BY AYODEJI ROTINWA

In a few days, precisely, 20th October 2016, it would have been two years since the World Health Organization declared Nigeria, free of Ebola.

Where were you when you first heard that the virus has made its way into the country? Did you hear it on the radio or read it in the news?

When you learnt that over a dozen people had been infected and seven of them had died, did it make it any more real? Answers to these questions you already know.

What you may know little of is those who stood in the way of the virus, contained its spread as ensured we were eventually victorious. The men, women, doctors and administrators, drivers, nurses because of whom today Nigeria is Ebola free.

93 Days, a recently released docu drama, now showing in the cinema, offers these answers. It recounts in stunning cinematography and memorable acting, how the virus came to be in Nigeria and the inner, intimate lives of these men, women, doctors, administrators, drivers, nurses… these heroes.

This is why you should go see it:

1. For history. To preserve it.

In Nigeria, we remember little of yesterday. We remember less of those, because of what they did yesterday, our lives are better today. We are ungenerous with honour.

Except for the undeserving. Like politicians. Seeing this film would be an act of change. By seeing this film, you would be preserving the lives, bravery and sacrifices of the doctors in your memory. It’s the least they deserve.

And hopefully it would help you remember for years to come, that because of them, the most discomfort you ever had to feel during the virus outbreak was squeezing hand sanitizer liquid into your hands.

They on the other hand lay isolated and undignified in a rundown facility in adult diapers, with aching joints, in their own vomit, with their bowels running over, in pain that keeps one from sleeping. As our national anthem goes, “the labour of our heroes past shall never be in vain…” These are our heroes immortalized in film.

2. It proves heroes can be ordinary citizens. You and I.

For almost every problem in Nigeria, we want the government to swoop in like Superman and fix it. This doesn’t happen as often as we’d like or at all. But at a time, when it mattered the most, when we were most in danger, it was not the government who saved us.

It was ordinary citizens, like you and I.

3. We still have a lot to take pride in as a country

There’s a scene in 93 Days that depicts ambulance drivers being scared to pick those suspected to be infected with the virus. If these people were left in their homes, they would likely have infected others and the virus would have spread like a wildfire. The drivers were scared for their lives.

They did not want to be infected either. But they still got up and did their jobs. They did their jobs knowing they could likely die. The typical Nigerian mentality is ‘every man for himself’ but for once, as shown in this film, that did not prevail. Seeing this gives one a burst of hope and swollen pride in being Nigerian.

 

BONUS REASON: It’s a celebration of old Nollywood

Yes, many new stars have come onto the film scene but our ageless stars remain evergreen. 93 Days has the best of them: Charles Okafor, Tina Mba, Franca Brown, Yemi Shodimu.

These are the stars of Nollywood at its peak in the 80’s and 90’s and boy did they give a good account of themselves in this film!

FACT FILE:
93 Days is a docu-drama film directed and co-produced by Steve Gukas. It stars Bimbo Akintola, Danny Glover and Bimbo Manuel with joint-production through Native FilmWorks, Michel Angelo Production and Bolanle Austen-Peters Production.

The theme of 93 Days centres on the sacrifices made by men and women who risked their lives to save Nigeria and West Africa from the epidemic of the Ebola virus.

93 Days is also dedicated to Stella Ameyo Adadevoh, a Nigerian physician who played a key role in the eradication of Ebola in Nigeria.

The movie was produced by Bolanle Austen-Peters, Pemon Rami, Dotun Olakunri and Steve Gukas.



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