(Published in The PUNCH on Monday, July 18, 2022)
Eyes bloodshot. Tears welled up. But they didn’t flow. They remained within my eyelids which refused to let them roll down and deface my face. Something, maybe my brain, told my eyelids to keep the tears dammed so I could read. And I read.
I read a CNN story headlined, “4,000 beagles will be rescued from a Virginia breeding facility,” because over 300 of the dogs died from 2001 to 2021 of unknown causes. The harsh reality of the story ashen my Tuesday, last week, as I read through the CNN sad story.
My heart bled, then sank. So, 15 dogs dying annually in the last 20 years at a research facility in Cumberland city could make the State of Virginia, through its senators, approach a federal court and get a verdict approving an urgent adoption plan for the 4,000 dogs?, I thought. Truly, US Senate no bi Nigerian SINate.
The CNN story read, “The Humane Society of the United States will transfer 4,000 beagles from a research facility in Cumberland, Virginia, to humane societies across the United States where they can be adopted, under a plan approved by a federal judge last week.
“A series of inspections over the course of nine months found more than 70 animal welfare violations at the Envigo breeding facility. Mortality records reviewed by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) showed over 300 puppy deaths from January 1, 2001, to July 22, 2021, that were attributed to unknown causes. The facility also did not take any additional steps to determine the cause in order to prevent similar deaths in the future.
“A motion filed in June said federal agents had already seized 446 beagles. HSUS will transport the remaining beagles from the facilities at its own expense over the next approximately 60-day period.
“Virginia senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine said in a statement, ‘After months of advocacy, we were heartened to know that nearly 4,000 Envigo dogs will be spared a lifetime of suffering and will instead head to loving homes.”
The senators said Inotiv Inc., Envigo’s parent company, would close down its Cumberland facility where no more dogs would be subjected to the appalling conditions and inexcusable distress endured by so many dogs and puppies at the facility, adding that the Senate would prevent the mistreatment of innocent animals across Virginia and the nation.
The Executive Director and Founder, Homeward Trails Animal Rescue, Sue Bell, told CNN the 446 beagles released this year by Envigo were adopted in just three weeks. Bell is in the group working out logistics for the 4,000 additional beagles to be surrendered in the following weeks.
She said the group would prioritise getting pregnant dogs, juvenile dogs and mother dogs with unweaned puppies from the facilities first, explaining that, “We prefer the pregnant dogs do not give birth at that facility. We hope to get them home first.”
A clause struck me in the CNN story. This is it: “Mortality records reviewed by the US Department of Agriculture…” And I ask, so, some serious countries hold themselves responsible for the lives and welfare of dogs while Nigerians masses do not even have the right to live under the regime of retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari overtaken by kidnapping and bloodletting.
The way a society treats its weakest shows how responsible the leadership of such a society is. In the main, the 4,000 want-out dogs that lived in the appalling Envigo facilities still had 24-hour power supply, food, medication, water, toys etc. How many Nigerians homes have 24-hour power supply, food, medication and water? If 15 dogs didn’t die yearly and the facility took steps to determine the cause(s) of death and prevent recurrence(s), authorities would not look in and investigate.
Questions swirled around my blood-trickling heart without answers: How many Nigerians die daily in government and private hospitals as a result of uninvestigated human negligence? How many unaccounted for souls are lost daily to lack of medical care? How many die at home unable to make it to spooky government hospitals? How long would monkeys dressed in human clothes continue to misrule Nigeria?
Nigerian masses live lower than dogs while the thieving political class headed by Buhari live life in kingly splendour. They spread out in the air like a colony of bats as they take their families abroad for the good life, pooping on the heads of Hosanna-shouting hungry masses.
As President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces under whose watch Nigeria has degenerated lower than zero, Buhari epitomises the cluelessness of the All Progressives Congress in solving the problems afflicting the country.
In a telephone chat with me a few weeks ago, the Guv’nor of Nigeria’s erstwhile No 1 celebrity hangout, Niteshift Coliseum, Ken-Calebs Olumese, said if he reincarnated, he would love to be back as grass, not in Nigeria, but Japan, because he was sure to get fertiliser and tender care!
He said, “God has blessed me beyond my dreams. I gave my children the best of education and I don’t have to worry about money. But there’s monumental suffering in the land. I’m 78, if I don’t speak the truth now, when will I?
“If I have the opportunity to come back into this world, I wish to come back not as a Nigerian, but as grass. Not as grass in Nigeria, but grass in Japan because I would be catered for.”
What God do Nigerian leaders pray to, if I may ask? For sure, I know the hearts beneath their chests pump venom, not blood, otherwise they won’t stay put in office doing nothing while Boko Haram and kidnappers pick innocent citizens in schools and streets like children pick shells on the beach.
In case you agree with the thought of German philosopher, Immanuel Kant, who says, “We can judge the heart of man by his treatment of animals,” then you should stop wondering if sawdust had replaced the brains of Nigerian leaders who clasped steely hands on the masses’ mouths after the Lekki toll gate killings. I daresay leaders, who see their fellow citizens as manipulable morons fit only to be hewers of wood and fetchers of water, are themselves evil.
After a hard-fought battle, the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Ademola Adeleke, emerged victorious in the Osun 2022 governorship election. I congratulate the younger brother of my late friend, the late Senator Isiaka Adeleke aka Serubawon. I congratulate Osun PDP for springing back into the limelight after 12 years.
Two major factors contributed to the defeat of the APC in Osun. They are the colossal hardship being inflicted on Nigerians by the Buhari administration and the perception of Osun people about how former Governor Rauf Aregbesola administered the state for eight years. These two issues formed the talking points in debates during the countdown to the election. Employing financial prudery, the incumbent governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, did a good job in the last three and a half years despite the meagre resources available to the state.
Adeleke must be told that governance isn’t a Soul Train show. It’s serious business. I expect his elder brother and godfather, ’Deji, to assemble for him a crack team of patriotic go-getters for history to record good deeds for ’Demola as it recorded for ’Detunji aka Serubawon.
In the four months leading to his inauguration, ’Demola should consult with PDP leaders and critical stakeholders with a view to drawing a blueprint for Osun development because the way he answered questions during debates showed he had no blueprint yet. ’Demola could prove to be the stone rejected by the builders that became the cornerstone.
Osun a dara o.
Facebook: @tunde odesola