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Atoke: Steve Gukas’ 93 Days Honoured the Heroes Who Gave Up Their Lives to Save Ours



93Days_05Exactly 2 years ago, BellaNaija published the exclusive story of Ebola survivor, Dr. Ada Igonoh. By the time the story was shared, Nigeria had lost 8 people to Ebola. The epidemic left millions of people quaking in anguish and mostly fear; a fear of what might have been if the amazing team of doctors at First Consultants Hospital, Ikoyi hadn’t intervened.
Dr. Igonoh’s story was my first true insight into how close to a cataclysmic disaster we came. It was also the first time I really saw the human heart behind the name Dr. Stella Ameyo Adadevoh. This incredible woman, ensured that Patient Zero, Patrick Sawyer, was contained within the walls of the hospital.
Of the 5 Nigerian films I’ve seen so far at #TIFF16, 93 Days has left the deepest impression in my heart. The film was an attempt to give visuals to the 93 days in 2014, when Ebola wrecked its havoc in Nigeria.

How do you paint a picture of sorrow and devastation without making your audience feel like they just left a ghoul’s lair? You can do this by showcasing the heroes of the tragedy, and to celebrate the victory over a terrifying situation. This is exactly what Steve Gukas and his team did with the film.
93 Days is not a celebration of one hero, neither is it a biopic of Dr. Adadevoh’s life. Instead, the film shows the lives of the different individuals who ensured that Nigeria was not consumed. The film told the story of the synergy between the governmental arms, the public health expatriates, the medical officers, drivers, and doctors. With 93 Days, it was obvious that this film sought to give honour where it was due.
In a country where we believe can hardly get the fire service to come through in a raging fire, 93 Days gave us a glimpse into the roaring success we have the potential to be.
Keppy Ekpenyong -Bassey played the role of Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian-American reported to have been the index case of Ebola in Nigeria. The film showed him being ill and sweating profusely, as his aide, played by Adebola Williams, checked him into First Consultant. As with every film where you know the end of the story, you know what to expect, but it still doesn’t stop your reactions. My stomach churned in anger every time there was a scene with Patrick Sawyer. It didn’t particularly help that Keppy Ekpenyong-Bassey was sitting right beside me. It took the willpower of a thousand horses to stop me from punching the poor actor in the face. I did want to actually punch him for a sin of his own – when he fell asleep. Oh, and there was this weird accent thing going on. I wasn’t sure if that was the way the Liberian accent is supposed to sound, but it didn’t sound quite right.

Bimbo Akintola played the role of Dr. Adadevoh. She is a great actress and it was easy to see her slip easily into the role of a devoted, hardworking woman, who is passionate about her work. The film attempted to show Dr. Adadevoh’s commitment to her profession, even at home, by showing scenes with her husband and son, Bankole Cardoso.
The light hearted banter at the meal table seemed believable enough until, Bankole said ‘MumZEE’. Bankole Cardoso was played by Charles Oke. Honestly, that MumZEE thing was really distracting because it kept sounding off and disingenuous. He, unfortunately said that word till the end of the movie.
Somkele Idhalama played the role of Dr. Igonoh and I can truly see why she was selected as one of the TIFF Rising Stars. I’m not very sure about the choice of Seun Kentebe to play her husband. I’ve seen Seun Kentebe on stage a lot of times and he’s fantastic in theatre. I don’t really know if he was the best fit for this role – on screen.
It was indeed refreshing to see Tina Mba, Franca Brown and Charles Okafor on screen again. Danny Glover, our token American actor seemed stilted. I’m not sure… maybe it was the attempt to speak with a Nigerian accent.

I particularly loved the scene with taxi driver who had to convey one of the infected nurses to the centre. Yoruba actor, Kayode ‘Aderukpoko’ Olaiya  played the role perfectly and it further drove home the point about how quickly the disease had a potential to spread.

The dialogue explored different sides of how families were ripped apart,  only to be held together by bonds of faith in something, anything in this sudden fight against this thing they had never seen before. Ebola threatened to take them and leave their children without parents. The pain was palpable and the mood in the theatre was a reflection of the seriousness of the movie.

There seemed to be a concerted agreement that we had this close shave with disaster and these people held the wall of fire at bay, and gave us a chance to sit in that room. Those people, whose lives were being depicted on screen fought with everything they had to save us, as a people.

They deserved to be honoured and recognized across the globe. With a message of hope, 93 Days reminded me that as a country we can overcome anything if we work together. I’ve never been more proud to be a Nigerian.

Thank you, Steve Lukas & Bolanle Austen-Peters.


No payments in cash, or promise of favours, have been received in exchange for the ‘Atoke at TIFF16’ stories. The views expressed in the stories reflect the writer’s personal take from the events she attended at the festival – and not the opinion of a film critic.

Photo Credit: TIFF

You probably wanna read a fancy bio? But first things first! Atoke published a book titled, +234 - An Awkward Guide to Being Nigerian. It's available on Amazon. ;)  Also available at Roving Heights bookstore. Okay, let's go on to the bio: With a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Swansea University, Atoke hopes to be known as more than just a retired foodie and a FitFam adherent. She can be reached for speechwriting, copywriting, letter writing, script writing, ghost writing  and book reviews by email – [email protected]. She tweets with the handle @atoke_ | Check out her Instagram page @atoke_ and visit her website for more information.


  1. woohaa

    September 15, 2016 at 2:24 am

    Thank you Atoke for such a beautifully written article.

    I remember during the Ebola crisis I was working in Lagos, around the Surulere axis (ridiculously congested area and so convenient for transmission). My oh my, the fear that had gripped me once I heard about the Patrick Sawyer fellow (thou shall not speak ill of the dead) literally had me prepared to quit my job and relocate.

    Everyday not only am I grateful to God for saving Nigeria, but I was and still am eternally grateful to the doctors, women and men, who put their lives out there to save so many people. You all literally stopped a human catastrophy. For those who lost their lives, I pray for your eternal peace and may your families be comforted with the thought that you will forever go down as a hero.

    I look forward to watching this movie and if there are any other initiatives out there showing the bravery of these individuals, I really would like to support them.

    PS Atoke your little biography at the end is classic. Lol, love it!

  2. Human being

    September 15, 2016 at 3:32 am

    I owe it to mysef to watch this film. How un patriotic will I be? It doesn’t always have to be entertaining – 50 shades of rainbow! A reminder of what could have been makes you appreciate the free air you effortlessly breath in.

  3. Hannah

    September 15, 2016 at 4:18 am

    The stories of the heroes and heroines whose lives where portrayed in 93 days sure does give another meaning to “the labours of our heroes past shall never be in vain”. I cant wait to watch this one.

    • Hannah

      September 15, 2016 at 4:19 am

      …whose lives were…

  4. vora

    September 15, 2016 at 5:24 am

    Tnk God for nigeria.evrybody was scared including me.i refused going out and always carried sanitizer..may the soul of the Dr’s rest in peace and also the people that died from ebola Amen

  5. De Duchess

    September 15, 2016 at 7:37 am

    Such a beautiful write-up Atoke. Of all the films that were screening at TIFF, 93 Days and 76 and maybe Green White Green, were important stories and I was more exicited for these films

  6. Baby gurl

    September 15, 2016 at 9:22 am

    Atoke is so amazing with words OMG ? please continue to write for our eyes and give us more movie reviews biko. Continue to RIP Dr Stella Adadevoh. As for you BN this new Etisalat SME popup ad with a pretty lady and some three icons IS NOT MOBILE FRIENDLY!!! It is a pain typing this comment. I can’t see. The ‘x’ sign to close it is not working. My heart is beating fast, I’m sweating profusely. Please get your site administrator or whoever is in charge of this to do something about it. I know you have to make money and all that shii but do it RIGHT! Thanks fam.

    • Cocolette

      September 15, 2016 at 9:46 am

      BN please do something about this headache-inducing Etisalat pop-up, it’s blocking out the entire half of my screen not covered by my keyboard.

  7. Great Lady

    September 15, 2016 at 10:45 am

    An excellent movie review; nice one Atoke. I can’t wait to see this film.


    September 15, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    The movie premieres tomorrow and I urge everyone to see it. Was going to post my review here but Atoke beat me too it?! I watched it at House on the Rock with some of the actual doctors from first consulting hospital present. I cried, in fact we cried, cos the coming together of the consultants and their agreement to continue to do their jobs in spite of their personal fear is a true definition of selflessness. I applaud Steve Gukas using the art of film to help us appreciate and understand those 93Days will forever be enshrined in me. Well done to the cast and crew. @Atoke the accent and mumsie got u too right? Thought it was only me .

    • Tomi

      September 16, 2016 at 7:41 am

      Mehn, the Mum zee thing was the only thing that I didn’t like about the movie.
      Hope the infectious disease ward in Yaba is now up to standard.

  9. molarah

    September 15, 2016 at 9:45 pm

    I’m probably nitpicking (yes I am), but First Consultants is in Obalende, not Ikoyi. Seems like a move to whitewash (may not have been deliberate on your part but hey…)

  10. BeautifulOnyinye

    September 15, 2016 at 10:01 pm

    Awesome review Atoke.May God bless Dr.Adadevoh and all the First Consultant’ doctors and nurses that put their lives on the line for us.I’m a medical doctor.There was an NMA abi ARD strike then else more doctors would have died. I was soooo scared especially when it got to PH.When the strike was called off towards the end of the 93 days,we were petrified and in UPTH we had some scares especially when an ebola infected corpse of a doctor from a private hospital was deposited @ our morgue.We were living in fear.Thank God for saving this country.I have to see this movie.This review and the trailer I saw were great.

    • BeautifulOnyinye

      September 15, 2016 at 10:06 pm

      Then when I read Dr.Ada Igonoh’s story here,I cried so much.It was too close to home.Already getting emotional remembering. I guess I’m quite hormonal.Let me stop here biko

  11. Gorgeous

    September 16, 2016 at 2:17 am

    First consultant was a family hospital and the Dr was a family Dr of ours for a very long time. I was really sad during this whole ebola madness. I am sure my views on Sawyerr are very clear. If I start to insult now his family will come and give one mumu sympathy talk here?. Nice review Atoke.

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