Elekere Agwo : the quack doctor


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Elekere Agwo : the quack doctor


Nigerian literature (English)


This long pamphlet is described as "a novel on the dangers of illegal injections and self-medications," (pg.70). Neither an advice guide nor how-to pamphlet, this fictional account joins others by Akuneme that cover issues related to mental health, pharmacy and poisons as part of a series called "Health First". The story follows a "law-abiding" yet disgruntled trader named Okondu who joins up with a dubious character named Sunday to administer illegal injections for profit. Okondu's first wife, Ola, and son, Bom-Boy, receive poisonous injections containing arsenic from Okondu to "cure" their ailments. Rather than promoting growth, strength and healing, the injections bring disaster to Okondu's family.

Characters in this tale learn lessons about their experiences "in the hands of quacks," (pg.68). One strong message within the story is that drugs "are two-edged swords," (pg.45). In the end, education conquers ignorance and Okondu is forgiven for his attempt to substitute three quick weeks of "quack" apprenticeship for six years of rigorous professional medical training. Akuneme writes, "May God Forgive Okondu and his ilk for they know not what they are doing," (pg.29). Some Of the challenges facing Nigeria's medical profession and its ailing citizens, as well as the country's transportation network, are revealed in this entertaining story.


Akuneme, D. Nkem.


Awo-omamma, Eastern Nigeria : Oma Printing Press


c. 1964


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Onitsha market literature




Akuneme, D. Nkem., “Elekere Agwo : the quack doctor,” KU Libraries Exhibits, accessed September 20, 2018, https://exhibits.lib.ku.edu/items/show/6862.