Daybreak Nigeria! All the make-up is gone now. On the forehead are lines of wrinkles. Short tears dry up midway down the sides of the nose, forming the ruthless eyeshadows of the tiger. The smile has turned into a sneer, the cheers are swallowed up by jeers, and laughter has ceased, seized by weeping and gnashing of teeth across the land. The calamity is total.
Now, the rich are also crying. Those not crying are shivering. Because nowhere is safe; palaces or huts. No one is smiling; kings or paupers. The American dollar is gripped by the spirit of Joseph’s dream, it’s now swallowing the naira. One dollar, just one dollar, is now swallowing one thousand five hundred naira. Èemò wòlú!
The land is bitter. Hunger is raining. Poverting is pollinating. Death is reigning. Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the man, who assured the citizenry, saying, “E lo f’okan bale,” appears lost. The Asiwaju called BAT also said, “Let the poor breathe,” but the air has ceased. The poor can’t inhale, the rich can’t exhale. Yoruba kings have become chickens inside a pitch-black cage, and the Fulani cobra coils up in a corner, snacking them up one by one – after its regular feast on the people. The bat of the night has lost its voice.
But, the purpose of this article isn’t to paint our country in sad colours. It’s to make you laugh and forget the woes besetting our beloved country – even if only momentarily. The expression, “Òrò burúkú tòhun tèrín,” signposts the junction called Bittersweet. Inside his regalia, the egungun must endure his fart, he dares not tear off his mask. Èewò òrìsà! The Abami Eda – Fela Anikulapo – called it Shuffering and Shmiling.
Imagine you bought a plate of rice, beans, veggies and chicken. Iya Ramota, the food seller, tells you to go home and wait for your order. Back at home, you waited all day, and Iya Ramo didn’t show up. At midnight, she shows up with a big plate and a toothpick in her hands. She picks a grain of rice with the toothpick and puts it in your mouth. She also remembers to put in a grain of beans before she leaves with the food. You jump up, shouting Up Iya Ramo!
Isn’t this what you do when you shout ‘Up NEPA!’ after being ripped off by the Power Holding Company of Nigeria – when you should be shouting, ‘wahala, wahala, wahala’ – in the voice of that irritant musician in Sango, Ogun State, whose wisecracks overflows from a portable suitcase? Isn’t that shuffering and shmiling?
Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis is the longest word in the English dictionary. You can count how many letters it has, good luck. But don’t try to pronounce it, please. I don’t want to be held responsible for missing teeth, biko. Do not say I didn’t warn you o, ehn-ehn, because Nigeria is a now country where a packet of unadulterated antibiotic costs between N45,000 and N60,000 when the minimum wage of over 104 million citizens remains N30,000, according to the World Bank figures.
Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis is a fibrotic lung disease caused when you breathe in chemical dust such as silica, coal dust or asbestos. Yes, asbestos! Asbestos is a potential killer outlawed for building in developed countries.
Silicosis is another name for pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis. Yet another synonym for it is ‘black lung’. It’s also called pneumoconiosis. When I consider the various names of the disease, I see the developed world running with the simplified versions, researching, while Nigeria, the h(r)ope of the black man, smokes on a keg of gunpowder.
Growing up, I listened to the sweet voice of King Sunny Ade, singing “Ile o labo sinmi oko…,” a song he did about his journey to London, extolling the importance of home over the farmstead. Kennery King, Orlando Owoh, also did a song, ‘Ero ki yeye mi,” in praise of home. Before KSA and Orlando’s songs, Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey had done a song about the importance of home.
Home is a place of refuge. It’s a stockade to leave and return to after toilings afield. Many years ago, Nigerians in the Diaspora considered Nigeria as home, and their foreign abodes as farmsteads because home is where you feel secure and loved, wanted. The reverse is the case now. Nigeria has turned into oko (farmstead) while foreign abodes have become homes.
About 700 years ago, Africa was invaded for slaves by the West. About 500 years later, slavery was abolished and a new form of slavery called colonisation started. Though Nigeria gained independence from British colonial rule in 1960, the domineering influence of the British and America over the country is still strong, owing to corruption and misgovernance by Nigerian rulers.
Nigeria’s former slave masters have long departed, and the land has been despoiled. Nigerians themselves are the ones now begging to go and be slaves in foreign lands. They risk lives and limbs, stowing away on planes and ships because the country is no longer at ease. What would Nigerian children taken or born abroad be? Where would they call home? Nigeria or foreign lands?
Last week, I shook my head when I heard that a friend of mine, in a bid to erase his family’s link with a particular Yoruba river, had changed his name to reflect his Christian religion. But Jesus Christ never told any of his disciples to change their family names which reflected their pagan histories.
Two days ago, Madison Academy in Alabama, USA, announced the return of Mustang Mud Run 5K, calling on interested participants to reserve their spots. The announcement says, “Prepare to have fun and put your skills to the test in North Alabama’s Mud Run. The obstacle course, situated on the campus of Madison Academy, will challenge participants with 18-22 obstacles along and through Indian Creek and the adjacent wooded areas. The family-friendly, fun mud run is open to anyone over the age of 12. Runners are expected to slip, slide, climb, jump, slog, and swing their way to a fun finish.”
Were this event native to Nigeria, many zealots, who have made pastors and imams their gods, would say the sport belonged to the devil, forgetting that they themselves are from mud! They would cast and bind and speak in tongues.
The zealots, their pastors and imams won’t pray hail and brimstones on the political leadership that has refused to hand over criminal cop, Abba Kyari, to the US, for trial over alleged involvement in wire fraud. Kyari, while on suspension over involvement in wire fraud, was caught on video negotiating the release of 25kg of cocaine for $61,000. He remains a member of the Nigeria Police Force to date, earning a salary.
It’s funny how we run this type of unjust country and still expect birds to chirp like birds, and rats squeak like rats. Ka ma ri ni Poolu wi. Apostle Paul says such an expectation is a mirage.
So, I hissed when Fuji singer, Wasiu Ayinde, called on President Tinubu in a viral video, telling him that Nigerians are shuffering. If the President doesn’t know by now that Nigerians are living in the worst of times, and it takes a bard to call his attention to it, it’s time to wind down the country and give it back to Britain or America for colonisation. But I would prefer the Chinese. I love their language.
Facebook: @Tunde Odesola
Disclaimer: This piece represents the opinion of the writer not that of Blaze Newz Nigeria
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