About Life And The Lessons Of Death, By Dr Mikail Barau

“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow

Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time.
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle.
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing” Macbeth: Act 5, Scene 5.

*Macbeth recited the above upon hearing about the death of his wife who influenced his decisions -most of them unpopular like the murder of the king who was his guest and any other person that looks like a threat to his desperate quest for a lasting power.

*These same lines came first to mind on hearing about the exit of Malam Abba Kyari, Chief of Staff to Nigeria’s President from COVID-19. I think the President might have done the same if he read Shakespeare at all.

*To many observers, the Chief of Staff was the defacto President of the country given the apparent failing health of the President and clear manifestation of the deceased desk being where all “the buck stops”

*Some of us believe that President Buhari’s is the most belligerent of all governments in recent times in terms of human right abuse with loss of lives from careless and brutal use of force all around the country. A good number of people don’t notice the abuse because the victims are either their perceived enemies or they just don’t care.

*Nigerians also die daily in hundreds from poor healthcare while our President conveniently enjoys world class healthcare attention against a declared commitment to eliminate such immoral practice and improve our hospitals.

*With less than 20 death in three months, COVID-19 will hardly kill as many Nigerians as those that die from the excesses of law enforcement agents and failed healthcare delivery in an average month in Nigeria.

*Guided by literary and religious influences, I believe strongly in retribution and drew attention to it trusting that a certain realisation and redress may help us all. This was done at a great cost of being misunderstood and labelled, but without regret because of the weight of the responsibility.

*Death is of the most natural things on earth. It is as natural as life being its most complementary attribute. It takes a shallow mind to celebrate death in either natural, instigating or retributing context. People at certain level of realisation are also rarely bothered/saddened by death.

*Yet, death brings back our mortal consciousness more than anything else and provides the most fertile fields for reminding us about many ills we ignore and naturalise.

*Again, death often breaks our arrogant self and disturbs our objective attitude towards the dead. Many quickly switch to praises of the dead as a result of the shock or the pressure to conform with the norm of the mourning mood.

*My Friday message to more than thirty people yesterday was a verse from Qur’an 4:79 that reads “”Whatever of good befalleth thee (O man) it is from Allah, and whatever of ill befalleth thee it is from thyself.”

*I acknowledge the ‘natural’ pain of Nigerians on the death of Malam Abba Kyari and duly register my condolences.

*I take the hardly popular stance of using this as an opportunity to learn from the lessons of death through some thoughts shared here and more.

Stay safe and responsible!