The deeper my gaze,

the more I'm unable to see anything

more instructive


the cell.

You remain a being


because your cell

( billions of them holding your hand thro the day)

remains a cell;

  1. it self- limits with a border called membrane

  2. It transacts business with other cells next door or far flung

  3. It distributes functions between its various parts

  4. It listens with slavish attention to its command and control centre ( nucleus)

  5. it reserves within its own territory

sections to ensure its own perpetuity




and or

constant repair of self


an internal clock

that guides the rhythm

to last

its ordained lifetime.

Don't do so,

there is risk,

like a dead leaf


falling to the ground ( apoptosis)

  1. It imports and exports all kinds of materials

necessary for the day's job.

And goes to great lengths within its life span

to ensure

order, continuity and complementarity.

  1. It has a library of its own

with a timeless

repository and depository


informations to dictate and influence



fidelity of

transcriptions and translations

at their highest levels

in all machinations.

......that library


'hermetically sealed'

preventing contaminants


its heritage.

And what a textualist the cell is!

.....everything flows precisely and legibly


coded texts

that transcend

time and space.

But beyond these,

the Cell

is extremely


in nearly as much measure

as it is

selfish .

Bring a stranger to its turf,

the cell will climb even a cliff

to fight it.

Sometimes so jealous,

it can get carried away


even its own kind ( auto immune self destruct)

Only two weeks ago,

I benefited from that jealousy!!!

It was a public holiday.

And I decided to use the day


prune my garden.

A prickle entered the base of my palm

as I gathered the trimmings

between my naked hands.

It was too small for me to go after it

nor did i want to interrupt

the ecstacy of gardening

But wasn't too small, it seemed,

for the jealous cell to pursue

In less than a week,

....the prickle had been rounded up

in a mound ( oedema),

.....the crime scene cordoned off in red ( erythema)

......headquarters alerted by pain,


....... soldiers ( leukocytes) drafted to the scene for the kill.

By the weeks end,

.....the prickle had been pulverised

into milk ( pus)


......a clear warning to the overlying skin

to create an exit ( pointing).

Within hours of pointing,

.....a burst( spontaneous drainage ) ensued.

Jealousy had helped me recover.

And for selfishness, no doubt!!!!

It caters to self interest before anything else


would have daily

taken the laws into its own hands


for overriding policing and regulation

from higher powers;

powers that are sometimes regional,

other times central.

The selfishness played into my hands recently!!!

My shirts were tightening on me:

I countered by eating less,

hopeful that

in the scramble for reduced supplies,

each cell,

blind to the needs of its neighbours

will cater to its own ration

as though the other didn't exist.

The ensuing fight to finish

between the cells

must leave losers


and so

my body weight equally fallen.

But clashes


the cell and regulatory powers sometimes occur,

leading to break down of law and order

which in turn can lead to something

as trivial as a flu


as lethal as a cancer.

No doubt, saboteurs from outside the cell

abound everywhere ,

commited to fueling clashes.


with the help of in-house traitors

occasionally present within the cell,

can easily plant crisis.

Nicotine comes to mind for saboteur

abetted by in-house traitors,

to provoke a cancer crisis.

Germs are another kind of saboteurs :

the viruses are adept

at confusing the cell into submission


mimicry, usurpation


at times,

sheer despotism,

replacing the cell command and control unit

with its own


beginning to call the tunes.

The older generation of cells

were so complete,

they self sufficed

even if the circumstances were so modest.

I don't often hear of amoeba now as I did growing up.

It was a quintessentially self sufficient being


with its own

kitchen, dining, plumbing, toilet, library, transportation or locomotion etc.etc

So clever, it can move in any direction


making a foot


any part of its body

Modern generation of cells

have traded much ( by no means all)

of their self sufficiency for community spirit

and interdependence,

catering to interests larger than sectional,

sure that,

thro the survival of the whole,


the better survival of the parts.

.....that the whole can be larger than the sum of its parts,


.....that on the long run better to be part of something larger than self.

..... that the hands that clap together sing louder song .

They learnt these facts the hard way ;

Evolutionary challenges and stressors

taught the modern cell the need for communality.

The modern cell

has had to endure

a certain complexity to its being

to stay afloat

in waters increasingly troubled

by the times.


bring progress

but so do they


Scientists have spawned an entire industry,

flourishing and universal

around both

the complexities of cells

and the attendant

vulnerabilities .

The rewards have been immeasurable.

Thro the different edges of the industry,

the efforts can be steered

towards enhancing the cells


frustrating them.

But the skills for doing so

derive from exquisite intelligence

on the cell and it's secrets.

There are myriads of ' growth' factors

to pep up cellular flourish

and where expedient,

a quiver full of darts

to derail same,

It takes only little stretch

to imagine

Boko Haram,

a Cell,

similar in its existential essence to nature's prototype .

........Constituent parts, command and control centre, Import and export, library of ideas, communication or cybernetics, self defense and offence, self perpetuation. etc etc

The remarkable success to date


science over the cell

relates to the fact that

for every one part or process of the cell,

there are thousands, more accurately millions,

of people studying the same part or process

in different locations, languages, and settings, context and goals.

And with astounding cross fertilities between students of the cell.

The result is a head bursting at the sutures

with actionable intelligence,

bringing the cell to its knees

at the foot of the average investigator.

If Boko Haram be seen as is,

a Cell

whose selfish propensities have caused it

to miss its path,

and it's jealousies of Western education ,

misguided its zeal,

it's complexities like those of the natural prototype,

must carry somewhere within its organics ,

an Achilles heel

where it's vulnerability preponderantly situates.

And now that the world is amassing its efforts

in the direction of Nigeria,

seeking a 'chemotaxis' of sorts

to guide its brains

towards the enemy,

it must first inform itself

as would the scientist seeking the cell.

Boko Haram, the Cell it has become

needs be studied


scientific zeal

so any conquest be neither shallow nor temporary.

I stumbled on a lecture recently

by justice Belgore; former chief Justice of Nigeria ;

It interests me that it was originally given

at the University of Ilorin,

it's "Centre for Ilorin studies"

I wondered right away

why it has not become necessary

to have a

"Centre for boko haram Studies"

given the size, the monster had grown into .

With a global parade of interests,

it may be worth while to carve out


commited to specific aspects of the monster

with functional cross diffusions as necessary from time to time.

Anything less, or anything visceral

rather than cerebral

may only serve to popularise and lionise

the group ; each time a David wins over a goliath,

the story takes the form

of a sellable fable

with new converts to David's cause

and a mocking

of goliath.

It is not now time for boots,



on any ground ( mind or otherwise)

to which

Boko Haram

lays claim.

Brains will sooner bring back the girls

than boots.

It may also bring irreversibility to cellular apoptosis.

By Basil Jide Fadipe Justin Fadipe Centre West Indies