Patrick Sawyer: Desperado or Lunatic?

By IndepthAfrica
In Article
Aug 19th, 2014

By Olugu Olugu Orji Mnia

A Syrian king and his murderous host had laid an impregnable siege on the ancient city of Samaria. Matters had degenerated to the point where the head of an ass sold for 80 pieces of silver. By today’s reckoning, that would be $10,240: the local equivalent being in excess of N1.5 million! By this time though, there weren’t many ass heads on offer.

Two mothers hammered out a dubious deal of survival: We eat your baby today, and then we eat mine tomorrow. The first expertly-stoved baby was happily consumed, but trouble started the next day when it was time to begin the processing of the second baby. Mummy had stowed him away, and the ensuing quarrel wound up before their already distraught king.

Poor king!

Mothers (even the lunatic ones) do not usually eat their babies. The late Umaru Dikko was spot on when he boldly asserted that the condition of Nigerians was still passable as they were not yet feeding from dustbins. But when the dustbins of Samaria had been completely looted and emptied, the people were desperately hungry. In that state, the line between desperation and lunacy quickly vanishes.

During the Biafra war, we were driven to adopt bizarre dietary and culinary innovations just to remain alive. History would have labelled us as ‘crazy,’ and history would have been correct. Necessity, after all, has always been the mother of invention. In full flight, desperation is lunacy.

April 2 2014 was a Wednesday; the day of the week our masters-masquerading-as-ministers usually rendezvous to apportion contracts and compare notes. Voluble Information minister, Labaran Maku was in his element as he regaled journalists at the conclusion of their meeting. Here is a relevant part of what he said: “Nigeria is ready because the Ministry (of Health) has taken every precaution including getting the vaccines and medicines in case there was any incident in Nigeria. So far, there is nothing like Ebola fever in Nigeria and Council (short for Federal Executive Council: Maku’s employer) was reassured that every step has been taken to ready our country just in case infected persons come into the country from our neighbouring countries.”

On Sunday July 20 2014, Patrick Sawyer sauntered into Nigeria from Liberia under the guise of attending an ECOWAS conference in the People’s Paradise of Calabar. He never made it that far because 5 days later, he expired at a Lagos hospital; but not before passing on the Ebola virus he knew he was carrying to a few others. Three of those have since kicked the bucket, with many more still fighting the battle of their lives. A panic has seized the populace like never before prompting bizarre prophylactic measures and comical social interaction adaptations.

In Nigeria’s Hall of Infamy, a certain Liberian-American is indisputably No 1 at the moment. Madness, craziness are some of the tamer words that have been employed, even at the highest official levels, to qualify Sawyer’s action. In their understandable angst, Nigerians feel he came specifically to spread the extremely deadly Ebola virus in their dear country. A few stretch it even further: asserting that Patrick Sawyer was a paid agent on a morbid mission. There are no strong bases to counter these assertions. In a world of Boko Haram, Taliban and ISIS, all things sinister and satanic are possible.

So if indeed such a diabolical plot existed to export Ebola to Nigeria, what better way to prompt the death angel while providing cover for the mission, than Maku’s carte blanche invitation. If Patrick Sawyer was paid to bring Ebola to Nigeria, I know who was equally paid to arrange deniability. If he was crazy, I now know at least one raving lunatic. And if his action was satanic, then finally, I can match a human face with Satan.

No. These conspiracy theories just don’t add up. When Maku spoke, he was merely trying to make his employers look good by lying through his teeth. They all do that. A day before Sawyer died, a friend arrived from Liberia and was shocked by the fact that the precautions that should have been in place were non-existent.

Sawyer was merely a very desperate man. He did not want to die. He must have read Maku’s statement and believed it. He then headed out to Nigeria in a last ditch effort to stay alive. The rest is instructive history. This is for me the most plausible narrative.

If on the other hand we buy the conspiracy thesis, then whoever engineered Ebola and dispatched Sawyer must still be lurking in the shadows. If Ebola fails to achieve its purpose, then something much more virulent should soon be heading our way.


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