Swans Commentary » swans.com January 11, 2010  



Nigeria: Hip, Hip, Hurrah!


by Femi Akomolafe





(Swans - January 11, 2010)  


•   My broda (pidgin for brother), sit down make I buy you drink. (typical West African pidgin construction)


•   Hey, what's the celebration? Rainy day in the Lotto department?


•   My broda, I am celebrating Nigeria, the greatest country in the world. May all the nay-sayers and enemies of my country perish in everlasting hellfire in the mighty name of Jesus. Hallelujah!


•   Nigeria, what is there to celebrate about Nigeria?


•   Ha, na you dey talk like that (pidgin expression)? Are you not a Nigerian?


•   Of course, I am a Nigerian. I just don't see a reason to plaster myself with drink in celebration.


•   I know people like you. No news is good enough for you. Nothing is good for eternal pessimist, killjoys like you. Anyhow sit down and have a drink on me. I do not want to celebrate the good fortunes of my beautiful country alone. Hey, waiter...


•   I don't touch alcohol.


•   No matter, make dem give you all the Coca-Cola they get. Waiter, bring my friend here a crate of Coca-Cola. And get yourself two bottles of criminally cold beer. This calls for great celebration. I will praise thee o my savior; I'll praise thee forever more.


•   My friend, you still haven't told me why you are in such a gay mood? Why all these effusive praises to your savior?


•   In good time, my friend, in good time. First, toast me. Yes, a mighty toast to the great country Nigeria and its good people. May the gods send all those that wish our great country evil into the kingdom that will never come, amen, amen. Jesus, we praise thy holy name. We shall forever remain grateful for thy bountiful blessings.


•   Thanks for the drink, but would you kindly tell me what the great occasion is exactly?


•   Didn't you hear that the Super Eagles have qualified for the World Cup?


•   My friend, is that enough reason to be splashing money around like no man's business? Africa was allocated six places in the soccer fiesta and that Nigeria struggled to win one of the places is not sufficient reason to make one giddy with excitement.


•   You don't know what you're talking about. I know that people like you are eternal pessimists and nothing joyous will drag you out of your glacier melancholy. Didn't you know that the whole world wrote Nigeria off? And didn't you see how our wonderful boys pulled it off magnificently in far-away Kenya of all places? And yet you do not think that warrants serious celebration?


•   The question is why didn't your so-called wonderful boys finish the job earlier like Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire did in their groups? Why did they have to wait until the last moment when many people had perished of heart attacks? And why do they have to rely on Mozambique doing them a favor by beating Tunisia?


•   My broda, you are talking arrant nonsense. One cannot but marvel at the technical ingenuity of our Super Eagles and the sheer originality of their technical handlers. If they had thrashed their opponents earlier, many like you would have blamed them for being merciless. Nothing, absolutely nothing will please people like you. Didn't you hear the good news coming from New York?


•   New York, what happened there?


•   I can see that you are not current with the solid achievements of Nigeria; our great country is garnering across the world in all human endeavors.


•   We are not being hyperbolic here, are we?


•   Hyperbole, what hyperbole? When did Nigeria last have a seat on the United Nations Security Council?


•   I'm sorry but I don't keep pace with those types of things.


•   You see, patriotic citizens should make it their duty to keep abreast with how well their country is doing at the international level. The last time Nigeria sat on that very august body was way back in 1994. That's fifteen solid years ago. And this year, our great country has won the seat. And not only that, we won very emphatically. Our great nation managed to garner 186 out of the 192 votes. Hurray to a great country of good people. My brother, our great nation of good people is going to be sitting next to the big guys right at the pinnacle of world power, and you do not think that a good citizen should contribute his quota by putting some money into the local economy?


•   In the beer department?


•   In whatever! Everyone has his own way of expressing his joy; some get their kicks from chasing their neighbours' daughters. But that is not all. Who says that God is not a Nigerian!


•   Is there anything more from the good news department?


•   My brother, God and his Son, Jesus, are definitely Nigerian. There's no doubt about that now. Do you remember that common Angola has been poking fun at us, the Giant of Africa? Simply because we had some hiccups in the Niger Delta, those blasted Savimbians thought they could steal our thunder. But God and his Son are not asleep. Nigeria, the Giant of Africa, is rousing itself and all nations should beware. Peace is coming to our Niger Delta and our oil pipeline shall soon be working overtime again. I tell you, our day of glory is at hand in the powerful name of Jesus. Our days of magnificence and plenty are near, very near. The good times are coming back and I urge those of you standing outside shouting to join the train of triumph. We shall soon return to our pre-eminent position as Africa's numero uno petroleum-producing nation. Our misguided youth who took up arms against their fatherland have been persuaded by our wise leader to lay them down.


•   "Persuaded?" It was more like they were bribed to me.


•   Call it whatever you like. We can only rejoice now that peace has returned and our great country of good people shall soon start to enjoy peace dividends. Our oil will soon begin to flow again and our nation shall regain its international prestige.


•   Won't that only encourage more looting from our politicians?


•   My broda, why are you always so negative? Didn't you see the results of the gargantuan war our president is waging against the monster of corruption? They are salutary and I think that it beholds all citizens to clap their hands in applause.


•   Gargantuan war, what are you talking about?


•   My broda, see, the biggest problem is that people find it difficult to see it when we are doing the right things. Yet it is the same people who are very fast to condemn us when we put forward a single foot wrong. Tell me, in which other country have you seen a big chieftain of the ruling party thrown into jail on account of corruption charges? Yep, yes sir, it happened in our great nation of good people. And in the powerful name of Jesus, more good tidings are on the way. May the evil machinations of our detractors be blasted into kingdom come. Jesus, we do not call your name in vain! There shall be shower of blessings, this is the promise Lord, there shall be season's...


•   But we still have thousands politicos who are looting the nation's treasury with impunity...


•   Ah, when are you people going to learn to give honor where honor is due? You see, the US Secretary of State came recently to our great country of good people to berate us for not fighting hard enough against corruption. Yet, there was not a whimper of encouragement when we caught one of the biggest thieves, sorry chief. And my friend, don't tell me that you have been on holiday in recent weeks. Have you not been following the news about the reformation, pardon me revolution, that's sweeping Nigeria's banking sector?


•   Hmmnnn...


•   That's all you have got to say? I am very happy that our great leader is not listening to super-pessimists like you. I am happy that our dear leader remains focused on the job at hand. In which other country have so many bank gurus and money bags been swept away in a giant reform like the one we have in Nigeria? Right now, more than twenty bank chairmen and managing directors are cooling their feet at Kirikiri (Nigeria's most notorious prison). Assets close to one trillion naira (US$1=160 naira) have been recovered from corrupt gamblers masquerading as bankers. And that happened only in Nigeria. Those responsible for the collapse of the financial sector in the West were bailed out by their friends in the government after receiving only a slap on the wrist. But our great country of good people threw all the rogues in our banking sector in jail. They were not only named and shamed, but they were made to vomit their ill-gotten wealth. Hurrah to a great nation!


•   I hate to take the shine out of your enthusiasm, but the rest of the world does not appear to share in your exuberance. They come to Nigeria and see only a dysfunctional country where absolutely nothing works. They see police harassing people and armed robbers snuffing the lives out of citizens with utter disdain. They see a nation where modern amenities are hard to come by.


•   That's neither here nor there. The journey of a million years has to start with a single step. Our wise leader is taking the time to study, understand, and tackle them one after the other. Don't forget that our president is a scientist.


•   Meaning what?


•   Meaning that he must do things scientifically. He must be systematic. He took his time with the problems of the Niger Delta and today he has brought it under total control. Peace, which has long eluded that part of our great country, has returned. The militants have surrendered their weapons of mass killing and are today enjoying the dividends of peace. Our wise president has won us a seat at the Security Council of the UN. He has sanitized our banking sector and threw some bankers into jail. Under his watch, our great country is going to the World Cup in South Africa. And we narrowly missed winning the Under-17 World Cup.


•   Don't make me laugh!


•   What is hilarious?


•   Your coming close to winning the Under-17 World Cup.


•   What is funny about that?


•   That is part of the problem we are talking about; the inability of Nigerians not to try and take undue advantage and cheat. It was supposed to be a tournament for youngsters under seventeen years of age, but Nigeria shamelessly fielded lads who were obviously grown up. Very few of the people in the Nigerian squad would be less than thirty years.


•   Says who?


•   Says anyone with eyes to see. Do you know that I was actually happy when the Swiss boys whipped them?


•   You cannot be serious! That's right there in my definition of un-patriotism!


•   Call it whatever you like. But Nigeria will continue to get bad press as long as Nigerians want to cut corners and cheat at every opportunity that presents itself.


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About the Author

Femi Akomolafe (see his profile on Swans) is a computer consultant, a writer and social commentator, an avid reader, and a passionate Pan-Africanist who lives in Kasoa, Ghana. Femi is known to hold strong opinions and to express them in the strongest terms possible. As he likes to remind his readers: "As my Yoruba people say: Oju orun teye fo, lai fara gbara. It means that the sky is big enough for all the birds to fly without touching wings." Femi Akomolafe's views, opinions, and thoughts can be accessed on the blog he maintains: http://ekitiparapo.blogspot.com/.   (back)


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Published January 11, 2010