‘Why we’re following father’s footsteps’
From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Martin Luther King, Jr. must have had Professor Ebenezer Olapade, a geneticist and consultant to Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), in mind when he said: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at the time of challenge and controversy.”
Olapade, who was the founder of Natural Resources Laboratories (NARL) Clinic, an Ibadan-based centre for phytomedicinal research, stood for promotion of natural medicine. At the time he started the promotion, people used to demonise anybody involved in natural medicine. But he stood his ground till he was vindicated.
Though Olapade breathed his last in 2014, the legacy he left behind in natural medicine has continued to wax stronger. The legacy is being promoted by his widow, children and associates.
NARL Clinic is being run by two of his children, Mrs. Christiana Olapade-Ojo, and Mr. Babajide Olapade. Two other children, Clement and Ebenezer, who are based in the United Kingdom, are handling the marketing aspect of the products from NARL.
Since the demise of Olapade about three years ago, his widow, children, associates and those who benefited from herbal medicine from the NARL Clinic have been gathering every year to promote the values he stood for during his lifetime. They converged again recently on Alegongo, Akobo, Ibadan, Oyo State, to promote natural medicine, where a professor of Phytomedicine, MacDonald Idu, from the University of Benin was the guest lecturer.
Idu in the lecture entitled, “Health and Wellness,” said: “Natural medicine, just like it sounds, comes from nature, which is plants and what you can see around. It is different from a situation whereby you have to consult the oracles or spiritual range for healing system.
“But natural medicine is handling what God has given to us through nature, and using it directly for the benefit of mankind. So, you don’t need to go into any oracle or things that have to do with supernatural. We are looking at what is natural.”
Idu, who described wellness as being in good health, however, cautioned people against unsafe use of microwaves because the amount of radiation that comes out when it is used “is something else.” He spoke on physical well-being, balanced diet, moderate exercise, rest, as well as mental, social, spiritual, environmental, intellectual, and emotional well-beings, said further: “You are what you eat. Food has a holistic effect on health. Healthful diet helps perform well at work.
“In the same vein, balanced diet such as carbohydrate, protein, fat and oil, minerals, vitamins, water and so on are needed for the body to function well. Moderate exercise is also good for good health. If you have a car, don’t drive all the time. You can park your car in a safe place and take a walk. You can jug. You can also do press up.
“The fact that you have big body does not mean your are not well and the fact that you have small body does not mean you are healthy. We should balance exercise and diet with calculative efforts.
“Stress is the major factor influencing mental well-being. It is impossible to avoid stress, but you can learn to relax and avoid it. You need to have a pleasant attitude to life.
“It is part of natural mediceine to drink at least three to four litres of water daily, eat fresh fruits and vegetable, especially those in season – eat fruits in their seasons. Try as much as possible to avoid genetically modified foods. You need to go for routine medical checks, especially if you suffer a particular health condition.”
First child of the deceased, Oluwafemi, told Daily Sun that “people have different perspectives about natural medicine. My father was a plant scientist. He was an educated scientist, not Babalawo.”
Olapade-Ojo, a natural/herbal medical practitioner, said: “We thank God because this programme has a very significant meaning, not just to the family of late Prof Ebenezer Olapade, also to his associates – those who benefited from his work and his personal friends.
“I am still in the practice and I am doing my best to move it beyond where my dad left it. I happen to be his only daughter. All of my brothers as well are involved either directly or indirectly in the practice. Being involved directly could mean clinical practice as myself and younger brother, Babajide, or in the marketing of products as it applies to my elder brothers, Clement and Ebenezer, outside the country. They are based in United Kingdom, selling the products.”
She stated that she obtained her first degree in Botany, “which is a major requirement in the practice of herbal medicine. The World Health Organisation (WHO), recommends that any herbalist, who is going into the practice of clinical herbal medicine should have first degree in Botany. I also did some courses in pharmcognosis. My second degree is in Ethnomedicine and the third degree is on the way in Ethnomedicine.
“The future of natural medicine is my passion. I prefer to call natural medicine as complementary medicine or holistic medicine. It is the future of healthcare, not just in Nigeria and Africa, but in the world.
“The truth is that we are not just seeing it as it is. Every single individual is already involved in holistic healthcare because you may know it consciously and you may be unconscious about the fact that the food that you eat is as therapeutic as the ‘agbo’ that a specialist prepares for you. Food also has therapeutic effects. Food can be medicine as much as our medicine can also be food.”
“The widow, Olufunmilayo, said the programme was necessary and encouraging because her husband “during his lifetime went to school through scholarship. The scholarship is necessary. I am happy the children take after him. The legacy will continue.”