Bombastic element was the biggest weapon in my abuse Arsenal growing up. I can’t remember how I picked it up, not from a book, nor the TV, it most have slipped from a big person’s lips and I grabbed it and used it to judicious heights. I didn’t know the meaning of bombastic element (I still don’t) but it didn’t matter whether we were arguing in Igbo or Hausa the phrase was the tiebreaker, the knockout punch. I mystified my opponents, won so many banters.
Even when I picked up scallywag and nicompoo from Chike and the River bombastic element remained my favourite. It was more special because its vagueness added to its lethality. Anyone could check scallywag and nincompoop in the dictionary but bombastic element isn’t in the dictionary. A time came when neighbours and playmates began to borrow bombastic element without my permission so I upgraded to bombastic element of the highest lunacy.
Last week, like so many Nigerian weeks, saw so many incidents that could fill a book of ramblings. I didn’t feel like rambling this week but I just couldn’t possibly ignore the story of the man who beat his wife until he killed her. Before I dwell on this gory story I will say a few words to Lai Mohammed who suggested that Nigerian army of jobless should take up the dressing of masquerades for a living. Yes, you go to school with its accompanying hunger, insults, and frustrations, you spent a fortune, you serve in Nigeria’s border with Afghanistan with so many narrow escapes then you come out and a minister suggests you go dress evil spirits for money.
When I first read this, I thought Linda Ikeji was playing pranks, then I reread it and bombastic element dropped from my mouth. Yes, yes Lai Mohammed is a bombastic element and will go down history as the greatest abuser of the freedom of speech. He behaves like one who has been deaf and dumb all his life then woke up someday and discovered he has the ability to speak and he’s facing a dozen microphones, and he has to say something. So he began to vomit before them.
Imagine been introduced in an occasion as the CEO of Okechukwu and Sons Masquerades dressing Plc Limited Incorporated makers and decorators of all kinds of masquerades such as agaba, ogwugwu, adanma etc. Put your hands together for this great entrepreneur in the masquerade and juju industry. Yuck!
Thank you, Lai Mohammed, you are a genius. You know that the oil and gas industry is no longer the affluent haven so you’ve thoughtfully created a juju industry. Eshe. You see, a few weeks ago Lai Mohammed and his colleagues gave central bank jobs to their children, nephews, relations, in-laws, mistresses, girlfriends etc. No, you and I are not qualified to work in CBN. It’s for the rich, the connected and the spoilt. The police recruitment form is for you. That and masquerade costume and makeup. Or perish. Haha, Lai Mohammed, shame on you.
But come to think of it, no one takes Lai Mohammed seriously anymore (if ever). Not the president, not APC, not the opposition, not the press. In fact, the more I think of Lai Mohammed the more I doubt he exists. He feels so much like a character Cyprian Ekwensi created in a novel set in 1800.
That is Nigeria for you. A nation of bombastic elements. A nation where jerks made our laws, rule us, ruin us. Take for instance the grandpa who parades himself as the minister of agriculture. Audu Ogbeh. This man is so out of ideas that his only Agric policy is insisting on importing Brazilian grass for Fulani cows. You wanna use public fund we don’t have to import food for animals belonging to private individuals even if they are the president’s kinsmen. This is a country where only the ultra rich can afford fresh tomatoes, where more and more people are unable to feed themselves. But the minister of agriculture puts animal food first. Thank you, sir.
Thank you, sir. Ride on, if you don’t feed your fellow animals who will?
Assuming we can forgive public servants for being foolish like the above, Rochas Okorocha cannot be pardoned. There’s no mercy for inhuman wastage and polished propaganda in the face of raw wickedness. Rochas hasn’t paid workers in his state for four months, Imo State University is on strike but Rochas decided that the only way to solve this problem is to sack workers and prematurely retire many. And release one hundred and fifty press statements per hour.
Rochas’ only interest is cheap publicity and that cheaper stuff that he drinks which swells his belly like four months pregnancy. Rochas so so reminds me of the rich fool in the Bible. Whenever I read the parable I see the rich fool dressed in Rochas’ senator wear, seated with his potbelly facing the sky and his legs atop a gold table, laughing and saying My people, my people.
I must return to the issue of the fellow who killed someone’s daughter, someone’s sister and two kids’ mother. Kemi Adeosun who believes that being the minister of finance entails only the speaking of phonetics and good grammar, you have escaped me today. You and that roadside mechanic Oshiomole. I will tell you guys my mind one of these days but now I have something to talk about, a more human issue. Not the comedy you people run and call governance. And those dim-wits celebrating the signing of the budget five months late, may God have mercy on your souls.
So on Thursday night that begot Friday, while good men, bad men and ugly men and women slept or pretended to, a bombastic, Lekan Shonde was awake beating his wife Ronke until she died.
I am sick. I have little details of what caused the beating but it isn’t important. What is important is that a human life has been taken in the name of marriage. What is important is that millions of women are in the danger of being killed any moment from now. Yes, any woman whose husband beats her is only lucky to be alive: she’s lucky her husband is not as strong or determined as the beast Lekan or that she has a stronger constitution than Ronke. Or she has quick neighbours who usually rush to her rescue.
Nigeria, I have said before, is a nation of hypocrites. We cannot continue to wave go-and-marry banner before our aunties because they are “ripe” for marriage and pretend to be shocked when the woman is felled on the battlefield. Yes, so many marriages are battlefields, Hitler’s concentration camp even.
We cannot continue to push men to marry because they have a penis, thirty-something years in the age box and a few thousand naira in the bank. Marriage supersedes the possession of manhood, thirty years and money. It needs more than love or the confession of love. It has a lot to do with your maturity and the psychiatric result, yes psychiatric tests should be run before marriage because we’ve taken so many mad men and women to the altar.
The other day I was celebrating my narrow escape and you guys were laughing. It’s not no laughing matter. Once you discover you are married to a mad man, please run, run, run. Your life is more important than what the family, the church and the society would say. So many people have suggested harming wives with rat poison, pistol and knife. I would have suggested three months in prison for men who beat their wives but it can never happen in this country where the senate thinks gender equality is equivalent to prostitution and lesbianism. We are thoroughly screwed in this country.
I am tired. What can we possibly do to curtail violence at home? The question is how many women have a realistic place to run to? How many will happily watch their husband and breadwinner go to prison because he gave her three ordinary slaps? Forget the noise on Facebook, most abused women are not online. They don’t read blogs. They are busy in the kitchen, with the kids, working their ass off, earning some living. Those online do not talk about it. It’s washing the dirty linens outside. But you can leave, put your intellect to use. You can take a course on self-defense, anything dear, anything! Do anything to help yourself.
Meanwhile the police must catch the Lekan snake. If they have to turn Nigeria upside down to, they must. He must face the full wrath of the law. He must be and face the full wrath of the law. And the press and blogosphere must continuously hammer the news so much that would-be matrimonial murderers get a view of the future that awaits them if they dare.
I am outta here.