Obituary: Comrade Garri (1300-2017)

Garri is dead. Garri is the latest victim of the locomotive destroyer we call change. Garri, gone! Garri, the defender of the broke, the student companion, the official first-aid of the Republic (OFR), a friend indeed; Garri, the minister of defence, the Prince of wails,  the calmer of storms, dead.

Garri is dead and there’s total silence. A powerful comrade, saviour and supporter, is gone and we are silent. Murdered by this regime,  yet no outrage, no black dress, no tears, people are going about their businesses (or pretending to) as if nothing happened.

I won’t take this.

Someone once said that noodles have done more for this country than the national assembly. Absolutely right, he is. But not just noodles; so many things, the list is endless, have done more for us than the national assembly. Including kiwi polish, generator, twitter etc.

On top of the of the list, for me, is Garri. Garri. Garri, in a voice that rustles. Garri had been saving lives since our fore forefathers first walked this land as hunters and gatherers. Garri was there when the first Obi of Onitsha emerged from the sky, Garri was there when the Benin Empire ruled South of the Niger, Garri was there when the Alaafin of Oyo shot those arrows in the four corners of the world. Garri preceded the Sokoto Caliphate, Garri, Right Honourable Garri, was our first foreign exchange before the white colonialists decided humans were better cash crops.

Garri, the history of our nation was written with Garri. Lord Lugard had a bowl of soaked Garri with sugar and coconut the day he woke up and decided to amalgamate the southern and northern protectorates of King George the Fifth. His girlfriend, Shaw, had a spoonful of Garri in her mouth when she called the new country Nigeria.

Garri was served during the first meeting of the first political party in Nigeria, the Nigerian Youth Movement, founded by the erudite Herbert Macaulay. During all the constitutional conferences from Richards to Macpherson, Garri was the only item seven. When, in 1953, Enaharo moved the motion for independence Garri was before him. in fact, he was inspired by Garri to make such seminal move.

During the Second World War, when Nigerians fought for the British in India and Burma, Garri was the key player. The appearance of a Nigerian soldier full of Garri in his stomach and grit in his eyes was enough to send a battalion of Japanese soldiers scampering for safety. Garri practically won the Indian-Burma Sector of the war for the Allies.

Garri survived the painful civil war, survived the directionless rule of Gowon, survived the free for all loot that was the second Republic; Garri survived the first (warning) coming of Buhari, the IBB disaster and the lethal insanity of Abacha; Garri not only survived the return of civilian rule Garri ruled in Aso Rock.

Below is the video of President Obasanjo gleefully enjoying Garri.

Garri was honoured under Obasanjo. A scarcity of sugar towards the end of Obasanjo’s regime nearly started a nationwide mutiny. A song emerged, in Hausa, ‘Obasanjo drank Garri without sugar/Who told us this?/Atiku told us’; that was sugar (the companion of Garri) scarcity, not Garri, Garri scarcity was unthinkable.

Garri survived the onslaught of noodles.

Then the APC comedians came with their brooms and the rotten change. And Garri died.

I won’t take this.  

Garri, Oh, Garri, my grand old friend, a handy substitute, my personal assistant during my university days. Yeah with 50 naira in those days one can drink Garri. 10 naira tin cup of Garri, 10 naira tot of milk, 10 naira sugar, 10 naira groundnut and 5 naira cold pure water; you get five naira change! But today, under this change you need roughly 200 naira to soak and drink a decent Garri. Minimum Wage in Nigeria is 18 thousand. 600 naira per day. So you need one-third of your daily pay to drink Garri.


This is wicked, this is a humiliation of a national hero, a founding monument. This is the greatest injustice to befall the common man since the Slave Trade. Taking Garri off the table is a declaration of war against life, against survival, against prosperity, against humanity. The whole world must rise up to this Garrious genocide. First, they lied to us that Garri causes Lassa fever. We didn’t buy so they snatched it off the table. Evil ones. Terrorists of the commonchop. They took Garri away!

Comrade Garri would be missed. Garri doesn’t discriminate, it goes with moi-moi, it goes with coconuts, it goes with biscuit, it goes with German stones, it goes with groundnuts, it goes with cashew nuts, it goes with joy, it goes with gratitude, it goes with happiness; and they took it away.

Leave me, let me cry and mourn the demise of the founding father of Nigeria. He who has never drunk Garri before let him cast the first stone of dissension at me. I hereby declare the next seven days for the mourning of Garri. Flags would be flown at half-mast. Nobody must eat meat or have sex (now this one would cause trouble, but I insist, I declare every zip shut—there is a national padlocking of skirts and trousers as we mourn the departure of our great ancestor; loosening of bra strap is not permitted). Everyone must don black and black all through. There is a dusk to dawn curfew. By six o’clock everyone is expected indoors to weep and mourn the Great Loss; and all our airports, seaports and land borders are slammed shut.

Anyone who disobeys this order would be taken to Ijebu-Ode to farm cassava and produce Garri for seven years. You have been warned.

Pass me the bowl.


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