Ramblings Of An Angry Nigerian: THE END IS NEAR

The most popular person in Nigeria right now is not a Nigerian. He’s not even a human being. The dollar. Starting from early January and climaxing in the last one week, the naira had nosedived and cowed before the US dollars; since Nigeria imports almost everything, including pencils, toothpick and combs, everything has topped money, including the few that are not imported, including old stocks that were not purchased with the expensive dollars. Nigerian traders are not known for their honesty (I am not the president of Nigeria and I am not talking to BBC, why not?–Nigerian traders are not known for honesty!).

From the boli seller, to the okada rider, the provisions shopkeeper, mama-put, saw sharp increments in prices. I took this like a soldier. But when my barber told me the price for cutting my hair had risen by 50%, I just told him to put the clipper on my throat. What nonsense. Yes, I know the clipper was imported last week from Italy but I am not buying. I will rather carry Bob Marley on my head or do Emmanuel Adebayor than submit to my barber’s dirty capitalism.

(Note how the price of cigarettes, dry gin and wee-wee haven’t been affected by the scarcity of dollar).

And naira cheerfully continues to fall and fall and fall. At this rate I will go burst, and will one day gather my raggy stuff in a bag and return to the village and, like the prodigal son, kneel before my father and tell him, ‘I have sinned against heaven and against adulthood, I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Take me as one of your daughters…’

But as a man of God, I can’t think defeat nor use human intellect to try and analyse this crisis, so I consulted the Bible. And I got the answer.

After God destroyed the world with flood he made a vow to Mr and Mrs Noah, their sons and daughters-in-law never to destroy the world with water again. During my Sunday School days I thought God would destroy the world with fire and brimstones. No, God will destroy the world with dollars and Nigeria is the first to go.

We were talking about Nigeria on twitter and someone said Nigeria can never be good, that the only way Nigeria will make any headway is if Nigerians are expelled from Nigeria and new people brought in to repopulate her. And someone said no, even if new people were brought in, as long as they would live in Nigeria Nigeria will corrupt them.

So I say, Nigeria must go.

Ghana really understands this and has banned goods from Nigeria. Foresight! I think we should pay back and ban Ghanaian black soap and their whiter than British accent coming into Nigeria. And we will, at the fullest of time. Presently our president is not around, he’ll ban Ghana when he visits Nigeria.

‘There’s time for everything, a time to embrace and a time to run away.’

So while licking our wounds from our tackle with dollars a certain man went to Channels TV and said Ladies and gentlemen, I can make the dollar fall from about 400 naira per dollar to 200 naira per dollar, within one month. Some people have sold their soul to the media so that if you give them a microphone and an audience they will conquer the world within two minutes. These kind of people are dangerous, they don’t have a single clue and they see Nigeria with the eye of one under the influence of cordein, but because they have money (please flash EFCC) they make a loud noise which drowns out the voice of people who really have something worthwhile to contribute.

‘And many false economists will appear and will deceive many.’

And it came to pass that the minister of finance while trying to accuse some agency of corruption did 16 billion plus 6 billion and got 24 billion. I swear I’m not crying, it’s this onion I am cutting. First, why is every member of our government trying to play the corruption card? EFCC ably assisted by Lai Mohammed is doing so ‘well’, so why? It’s as though the strategy is for everything in the country to stand still until we kill off corruption, then (if we survive) we’ll do something about the economy, unemployment etc. I don’t know politics very well but I don’t think this strategy is sound strategy.

But I know that 6 plus 16 isn’t 24. Why do people in charge of our commonwealth usually put themselves in a situation that would embarrass a nursery pupil? The other day in trying to `reduce’ MTN’s fine the ministry of communication made a ‘typographical’ error that cost us billions of naira. I believe it’s this same ‘error’ that saw 178 million naira voted for the updating of a website in the budget.

No, I am not crying. It’s the heat.

‘In the same way, when ye see these things happening, know ye that the end is near.’

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And there is one man who doesn’t have ‘the end’ in his vocabulary. His name, David Mark. He has been in the senate since the return of democracy in 1999, and enjoyed eight whopping years as senate president. Since he was sworn in for his fifth mandate and returned as a floor member he has been sitting and looking, never saying a word. You know, if David Mark stands up and addresses Saraki as Mr President, David Mark will no longer be David Mark so he would rather bury his vocal cords in his bosom and play the president of the Association of Just Looking Senators. Last week he won the rescheduled election ordered by the tribunal and is back in the senate. David Mark has done a lot for Idoma people so I understand them giving him a send forth party with four years. And this party will extend to eight years come 2019. Who knows?

‘Verily I say to you, before a rooster crows tonight, you will say three times you know me not.’

And finally, last night, yet again Arsenal were beaten by Barcelona. On behalf of Arsene Wenger, two thousand years ago, Peter had asked Jesus Christ this question, ‘How many times will your brother beat you before you retaliate?’ And Jesus answered, ‘Seventy times seven.’

Chai chai…

No, it’s not the heat, it’s not onions, I am crying.

Tweets to @Oke4chukwu

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RAMBLINGS OF AN ANGRY NIGERIAN

I didn’t know I was an angry human being until I got to the campus where I met this friend who always chided me with Why are you always angry? Better pray God to fix your anger. Now this my guy had the H-factor which meant that his sideswipe sounded like Why are you always hungry? Better pray God to fix your hanger.

As I didn’t want to disturb the Almighty, I got Musa the carpenter and he took a long look at my hanger and he found nothing wrong with my hanger. So whenever my guy told me to have my hanger fixed, I would tell him my hanger was perfect and my hanger was nobody’s business anyway, and he would go mad. Then he got tired one day and told me that Moses didn’t enter the promised land because of hanger and that my hanger might lead me to affliction. Then I realized he wasn’t talking about a wooden frame in which my raggy clothes hung, but about my temper!

But at this time I was working on my project and my supervisor was making me see my ears without the aid of a looking glass (one day I will write about my supervisor, I am never going back to ABU, why not?). I had little breathing space to think, working on my anger, infinitesimal, in fact I began to wish I possessed Moses’ tsunamic hot temper with which he broke God’s handmade ten commandments on Aaron’s big head then melted the golden calf and forced it down idol worshippers’ throats. Atta boy!

I couldn’t do any of this to Dear Supervisor. It was an unequal battle, man vs bulldozer. My supervisor eventually got bored of seeing my smug face every morning and my stalking him behind shrubs and cars and ordered me to go bind the damned thing. Thus an angry man was loosed upon the world.

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The Nigerian society I met made my supervisor look like Father Teresa. I was like a chick fresh from an egg right into a world ruled by a legion of hawks. Like a chick unable to return to its embryonic comfort, I decided to make sense out of senselessness, to tame a wild cat with bare hands. It’s this Nigeria that taught me the usefulness of anger. In fact, I have come to the understanding that Nigerians are not angry enough. We need to be more angry, and vex with patriotic fury. Our suffering and smiling mentality has put us in a casket and is already five feet gone.

If we are capable of real anger, the government will not, for instance, look 170 million people in the eyes and say they need 3.2 billion naira to renovate Aso Rock clinic, an amount nearly twice more than what was voted for our 17 teaching hospitals put together. We have a president who works with body language so this expense is totally understandable.

But I have not come to bicker about the budget debacle, much smarter guys have espoused on it (and still on it). Comedians as well. And cartoonists. And conspiracy theorists. No, I have come to record for prosperity Nigeria and her concussion. Every week, or bi-weekly or monthly or bi-monthly (it depends) I would gather the bullshit happening in this theatre of absurd and put it up here, and call it out. If time holds and I find the energy I should do this every week. Yes, this country is capable of a serial melodrama of weekly basis. Anezi Okoro’s novel One Week, One Trouble comes to mind.

In the last few weeks alone, big boys have gone in and out of prison, a ruling party kicked against the posting of a priest, some people said some people found a million dollars in a suckaway pit, a certain president went to a foreign land and dissed his people, naira continues its cheerful descent to the bottom rung, a bread seller turned an overnight celebrity just by bombing into a photograph! (and I know how many times people have abused my ancestors because I bombed into their black and white photo while celebrating their matriculation into a private college of education (God forgive them for they know not what they do).) etc. I could write two thousand words on each of the above accidents/incidents.

But the the photo-bomb story fascinates me most. You wake up one day as a bread seller and the next moment CNN is interviewing you, you are cover on ThisDay Style, you are the face of Stanbic IBTC… It’s a fantastic story, the kind some sadist editor will squeeze up and dump in the waste basket because it’s unrealistic, implausible and other lazy wornout terms they peddle. Yes, reality is stranger than fiction.

Statisticians are yet to determine the number of Agege bread sellers that have invaded our markets since Jumoke’s story broke, in search of a TY Bello. That is Nigeria for you, a country that can transform your fortune in the blink of an eye in the most unsuspecting, improbable and melodramatic form. It’s beginning to make me feel this is a country of chance and wild goose chase fortune, no real safety nets for dreamers to dare, just a million gods throwing dice. Remember that widow Oshiomhole said ‘go and die’ to, didn’t her son get scholarship for that insult? Didn’t people go about looking for a politician/millionaire that would abuse them? These are a once in a thousand years story but people will never stop trying. And I must confess I have thought of buying a basin of bread, and take it to the American or German Embassy and sing ‘buy bread, buy sweet bread’. I’ll be flying this year but you can never tell the style God wants to use and give somebody visa.

Sigh.

This post is generally an introduction to what I hope will be be my major blogging project of 2016. I will also bash myself here, mercilessly, sure. Mostly I will be recording something for my grandkids to laugh and cry about. So these ramblings are my response to a descendant’s question of What were you doing during the madness of your age?

Next week.

Wait! I was featured in an anthology of a special Valentine ebook. You may download it here and enjoy yourself.

Tweets to @Oke4chukwu