing steadily; but what we see in Nigeria is lack of continuity and policy reversals by every new government hence national growth is stagnant that affects the youth negatively.

 

  • The Demographic Situation

We are Edo from Nigeria and Nigeria is the most populous country on the continent of Africa and accounts for a sixth of the population of that continent. The population of Nigeria is over 167 millions and the youths account for nearly 50% of this population. That is why looking after the youths, their reorientation, providing them with gainful employments, and occupying their time must be a major preoccupation of governments at local, state or national level and in fact all the citizenry.

 

Edo State which is our home occupies a land area of about 17, 802 squared kilometres with a population of 3.2million and rising; that is a very homogenous population of Edo speaking people who have one ancestral home which is Oredo the area within the moat in Benin City. The present day politicians are doing very well in putting us asunder. We pray that our Supreme God and our Ancestors will never let them succeed because Edo people are one people with one heritage and one destiny. Amen.

The celebration of birth, mourning of death, morning salutation, farming methodology, our staple food, our names and their meaning, mode of dressing are  the same because we are one people hence we must work together and support each other as Edo People wherever we may be on the surface of mother earth.

Of the total population of Edo State, the youths (adolescents and young adults) that is between the ages of 10-24 years of age account for over 42% of the population, making Edo State one of the States in Nigeria with a very high concentration of young people. This very high population of youths are made up of young school leavers, drop-outs, apprentice; job seekers, undergraduates and graduates who are very restless with so much time in their hands and very desperate for a job or a means of livelihood. When the government of the day delay in creating opportunities for jobs, leisure, after school activities, sports and recreational activities, involvement in youth clubs like Man o’ War Bay, Boys Scouts and Girls Guide, the youths are left to be swallowed up by gang lords, gang bosses, cults leaders, political god fathers thus derailing their lives for ever. It is to prevent such that we have been campaigning to Edo State Governors to take a critical look at the youths and take the matters of the youths seriously because if our youths have no future, then the state has no future whatsoever. Those who are diverting resources meant for youths programme will all be consumed when the youths explode. We are here because we have foresight to proffer solutions to the youth’s restlessness and thus prevent the likely explosion of the youths that may inevitably occur if the situation is not remedied now.

 

 

 

  • The Socio-Economic Situation.

Edo State is in the South-South Zone of Nigeria a country the United States Energy Information Administration puts its crude oil reserve at between 16 and 22 billion barrels (3.5×109 m3) while other sources claim the reserve could be as much as 35.3 billion barrels (5.61×109 m3). This amount of reserves makes Nigeria the tenth most petroleum-rich nation in the world, and by far the most affluent in Africa. Today the crude oil daily average production is put at 2.2 million barrels per day. The collusion of the former Nigerian Military leaders, the multi-national corporation and the very corrupt civil servants and today’s politicians ensure that Nigerian youths never benefit from this huge national resource. The Military Heads of State with the possible exception of General Yakubu Gowon and PDP politicians distributed the oil bocks to their friends who have no knowledge about prospecting, extraction, conversion and marketing of oil and oil products who in turn sell these oil blocks to foreigners at give away prices. In prospecting for oil, these foreign companies bring their nationals as workers in these companies making Nigerian Youths to be on-lookers whilst others take the jobs in their back yard. This primary error results from over dependence on anything foreign by our country men, lack of foresight by our leaders and putting those who are not qualified to lead in sensitive positions due to ethnicity, tribalism, favouritisms, corruption, vote rigging at elections, thuggery  and god-fatherism. The youths look at these few affluent Nigerians and copy their attitude and behaviour against our traditional and ancestral customs and our unique tradition of taking one step at a time on the ladder to progress. Owę ϙkpo kpa aze vbę okedin. On graduation from the university they want to drive a Mercedes Benz car or an SUV like the oil barons or profiteers without working for it. This is the root of militancy, kidnapping, armed robbery, burglary which was unheard of when we growing up as children in Mid West region /Bendel State of Nigeria.

 

Another ill effect of poverty and lack of youth empowerment in Edo State and Nigeria is migration to Europe and America. In this journey of no return for many, a lot of our youths are lost in the Sahara deserts, lost to prisons of many countries on the migration route but some are still struggling on that you now have Edo unions in Mali, Upper Volta, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Algeria stranded on this perilous journey to Europe by land which you all will agree is a very treacherous path to take to beat the poverty at home. If you have a brother or a sister who is stranded somewhere in the desert on his or her way to Europe; advice him/her to go back home. ‘ode magia la, aghi la weriegbe’ This migration of Edo Youths have to be stopped as it has depleted our home stead so that others have encroached on Edo land especially Benin lands around Ughoton, Gele gele, Abiala and have taken over the graves of our forebears while our youths are doing everything possible to get to Europe and America, to become cleaners, sweepers healthcare assistants with a university degrees in their pockets. This is not right; and we should do something about it collectively. There are still opportunities in Edo State but we have to have the will and the trust of the system and have the courage to start a business. Remember, Rome was not built in day. The IBRU conglomerate started from a single shop and today it is a business empire everyone looks at with awe. I know that an insignificant percentage of all of us that left Edo State for the Golden Fleece succeeded but how many lives were ruined in the process of going abroad, overseas, for the Golden Fleece, Europe and America. We should no longer throw our lives away in the African desert in the pursuit of going abroad.

 Asese ewi ye evbo no ma yaen.

Osa no sui mahia so owa vbe ofunmwegbe.  

Igho nima khuan vbisi, I ma ghaya niyen so wa vbe Edo.

 Vbe etin Osanudazi.Isę!!!

 

The slow growth in the economy, the rising unemployment, difficulties associated with the provision and protection of basic social services in the face of a changing economic environment with slow growth, associated with the importation of luxury goods create difficulties for the youth especially of agreeing to be on the slow lane when their contemporaries are on the fast lane by cheating, ‘who know man; favouritism, ethnicity and sometimes religious affiliation.

The problem in a country like Nigeria where you have a vast desert of poverty and want, with very few oasis of affluence is a recipe for violent revolution. It is this type of knowledge and feeling of being completely lost coupled with the manipulations of the youths by the rich politicians that has led to the militancy in the Niger Delta and the Boko Haram in the arid North East zone of Nigeria. I am sorry, I keep talking about Nigeria but you will agree Edo State is an integral part of the Nigerian nation.

In pre-election campaign as it is happening in Edo State presently, politicians arm youths to man election booths, to harass opponents, to seize ballot boxes for their godfathers but at the end of such elections, the arms and dangerous weapons are not returned and as such become the means of livelihood for these youths in armed robbery, kidnapping and burglary. These elder politicians should stop misleading our youths for their selfish political ends.

 

My appeal to Edo youths is not to allow themselves to be used by those who do not care about their welfare or their future, to resist the temptations of bearing arms or planting bombs to kill or maim fellow Nigerians on behalf of conscienceless politicians who want to win an election at all cost or influence political situations by unleashing violence on innocent people. The politicians will never request members of their families to bear arms on their behalf; you as a Nigerian youth should also not do it no matter the financial consideration. In my search of the literature, I have never seen the hall of fame of criminals, the hall of fame of thugs, the hall of fame of kidnappers, burglars, armed robbers etc; but I have seen the hall of fame of music stars, celebrated novelists, athletes, soldiers, academics, dancers etc. Make a good choice today and give honour to your family names. You may not eat honour but it is greater than wealth or riches. You do not want people to spit at the mention of your family names so do everything to preserve your family good names; as our people say ‘a good name is better than riches’’ and once a name is spoilt by any excess on the part of the youth, that name can never be repaired so guide against your family good name by leading the path of honour, respect for constituted authority, dignity, integrity, honesty, openness, candour and forthrightness.

 

However, the magnitude and implications of the problems enumerated above may affect all Nigerian citizens but they are more severe for the youth. Moreover, the youth population lacks various basic opportunities, the means; the resources; the enabling environment for their physical, psychological, financial development and growth.

The youth should sit back and think. Is it morally right to kill, maim, and destroy others so that one may be heard or to prove a point? All the higher Beings we worship either God as a Christian, or Allah as a Moslem or the Ancestral Sprit as in Customary Religion, there is non of them that agree to killing, maiming others to win an election as happens in our country. They all preach love, kindness, respect, humility, truthfulness, charity etc.  It is therefore important to have a change of heart from a non-caring person to a thoughtful and kind and loving individual; from an arsonist to a community builder; from a system demolition gang to a community construction crew so that love and peace will prevail in our community; so that our community will be a place we are glad to visit regularly without fear of banditry or kidnapping; so that our community will be a place we love to live in. ne emwienren ma yę agha mu vbe ogheęrę

 

  • Education and Vocational Skills Acquisition.

Nigeria has achieved excellent progress in education since our independence in 1960 but the gains after the independence in the 1960s and 70s were lost due to incessant military incursions into politics and the ill advised action of always restarting projects or programmes without building on the foundations already set up by their predecessors in office. This is a corrupt practice so as to re-award contracts and collect the usual 15% of the contract fees thereby depleting the resources of the nation for creating the wellbeing of our youths.

 

Edo people and Edo State government have maintained the position that education is a basic human right and should be committed to the provision of a relevant, quality education available to everyone. This is the reason our parents did everything within their means to educate us. This is responsible for the high university graduate rate in Edo State and the Basic Primary Education is almost universal in Edo Kingdom.  Some of us believe that our concept of education is wrong in today’s world as it is geared towards having an office job rather than becoming an entrepreneur by starting our own business. Our education should lead us into making engines, motors, managing foundries and forging car parts and other instruments. It is time to industrialise the foundries at Igun Street, diversify it and produce for export; Edo contribution to world civilisation. There are opportunities in Edo State and other parts of Nigeria that needs exploiting rather than waiting for government and the revenue allocation from the central government or to completely leave the shores of Edo State or Nigeria for Europe and America for a perpetual state of secondary citizenship.

 

One of the most important factors to ensure young peoples active involvement in the implementation of social reforms and the emergence of economically strong and politically stable countries is their social and psychological mood, their willingness to take action in accordance with definite civic attitudes and value reorientations (Petrov, 2008).

All hands must be on deck to improve the social, psychological mood and the willingness of our youths to take progressive actions and create a better society for the children yet unborn. We Edo State ‘Eghele’ must play our roles well for the wellbeing of our youths.

 

It is the duty of government, community leaders and elders, church leaders, priests and pastors, imams and the keepers of our various shrines to facilitate this process of moral edification and youth re-orientation so that we can have a better Benin Kingdom and a better nation.

I will like to state here the basic tenets of moral re armament which is the reformation of the youths that can only be achieved by creating a moral and spiritual force, by convincing all Nigerians especially Edo State youths of the necessity of absolute honesty, absolute purity, absolute unselfishness, absolute love and absolute integrity. The practice of these cardinal virtues and to further the development of the youth’s moral life, our youths must engage in the exercises of sharing what is available, surrender to the will of God, substitution of good for evil thoughts, and the guidance of community elders and religious teachers as they all teach LOVE which is a virtue and is the basis of kindness, compassion, charity, obedience, honesty, affection, chastity, unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of others.

 

Unfortunately our youths are copying the politicians who themselves have derailed as they worship only the god of money obtained through massive corruption. They will do anything to get money like lying, killing, maiming, defrauding, and kidnapping which money enables them to ride big cars, live in big houses and have at their beck and call sophisticated women of low virtue. Since the societal role models are themselves behaving below expectation, we have to turn to God, Allah, or our Ancestors for guidance.

God or whatever we believe in individually will show us the right path and by His grace, he keeps us on the straight and narrow and prevents our feet from straying off the right course into diabolical cults, kidnapping, armed robbery, assassination and other vices. God will show us the way if we are willing to listen to Him. When man listens, God speaks. When man obeys, God acts. The secret is God-control. We are not out to tell God what we want our lives to be; we are out to let God tell us what our lives should be and He never fails. It is not just enough to listen, and to plan, you must manifest God’s love and wishes in your life. If you are Muslim substitute Allah wherever you see God and if you are believer in traditional religion, substitute Ancestral spirit wherever you see God. You must believe in an entity, love and respect an entity and fear and submit to an entity in your life to keep on the straight and narrow and be each others’ keeper. Anyone who does not believe in anything will fall for everything and what a fall that will be.

 

When we listen to God, we should test the thoughts that come into our minds by comparing it to biblical teachings if we are Christians, to Koranic laws if we are Moslem or to oral traditions of our respective families if we are Traditionalist. ‘About to commit a crime, ask yourself, will God do this? The second test is to listen what our friends and families say of us. No man should walk alone. We must fellowship with others to maximise God’s grace in our lives. That is the underlying factors that Edo Global Organization is striving to reach all the Edo Communities in the Diaspora because we are better as a TEAM and Together Everyone Achieves More.

 

 

 

The need to increase young people’s access to their rights is beyond controversy. Many countries have stated their youth policies, but are they executing them? Do these policies support young people to achieve their rights? In which ways do specific youth policies and broader policies affecting young people interact and with which results for young people? What measures might ensure that young people get their fair share of policy attention, annual national budgeting and resources?

It can only be imagined that whatever intergenerational contracts may have been in place – spoken or unspoken, real or perceived – are largely gone. When an elder dies, a community library is destroyed and that is what happened when Prof. Iro Eweka transcended in March 2012. The promise and hope of previous generation, the majority of young people around the world could never dream of such things to begin with; which is to lead a better life than their parents is a flickering image of the past. It’s not the lack of economic prosperity alone that infuriates young people. Not that it wouldn’t be reason enough as close to 67 million young people are unemployed in Nigeria, about 80% of all unemployed people in our nation which unfortunately should not be the case if our oil wealth has been carefully invested in setting up factories, assembly plants, research institutes that would have absorbed the teeming youth population.

Add the un-sustainability of the current growth and screw the environment mantra and the massively rising social injustice to the colossal employment mess, and you get a highly explosive mix, which keeps bubbling to the surface on the streets across the planet. Young people have to watch how the world as we know it, its economic, social and political fabric, disintegrates, day by day. They don’t like the combination of the cocktail of political, economic and social disfranchisement, and have begun to show their anger about being robbed of their own future which someone called the sacred rage of the young.”

At the beginning of the month of May this year in Benin City at the TY Danjuma Foundation Career Day 2012, the Minister of Youth Development, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, lamented the unemployment rate in the country, declaring that about 67million young people are jobless and that, of the figure, 80 per cent of them do not possess a university degree. He attributed the high unemployment rate to years of failure at different levels, explaining that lack of job is a consequence of lack of skills.  The event has as its theme ‘’Developing capacity of youths to build successful careers and businesses’’ We all need skills acquisition to start our business.
Employers are more interested in what you can do, and not the kind of certificate you have acquired the Minister said. We are pleased that our thoughts about how to solve the problem of youths’ restlessness are reaching the heart of government of the day in Nigeria. We welcome the announcement of the sum of N1.2bn in the 2012 national budget aimed at training and grant for youth unemployment in agriculture, ICT and the creative industry, paltry as the sum may be, we hope it is not diverted to private pockets by corrupt civil servants. For those who have relatives who may wish to seek help from this Foundation, they should contact Mrs Thelma Ekiyor who is the Executive Director of the Foundation

In addition to appealing to the youths for the purpose of re-orientation; teaching them for the purpose of edification, practical steps must also be taken to ensure that the youths are completely occupied from the waking hours to bedtime  to prevent the adage of the ‘idle mind  being the devil’s workshop’ There must be opportunities for recreation, purposeful education, vocational training and skills acquisition which will ultimately be developed by the Youth entrepreneurship.

Job creation and construction of suitable recreational infrastructures must not be left for the government alone. The three tiers of government must be involved as well as non-governmental agencies and the corporate social responsibilities of the local companies, industries and conglomerates.

 

The creation of youth clubs for competitive sports develops the minds of the youths about good sportsmanship which translate into humility in winning or victory in tournaments and being hopeful and cheerful as losers which will translate into a graceful loser and a humble winner in elections unlike the violence and litigation that occurs now after every election in Nigeria.
Youth re-orientation and moral edification of our youths is a continuum throughout the formative years which must include the inculcation of traditional values system of honour, hard work, respect for elders and constituted authorities as well as traditional institutions, disregard for ill-gotten wealth and corrupt affluent individuals.

Schools should be constructed to be attractive to the youths; there must be correctional institution for those who offend consistently but this must be handed with the carrot and stick approach. Finally there must be appropriate places of worship depending on one’s believe systems.

I thank you for this opportunity to talk about my fears of the future of our youths and our Kingdom and I hope the discussion wasn’t too long; you must remember that as a leader you must be the good Shepard who leaves his flock to search for that one sheep that has gone astray.

Thank you and I wish you all a safe journey back to your respective homes.

Oba ghator Okpere! Ise!!!

 

SEO Ogbonmwan KSC

© June 2012

ORGAN DONATION AWARENESS IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY

 

ORGAN DONATION AWARENESS: A REVIEW

By

DR STEPHEN E.O. OGBONMWAN MBBS, M.MED, FMCOG, FRCOG.

 

 

Summary Organ transplantation is the surgical removal of a tissue or organ from one individual (dead or alive) and the placement of that organ in another individual for the purpose of improving the health of the recipient. Most transplant programme depends on either cadaveric or living organ donation. There is scarcity of human organs for transplantation so many patients face imminent death or long suffering so there is need to continue to create awareness

. Organ donation and transplantation creates a culture of life and love. Most religious and secular approaches justify organ donation and transplantation because it promotes life.

This discussion will dwell on the promotion of organ donation and transplantation. We shall look at the scale of the problem amongst Africans, then the religious, social, cultural, legal and ethical aspects of organ donation and inform on how Africans especially the Benin (Edo speaking people) of Southern Nigeria believe, and the final section is on the promotion of organ donation and transplantation.

 

Introduction

I am honoured to discuss this very important health issue of organ donation and transplantation especially amongst Africans and other ethnic minority especially in the United Kingdom and the world at large as a way creating awareness on organ donation and transplantation.  Although I do not work with organ donation I support good health, longevity and high quality of life. What I am going to say today affects all Africans where ever they may live on the globe and in fact all of mankind. This is a story of love and support for each other whenever possible.

You must forgive me as I am going to use the word African rather than the word Black or Black African as advertised because I do not believe in colour coding of any race.

There is no doubt there is increased need for organ donation and transplantation in the world today due to sophistication of science and medical treatment. To use stem cell for everyday treatment of diseased organs will take many more decades so organ donation and transplantations will continue to hold the pride of place for a long time.

Organ transplantation is the surgical removal of a tissue or organ from one individual (dead or alive) and the placement of that organ in another individual for the purpose of improving the health of the recipient. Most transplant programme depends on either cadaveric or living organ donation. There is scarcity of human organs for transplantation so many patients face imminent death or long suffering.

Organ donation and transplantation creates a culture of life and love. Many religious and secular approaches justify organ donation and transplantation because it promotes life. The Catholic Church for example favours it, especially in the encyclical Evangelium Vitae, which states that ‘organ donation is an act of the virtue of charity’ My speech will dwell on the promotion of organ donation and transplantation. We shall look at the scale of the problem amongst Africans, religious, social, cultural, legal and ethical aspects of organ donation and inform on how Nigerians especially the Benin (Edo speaking people) of Southern Nigeria believe, and the final section is on the promotion of organ donation and transplantation.

 

 

SCALE OF PROBLEMS

10,000 people in UK are in need of organ transplant to save or enhance their lives.

Organ donation rates are relatively low amongst Africans and African-Caribbean’s.

The African is 3 times more likely to need a kidney transplant than the Caucasians population.

A total of 23% of the people who are waiting for an organ transplant are Africans & Afro-Caribbean and South Asian ethnic minority groups.

Only 3% of organ donors come from African background. The huge disparity between need and organ donation is very apparent.

Africans  do badly in all health Indices.

Mothers of African ethnic origin are 2.3 times more likely to have a stillbirth at parturition.

They are 2.3 times more likely to have a neonatal death than mothers of Caucasian origin.

Research has shown that non-Caucasians women are one and half times more at risk of experiencing severe pregnancy-related complications than Caucasian women.

This risk doubles for African women especially African-Caribbean women.

The overall estimated risk of severe complications is 89 cases per 100,000 maternities in the UK.

For Caucasian women this risk is around 80 cases per 100,000 maternities,

It is 126 cases for non-Caucasian women as a whole,

But it is 188 cases of severe complication per 100,000 maternities for African women.

Worse still it is 196/100,000 maternities for African Caribbean women.

You can see that the African do badly in all health indices which is a cause for serious concern and should be a cause for serious concern in the African community.

The way forward is Education, education and education, interaction, change of attitude and participation.

The History of Organ Transplant.

Scientists have long thought about the idea of replacing a diseased organ with a healthy one from a donor. The problem at first was that the human body is not particularly receptive to foreign tissue. The immune system is like an army, constantly on guard against any invasion of bacteria viruses or other potentially dangerous substances. When tissue from a donor is placed inside the body of a recipient, this immune army sees it as a foreign invader and goes into battle mode. White blood cells attack and destroy the unknown tissue in a process known as rejection.

Scientists subsequently realized that the problem of rejection didn’t occur when the organ donor and recipient were identical twins. The genetic similarity appeared to prevent the immune response. Massachusetts surgeon Joseph E. Murray used this concept to his advantage in 1954, when he accomplished the first successful kidney transplant between identical twins at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston USA.

 

Dr. Murray’s surgery was a major breakthrough, but it wasn’t a solution. After all, very few people have an identical twin they can rely on for organ transplantation. In the late 1960s, doctors figured out a way to perform transplants between non relatives by suppressing the recipient’s immune response with drugs like cyclosporine. The trouble was that the drugs themselves were highly toxic. Due to the risks of infection and those of the immunosuppressant drugs, most transplant patients didn’t live long after their operation.

By the 1980s, anti-rejection drugs had improved to the point where transplantation surgery became pretty routine and far less risky than it had been a few decades earlier. Survival rates rose. Once surgeons had streamlined the process of transplanting essential organs like hearts, kidneys, liver and lungs — they turned their focus to “nonessential” parts of the body. In the late 1990s, surgeons in Lyon, France and New Zealand performed the first successful hand transplants. The next step was to attempt a face transplant.

 

 Religious aspects of Organ Transplant:

All the major religions of the UK support the principles of organ donation and transplantation. However, within each religion there are different schools of thought, which mean that views may differ. All the major religions accept that organ donation is an individual choice.

The following information comes from the NHS leaflet which offers a brief guide to religious viewpoints regarding organ donation. If you have any doubts, you should discuss them with your spiritual or religious leader.

Buddhism & Organ Donation:

There are no injunctions in Buddhism for or against organ donation.

. The needs and wishes of the dying person must not be compromised by the wish to save a life. Each decision will depend on individual circumstances.

Central to Buddhism is a wish to relieve suffering and there may be circumstances where organ donation may be seen as an act of generosity. Where it is truly the wish of the dying person, it would be seen in that light.

If there is doubt as to the teachings within the particular tradition to which a person belongs, expert guidance should be sought from a senior teacher within the tradition concerned.

When he discovered a monk sick and uncared for, the Buddha said to the other monks,

“Whoever would care for me, let him care for those who are sick”.

 

Christianity & Organ Donation

The Christian faith is based upon the revelation of God in the life of Jesus Christ. Throughout his life Jesus taught people to love one another and he proved his love for the world upon the cross. It seems in keeping with this that Christians consider organ donation as a genuine act of love and a way of following Jesus’ example. This act of love then becomes part of a Christian discipleship or faith journey that is motivated by compassion to help someone else and demonstrates a sense of social responsibility.

Sacrifice and helping others are consistent themes in Christianity, which teaches the principle of seeking for others what you hope others would do for you. Enabling life to be lived as fully as possible is consistent with the teaching of the Son of God, Jesus Christ:

“…freely you have received, freely give”

Matthew, chapter 10:8

Christians should be encouraged to help others in need. Discussing organ donation with family and friends is a responsible and thoughtful act.

Hindu & Organ Donation

There are many references that support the concept of organ donation in Hindu scriptures. Daan is the original word in Sanskrit for donation meaning selfless giving. In the list of the ten Niyamas (virtuous acts) Daan comes third.

Life after death is a strong belief of Hindus and is an ongoing process of rebirth. The law of karma decides which way the soul will go in the next life.

Organ donation is an integral part of the Hindu way of life, as guided by the Vedas. That which sustains is accepted and promoted as Dharma (righteous living). Scientific treatises form an important part of the Vedas – Sage Charaka deals with internal medicine while Sage Sushruta includes features of organ and limb transplants.

“…it is said that the soul is invisible…knowing this you should not grieve for the body.”

Bhagavad Gita, chapter 2:25

 

Islam & Organ Donation.

In 1996 the Muslim Law (Shariah) Council UK issued a fatwa (religious opinion) on organ donation. The council resolved that:

  • the council supports organ transplantation as a means of alleviating pain or saving life on the basis of the rules of the Shariah
  • Muslims may carry donor cards
  • the next of kin of a dead person, in the absence of a card or an expressed wish to donate their organs, may give permission to obtain organs from the body to save other people’s lives.

The fatwa is based on the Islamic principle of necessities overrule prohibition. Normally, violating the human body, whether living or dead, is forbidden in Islam – but the Shariah believes this can be overruled when saving another person’s life.

However there are also a significant number of Muslim scholars who believe that organ donation is not permissible and hold the view that this does not fall under the criteria of the Islamic principle of necessities overrule prohibition due to other overriding Islamic principles.

Both viewpoints take their evidence from the Qur’an and the Ahaadith and therefore individual Muslims should make a decision according to their understanding of the Shariah or seek advice from their local Imam or scholar.

The Muslim Law Council UK fatwa draws on one of the basic aims of the Muslim faith: saving life.

“Whosoever saves the life of one person it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind.”

Holy Qur’an, chapter 5:32

Judaism & Organ Donation

In principle, Judaism supports and encourages organ donation in order to save lives (pikuach nefesh).

This principle can sometimes override the strong objections to any unnecessary interference with the body after death, and the requirement for immediate burial of the complete body.

As all cases are different, Jewish law requires consultation with a competent Rabbinic authority before consent is granted.

For more information please contact the Office of the Chief Rabbi, or another competent Halachic authority.

“One who saves a single life – it is as if he has saved an entire world.”

Pirke D’Rav Eliezer, chapter 48

Sikh & Organ Donation

Sikh philosophy and teachings place great emphasis on the importance of giving and putting others before oneself.

It also stresses the importance of performing noble deeds and there are many examples of selfless giving and sacrifice in Sikh teachings by the ten Gurus and other Sikhs.

Sikhs believe life after death is a continuous cycle of rebirth but the physical body is not needed in this cycle – a person’s soul is their real essence.

“The dead sustain their bond with the living through virtuous deed.”

 

The transplantation of organs from living donors is morally permissible when such a donation will not sacrifice or seriously impair any essential bodily function and the anticipated benefit to the recipient is proportionate to the harm done to the donor. Furthermore, the freedom of prospective donor must be respected, and economic advantage should not accrue to the donor

No religion formally forbids donation or receipt of organs or is against transplantation from living or deceased donors. Only some orthodox Jews may have religious objections to “opting in.” However, transplantation from deceased donors may be discouraged by Native Americans, Roma Gypsies, Confucians, Shintoists, and some Orthodox rabbis.

No religion formally obliges one to donate or refuse organs.

No religion formally obliges one to consider cadaveric organs “a societal resource” or considers organ donation “a religious duty” (except some rabbis and isolated Muslim and Christian scholars)

No religion has a formal position on “bonus points,” which is priority on the waiting list. Living organ donation is strongly encouraged only between Jesus Christians (15 of 28 Jesus Christians worldwide have donated a kidney). No religion forbids this practice.

No religion prefers cadaveric over living donation.

No religion formally forbids non–heart-beating donors (nhbd) cadaveric donation or cross-over donation. Due to the sacred of human life, the Catholic Church is against donation from anencephalic donors or after active euthanasia.

No religion formally forbids xenotransplantation. Addressing the participants of the First International Congress of the Society for Organ Sharing in 1991, Pope John Paul II said “There are many questions of an ethical, legal and social nature which need to be more deeply investigated. There are even shameful abuses which call for determined action on the part of medical association and donor societies, and especially of competent legislative bodies” and later on “In effect, the human body is always a personal body, the body of a person. The body cannot be treated as a merely physical or biological entity, nor can its organs and tissues ever be used as item for sale or exchange”.

Addressing the participants at the XVIII International Congress of the Transplantation Society in 2000, Pope John Paul II said “Accordingly, any procedure which tends to commercialize human organs or to consider them as items of exchange or trade must be considered morally unacceptable, because to use the body as an object is to violate the dignity of the human person” and later on added “The criteria for assigning donated organs should in no way be discriminatory (i.e. based on age, sex, race, religion, social standing, etc.) or utilitarian (i.e. based on work capacity, social usefulness, etc.).” To conclude, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church Compendium signed by Pope Benedict XVI on June 28, 2005, 476.

Organ transplantation is morally acceptable with the consent of the donor and without excessive risks for him/her. For the noble act of organ donation after death, the real death of the donor must be fully ascertained.

Social and cultural aspects of organ donation

In Asian countries, it is more difficult to obtain cadaver kidneys for renal transplantation because of certain socio-cultural beliefs and customs. The issues affecting living related kidney donation are more social than cultural. This is due to the web of family pressures and personal conflicts for both donor and recipient surrounding the donation. Important misconceptions and fears are:

fear of death,

the belief that removal of organ violates sanctity of decreased,

concern about being cut up after death,

desire to be buried whole,

dislike of idea of kidneys inside another person,

wrong concept of brain death, and

the idea of donation being against religious conviction.

In Singapore, with the introduction of the Human Organ Transplant Act (HOTA) in 1988, the number of cadaveric transplants have increased, including those from the Medical Therapy Act (MTA). HOTA and

education have played pivotal roles in bringing about an increased yield of cadaveric kidneys. With the availability of living unrelated donor (LUD) transplants in India, our living related donor (LRD) transplant programme has suffered, because patients would rather buy a kidney from overseas than get a relative to donate one. Patients are also going to China for overseas cadaveric transplants where the kidneys come from executed convicts. People in countries like Hong Kong, Japan and the Philippines share the same Asian tradition of not parting with their organs after death. Muslim countries like Malaysia require the deceased to have earlier pledged his kidneys for donation prior to death before they can be harvested for transplantation at death.

Benin (Edo Speaking) People of Southern Nigeria.

The Benin or Edo speaking people of Southern Nigeria,  see the body as sacred and not to be dismembered or violated. Liken that to the biblical teaching which says the body is the temple of the Lord and should not be dishonoured by dismembering it at donation. The Benin people believe in reincarnation that the body is only a vehicle for the soul or human spirit. Hence they comfort the relatives of the deceased that the deceased is not dead but has only transcended this life as his/her soul has gone beyond human perception. ‘wa ghe vie ba mwen no wu’ That transcended soul reincarnates 14 times to atone for perceived sins before going into sublimation or eternity. It is believed that a dismembered part may be missing in subsequent reincarnation which how the people explain birth defects. These ancient and traditional beliefs are gradually giving way to modern thinking that organ donation saves and prolong the lives of the recipient and as such should be encouraged. However the fear of the unknown keeps holding people back from doing the needful in organ donation.

Medical Aspects of Organ Donation and Transplantation

Living organ donation has advantages from an immunological point of view because there is often a large degree of similarity between the tissue types of the donor and the recipient.1 However, we cannot fully avoid the risks to donors and recipients.2

Many of the studies report only minor risk to the donors, but earlier there was anxiety concerning risks to the donors. Today one can find a much more positive attitude towards living organ donation. It is noted that in the case of a living donor, mortality after surgery is extremely low. For instance, a survey of U. S. kidney transplants shows that there are only 5 donor deaths in 19,368 live kidney transplants.3 Patients who decide to undergo transplantation are subject to normal surgical risks. There are also complications of urological and vascular problems, especially with regard to kidney transplantation.4 Besides, transplantation affects the recipient body’s structure. The main benefit to the recipient is that he/she gets a new lease on life or even a better quality of life.

Legal Aspects of Organ Donation and Transplantation

Due to the illegal medical practice in transplantation, commercialization of human organs and so on, many countries formulated transplantation laws. The status of transplantation law can be divided into three groups: opting-out, opting-in, and required request.

  • According to the opting-out system, every human being is considered a possible donor after death unless he/she has officially expressed a contrary option. It is also known as presumed consent.
  • By opting-in we mean a process by which people voluntarily sign and submit a will saying that they want to become donors once they are dead. If they do not do this, they will not be legally considered donors.
  • Required request law requires hospitals to ask the family of a deceased patient for a donation of organs and tissue if the deceased is a suitable candidate for organ donation.7

Many countries have either enacted or are in the process of drafting legislation to control the area of living donor transplantation. Although the general field of transplantation is still in a state of change and growth, the fundamental legal issues that must be confronted remain unchanged. There have been recent developments in legislation, especially giving priority to the genuine consent of the donor. Although the majority of legislation has been written for cadaver organ donation, slowly, regulation is developing for living organ donation as well. The clauses of the laws are made on the basis of medical, ethical, religious, social and cultural considerations.

In most countries, the law prohibits trade in human organs and address the donor’s right, the adequate supply of organs to the needy, the optimization of transplantation costs and the promotion of transplantation procedures.

Ethical Issues in Organ Donation and Transplantation

The practices of organ donation and transplantation raise many ethical questions. How can we morally justify organ donation and transplantation? What are the ethical issues connected with the donor, with the recipient, and xenotransplantation?

Catholic Church holds that the virtue of charity is the norm for the justification of the cadaveric, and living organ donation and transplantation. Pius XII in his address to ophthalmologists in 1956 argues that acts of donation cannot be viewed as a duty or as obligatory. Such acts are supererogatory and not obligatory.

Moreover, John Paul II justifies organ donation and transplantation based on charity in general. In the address on blood and organ donations of August 1984, John Paul II commended the National Association of Italian volunteer blood and organ donors for their spirit and initiative. He urged them “to promote and encourage such a noble and meritorious act as donating your own blood or an organ to those of your brothers and sisters who have need of it.’’

In addition, in an address to a Congress on Renal Illness and Transplants (April 30, 1990), he speaks about the Church’s main concern for renal illness and donations. The Pope asks the directors of Catholic institutions to encourage this generous act of organ donations: “Those who believe in our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave his life for the salvation of all, should recognize in the urgent need for a ready availability of organs for renal transplants a challenge to their generosity and fraternal love.’’ Further, in his address to the participants of the first International Congress of the Society for Organ Sharing (June 20, 1992), the Pope considered organ transplantation as a new way of serving the human family. In organ transplantation man/woman has found a way to give himself/herself, in blood and body. This gesture allows others to continue to live.

This gift is actually an authentic form of human and Christian solidarity. Similarly, John Paul II writes in Evangelium Vitae no. 86 that organ donation is an act of love when it is done in an ethical manner. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ establishes the supreme act of love. This extends a deep meaning to the donor’s offering, which is saving the life of another person. Love (charity) constitutes the main element in organ donation and transplantation, especially in the case of the organ donor.

Moreover, other religions also support organ donation and transplantation even if their point of emphasis is slightly different.

  • In Judaism, Rabbi R. P. Bulka observes: “One may laud the donor who makes … a heroic sacrifice, but it certainly would not be proper to place pressure on individuals to be so altruistic.”
  • Greek Orthodox Church, Stanley S. Harakas writes about the donation of a kidney. Organ donation rescues “the life of another person as a loving act of mercy. The donor is to be commended if he perceives his sacrifice not as a violation of his bodily integrity, but as a gracious and loving unselfish act.”
  • Quoran and Hadith (the Prophet Mohammed’s sayings and examples), the Islamic Code of Medical Ethics (1981) upholds: “If the living are able to donate, then the dead are even more so; no harm will afflict the cadaver if the heart, kidneys, eyes or arteries are taken to be put to good use in a living person. This is indeed charity.”
  • In the Buddhist tradition, organ donation is an act of helping another person in his/her extreme need. It is an act of generosity and compassion. Organ donation and transplantation is acceptable also in the Hindu tradition.

Care for the other and altruism are the secular terms that we can find in the literature on organ donation and transplantation. Even if many use these terms, the basic idea behind them is charity. Here, care for the other or altruism in organ donation is not self-sacrifice alone, but there is sufficient self-concern for one’s own self. Many scholars justify organ donation on the basis of altruism, charity, love or care for the other. From what has been stated there is no moral obligation for organ donation. The virtue of charity is the main motive for it.

According to the Catholic perspective, donors can donate organs except brain and reproductive organs. The brain is significantly determinative of personal identity. The reproductive organs are associated with reproductive identity. Neither the brain nor the reproductive organs may be procured from human beings or animals for transplant to a human person (Evangelium Vitae no. 63).

Church also holds that “to take tissue from a live foetus for transplantation is unethical” (Evangelium Vitae no. 63). Great concern must be given to ensure that all cadaveric foetal tissue to be used for transplantation is derived from natural miscarriages or from ethically obtained cell lines.

Commercialisation has a serious negative impact on many of the medical and ethical values intimately connected with organ transplantation. The Catholic Church is against paid organ donation. Parts of the human body are not to be treated as commodities. Trade in human body parts is unacceptable, as in any other disrespectful use of the organs or tissues of a living or deceased person. At the World Congress of the Transplantation Society (Rome-2000), John Paul II said “any procedure which tends to commercialize human organs or to consider them as items of exchange or trade must be considered morally unacceptable, because to use the body as an “object” is to violate the dignity of the human person.” Paid organ donation spoils the spirit of altruism. In paid organ donation, one does not fully respect the other.

Ethical Issues Connected With Donor

The main ethical concerns related to living organ donation include functional integrity, and the consent of the donor.

Catholic Church has used the principle of totality for the justification of living organ donation and transplantation. A simple expression of the principle of totality means, “the parts of the physical entity, as parts, are ordained to the good of the physical whole.” From the medical perspective, the principle of totality would mean “all the parts of the human body, as parts, are meant to exist and function for the good of the whole body, and are thus naturally subordinated to the good of the whole body.” The term “totality” points to the duty to preserve intact the physical component of that integrated whole. The official statement of the Church regarding the application of the principle of totality to medical problems can be seen mainly in the period of Pius XII. He reaffirmed, clarified, and applied the principle of totality to medico-moral questions in many addresses delivered from 1944-1958. According to him, “a part of the body has no meaning outside its reference to the whole that as a part is to be thought of only in relation to the whole.”

Understand the difference between functional integrity and anatomical integrity. One must distinguish between the good of the adequately functioning body and the good of the full integrity of the anatomical whole.” The principle of totality is concerned with the former and not the latter.

Ashley & K. D. O’Rourke presents their own formulation of the principle of totality and calls it the principle of ÔTotality and Integrity.’ It reads as follows:

“Except to save life itself, the fundamental functional capacities which constitute the human person should not be destroyed, but preserved, developed, and used for the good of the whole person and of the community.” On the one side this principle grants priority for some human values over others. On the other side, it breaks the “fundamental integrity” of human person for certain kind of worth, “except in the most extreme choice between life and death.’’

For Benedict M. Ashley and Kevin D. O’Rourke, organ transplants are justified when the functional integrity of the donor is maintained. They give a summary of moral reflections on living organ donation and they present certain principles for living organ donation and transplantation:

  • There should be a serious need faced by the patient, which can only be satisfied by organ donation.
  • Even if donation reduces “anatomical integrity, it should not diminish the “functional integrity” of the person.
  • The risk in donation as “an act of charity is [to be] proportionate to the good resulting for the recipient.”5
  • There should be “free and informed consent” by the donor. All these norms can be seen in the principle of totality.

The 1975 Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Facilities states “[T] he transplantation of organs from living donors is morally permissible when the anticipated benefit to the recipient is proportionate to the harm done to the donor.” The Directives also mention that the donations of organ should not reduce the “functional integrity” of one’s body. Moreover, the 1994 Directives, section no. 30 directly deals with the need of safeguarding functional integrity in living organ donation and transplantation. It reads as follows:

The transplantation of organs from living donors is morally permissible when such a donation will not sacrifice or seriously impair any essential bodily function and the anticipated benefit to the recipient is proportionate to the harm done to the donor. Furthermore, the freedom of prospective donor must be respected, and economic advantage should not accrue to the donor.

 Informed Consent of the Donor

The informed consent of the donor is another key requirement in living organ and transplantation. If donor’s decision is not autonomous or self-determined this leads to treating a person without respect. Respect for autonomy requires that the donor must be able to exercise the power of free choice.

In the case of living organ donation, no physiological benefit is to be expected by the donor. It is clear that the first matter of critical importance is how far the amount of risk, pain, and length of incapacity is communicated to the donor so that an informed decision can be made.

. Art. 3 of the WHO Declaration states that “the donor should not be influenced or abused.” Organ donation, says John Paul II, is a free and conscious decision either on the part of the donor, or of someone who legitimately represents the donor. It is also a decision of giving without any remuneration. Really, donation concerns the well being of another person. It is very difficult to make an assessment of fully informed consent of the potential donors, especially in the case of prisoners, mentally challenged persons, and minors.

Cadaveric Organ Donation

The donation of organs and tissues after death is a generous act. With regard to the cadaveric organ donation and transplantation, the main ethical issues include the concept of brain death, and consent.

 Ethical Issues Connected with the Recipient

There should be a proportionate relation between physical risk to the donor and good for the recipient. The risk in donation as “an act of charity is [to be] proportionate to the good resulting for the recipient.” CCC no. 2296 states:

Organ transplants confirm with the moral law and can be meritorious if the physical or psychological dangers and risks incurred by the donor are proportionate to the good sought for the recipient. It is morally inadmissible directly to bring about the disabling mutilation or death of a human being, even in order to delay the death of other persons.

The general principle that surgery cannot be carried out without the consent of the person to be operated upon is equally applicable to organ transplantation as well. Recipients also should give their consent for the operation. The physician should inform the donor and the recipient in an honest, appropriate and comprehensible manner of the possible risks of organ donation and transplantation.

According to Catholic perspective “patients should be treated equally when being admitted to transplant programmes. There should be no unjust discrimination on the basis of social factors such as inability to pay, mental illness, past misuse of substances, lack of family support, lack of education, advanced age, remoteness or ethnicity. Only clinical factors such as urgency, need and ability to benefit should be taken into account.’’

Xenotransplantation

Transplantation of animal organs to human being is permissible provided the procedure will not impair the integrity of the recipient nor impose inordinate risks on the recipient or others. With regard to the animal-human hybridisation, Church says that “the introduction of parts of the human genome into animal tissue or vice versa must not involve extensive animal-human hybridisation, inheritable changes to a human being, or the formation of an organism possessing some human and some animal material which may capable of further development as an embryo.”71

 Promotion of Organ Donation and Transplantation

The present state of organ donation and transplantation includes different types of transplantation, different types of donations and one should consider also the  medical, moral, and legal problems connected with the practice of organ donation and transplantation.

Types of Transplantation

Auto grafts, isographs, homographs, and heterografts.

Auto graft (syngenic) is the transplanting of an organ or tissue within the same individual from one part of the body to another.

Isograft (Isogenic) is the transplantation of organs or tissues between two genetically identical individuals, such as identical twins.

Homograft (allogenic graft) is the transplantation of an organ from one individual to another within the same species.

Heterograft (Xenogenic graft) is the transfer of organs between individuals of different species, usually from animals to human beings.

Types of Donations

Cadaveric and living organs are the two main sources for transplantation.

The cadaveric donation includes related and unrelated donations.

There are five types of living organ donations:

  • Living Related Donation: donation between genetically related persons,
  • Living Unrelated Donation: donation between non-genetic or non-emotional persons. There may be also emotionally related transplantations.
  • Crossover Transplantation: In renal transplantation certain donors cannot donate their organs to a particular recipient because of the ABO incompatibility and other problems with histocompatibility (e.g. positive T-cell cross matches) but without any ABO problem with other recipients (crossover transplantation). For instance, donor A cannot give a kidney to recipient A but he/she can give it to recipient B. Similarly donor B cannot give a kidney to recipient B; but he/she can donate to recipient A.
  • Domino: in this programme an organ may be transplanted to a patient whose own organ then still can help another patient on the waiting list.
  • Indirect Living Organ Donation: close relative of a recipient wants to donate his/her kidney to the donor. But this living related transplantation is not possible due to blood group incompatibility. The recipient is then placed higher on the waiting list, while the organ from the donor is added to the organ pool.

We have seen in the last section the ethical issues related to organ donation and transplantation. The virtue of charity will be an important element in increasing organ donation. This kind of value education can be promoted both by religious groups and by secular agencies.

This inter-human relationship is very clear in the case of organ donation and transplantation, which expressed in the relation between donor and the recipient. It is not an “I-It” relationship, but an I-Thou relationship. This means the donor is moved by the face of the other (recipient) who is in a critical stage, which is helpless. The deep relationship shows the empathy with the other. For instance, the French philosopher Merleau-Ponty writes: ”

  • There is an essential relationship between body and consciousness such that the body is never – even throughout transplant surgery – just a body, but rather a perceiving entity, that is to say animate.
  • Every body receives its specificity and becomes animate through the perception of another.’’

Organ donation also highlights the value of solidarity in society, especially in medicine. Organ donation points to a social dimension where donors and the recipients are part of the society. The social aspect is also one of the elements that assist in making decisions in organ donation and transplantation. The value of solidarity encourages the donors and recipients, and others who participate in transplantation, to make responsible decisions. We also argue that from a moral point of view, commercialisation of organs does not promote organ donation and transplantation. Selling body parts for money reduces the value of the person. There should be no material profit in charitable or altruistic organ donation. In the present situation where we are facing a crisis of organ shortage, helping patients who are in a critical stage, really shows the social character of the human person.

Conclusion

There is a real scarcity of human organs even though organ transplantation facilities are widely available. In this context, both living and cadaveric organ donation and transplantation should be promoted.

  • African and ethnic minority should be encouraged to be involved in organ donation to ease the waiting list of their kin men and women on the organ donation programme.
  • Africans should do their best to be exposed to all available resources in the environment in which they live so that they can utilise these resources to their fullest advantage as well as contribute to it to make successful it for mutual benefit.
  • Africans and other ethnic minority should not socially exclude themselves from community activities like organ donation because when they do so it is to their detriment because if you do not give, you will not receive and when you freely give, you also freely receive.
  • The bible says that for lack of knowledge our people perish, Africans must do everything possible to acquire knowledge and good education because there is power in knowledge and education.
  • In order to prevent commercialization, transplantation law should be promulgated effectively and purposeful programme to eliminating poverty is another step towards decreasing the commercialization of human organs.
  • Governments should control agencies and hospitals engaged in transplantation with respect to their profit motives.
  • International co-operation should be promoted in organ donation and transplantation. Developed countries can help developing countries in promoting research in transplantation technology. A global vision associated with a local vision can facilitate the promotion of organ donation and transplantation.
  • One of the efficient means to promote organ donation is to educate people about the scarcity of human organs for transplantation and Africans should be in the forefront of this campaign as presently they are the most disadvantaged.

Evangelium Vitae (no. 101) speaks about the proclamation and promotion of life: “The Gospel of life is given to us as a good to be shared with all people including Africans: so that all men and women may have fellowship with us and with the Trinity.” Organ donation and transplantation highlights the relational and social dimensions of human life. Through organ donation and transplantation also one can proclaim and promote the gospel of life. More clearly, patients in a critical stage of kidney or other organ failure have to either undergo transplantation or face death. In these people one has to see the real face of the other.’ We have to promote basic ethical care for the other. We cannot force anyone to donate, but people should be motivated to make free and voluntary donations. In this condition, a spirit of charity, relevant both from religious and secular points of view can work properly with regard to the promotion of organ.

Correspondence: Dr S.E.O. Ogbonmwan, 14 Rushway Avenue, Manchester M9 7GA UK.

E-mail address: steveogbonmwan@aol.com

References:

1, UK Obstetric Surveillance System (UKOSS), Dr Marian Knight from the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit at the University of Oxford

2, Centre for Maternal and Child Enquiries (CMACE) Perinatal Mortality 2008: United Kingdom. CMACE: London,

3, http://health.howstuffworks.com/medicine/modern/face-transplant1.htm

4, P. Bruzzone: Religious Aspects of Organ Transplantation

 

Volume 40, Issue 4, Pages 1064-1067 (May 2008)

5, Cultural aspects of Organ transplant: Ann Acad Med Singapore. 1992 May;21(3):421-7.

6, Scaria Kanniyakonil:  The Promotion of Organ Donation and Transplantation

http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/kan/kan_03organdonation1.html#b25

 

7, NHS information leaflet on organ donation

8, John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, no. 101.

 

 

 

 

TODAY IN WORLD HISTORY

 

TODAY IN WORLD HISTORY.

 

Today mark the 97th year of the restoration of the Benin Monarchy on
the 24th day of July in 1914 with the crowning of Oba Eweka 11.

Aiguobasinmwin-nogie the eldest son of late Oba Ovoranmwen- nogbaisi
ascended the throne of his forebears in the process of the restoration
of the Benin Monarchy by the British government after the
amalgamation of the southern and northern protectorates of Nigeria
and he took the title of Oba Eweka the second. The choice of this
title was symbolic as his ascensions to the throne was a new beginning
for the ancient Obaship linage of Benin Kingdom after this restoration.

This was no mean feat. It was both a spiritual, intellectual and a legal
tussle. A great achievement for the Benin people for which Oba Eweka the second

was nicknamed Ovbiudu (literary the strong heart). He was not only
intelligent but wise and a very skillful negotiator.
He led from the front by embracing modern education when he sent his
first son Edokpaorogbeuyunmwun to school and he later became Oba
Akenzua 11. He encouraged his chiefs to send their children to school
and contributed in eliminating ignorance from his domain.
In a paper by Dr Aisien, Oba Eweka 11 was eulogized  as the Edo Man of
the 20th century due his superb leadership and sterling qualities.

Our forebears left their footprints in the tide of time by creating
something from nothing, by obtaining water from a piece of rock
literarily.
We must emulate them in our thought process, in our actions, and in
our deeds so that we can continue to project the good name of Benin Edo people
that has been given to us over these generations unadulterated which we shall hand
over to our children in a much better shape and form.

S E O Ogbonmwan