I was just wondering how to feed my two little dogs the other day, when wahala walked in dressed as a business idea. My wife wants to start a private zoo! I don’t know yet how she did it, but she’s already ordered an “online elephant”, from Kenya. I don’t like the idea but she just doesn’t care. Why animals? I asked. Why not? She retorted. “There’s money to be made in that business”! I’m not “hunderstanding” her again o.
Already, she’s sent all the maids away. My kids now share one tiny room. To create more space for her biz. The guest’s room downstairs is reserved for the giant animal. The smaller room near the dining room is for the chimps. The three rooms at the BQ, she said, are for snakes. Plenty snakes! All sorts.
Before now, madam hated animals. To show her disdain for them, she called me by the name of each animal whenever we quarreled. When I shouted: “Are you a dog?” When I dodged her questions: “You are a crab”. When I looked at another female while driving: “You are a he-goat”. When I sang in the bath: “Toad”. Or “cricket”! And, when she exhausted the names: “You are an animal”! I’m now hoping all that would change with the zoo thing. Well, since the N36m-snake-swallowing story, she’s been more accommodating. Now, she rarely calls me an animal. But should I rejoice or be worried?
Me: Baby, but why zoo? And are you trying to turn us all into animals by making us live with them?
Madam: Are we not animals already as it is? We’ve always been living with animals. It’s just that they’re becoming more sensible, creative and useful. Truth be told, some animals are now better than you, economically. They’re now the bread winners!
Chai! Not only bread. They win chin-chin, chocomilo, cornflakes and plenty money, too! See how we play in Nigeria? Animals now have more value and respect than man. These days, cows enjoy more protection than our schoolgirls. Chibok. Dapchi! Next? Herdsmen bear arms to protect the cows while the authorities play the “blind game”. In contrast, our policemen carry batons and torchlights. Rats operate from our presidential office and we all laugh. Our army adopt animals’ names to “dance” or “smile”, while we scamper for our lives. Most people now want to breed snakes so they can send them to JAMB offices. And possibly Central Bank to do the needful. And return with belle-ful! That’s why my wife thinks an elephant might do a better job.
We play too much in this our “obodo”, Nigeria. We play with politics, economy, security, health, development and all. When INEC isn’t playing “power game” with NASS over election sequence; CBN plays “recycling game” with lower denomination of the naira. As if the problem of Nigeria is either election sequence or smaller notes. If you like, fix election one year apart, some Nigerians’ll still vote. While some wont. Afterall, even if we all don’t, results will still be declared. What’s important to us is good governance deliverables, thereafter. And please, our problem isn’t N20, N50, etc., notes. Or coins.The market women and those at “unauthorized police” checkpoints and even religious churches reject them. Our problem is a viable economy. When the economy is stronger, the currency will regain its value, dig?
Sometimes, we wake up serious but end up ruining the day like Lai Mohammed’s dressing in Spain. A minister wearing jacket on top of kaftan is a Nigerian joke, manufactured in, well, Spain! We joke with lives; we joke with figures. When it gives us orgasm, we hail certain agencies as being the peoples’ conscience. But when it hits us, we deny and refute, react, rejoin, respond and all other “re” shall be added unto us. Then our busy-doing-nothing attention would be “drawn” (by an artist?) to whatever. For instance, Transparency International (TI), hitherto seen as a global authority in matters of good governance, says Buhari’s government is still low on corruption fight. In other words, he’s been playing with corruption, abi? Expectedly, they played around with figures. And the opposition PDP took over from there. Cited the alleged $25 billion “humongous sleazes” in NNPC; former SGF Babachir Lawal cutting grass with N570m; the unsettled cases of Adulrasheed Maina (erstwhile head of Presidential Taskforce on Pensions Reform), and Prof Usman Yusuf (of National Health Insurance Scheme) hitherto accused of corruption but “shielded” by the presidency.
We play with our people’s intelligence. When citizens are killed daily by insurgents and other society misfits, we claim none died. Then, weeks later, we play with the figures. Like in the recent Yobe students abduction. First, we were told no one was seized. Then, the state government claimed 50 were missing but had been rescued by the army. The police said 111 were missing. Then 110 was confirmed, more than a week after, by FG. In 2014, we joked around when the Chibok girls were taken. The army and the government, like in the Yobe case, gave initial conflicting reports: “None was abducted”. Weeks later, “Oh, hundreds were kidnapped.” So, why are we always living in denials – always in a hurry to refute issues only to admit them later? Why not gather facts first then do a diligent response? The criminals are using sophisticated weapons to unleash terror and we’re equipping our security agents with “stones? Leave the stones alone, man?! Jesus of Umuahia! Are we still in the stone-age?
Frequent denials and half-truths only betray governments’ devaluation of citizens’ lives. The government, in self-deceit, pretended Boko Haram had been “technically defeated”. Then, the army, in another show of self-conceitedness, claimed Boko Haram had been “completely defeated”. Then, “they” went ahead to withdraw protections around the school, according to Governor Gaidam. Now, it’s turned out both claims of technical or complete defeat of BH were mere jokes! See what playing with security has cost us. As an afterthought, the police and civil defense corps are to be deployed in all the schools in Yobe. Medicine after death!
We play too much, jare! Perhaps, to cover our inadequacies, wants, hardship, incompetence, etc. We played when a shipload of oil missed like our national budget once did. We joked when our satellite disappeared with the winds. We’ve been playing with fuel scarcity and price hike for about five months now. And the FG plays too much of the “buck passing” game! But while the authorities play, the nation suffers. The ordinary citizens weep. And some die “shuffering and shmiling” – yet in tears and pains. Or get killed in their prime. Like my grandma used to say, certain conditions defy lamentations and require laughter. Perhaps, that explains why many are becoming “comedians of the federal republic (CFR)”. But is anyone still laughing? I doubt. Not even those who accused the previous government of incompetence can gloat now. Life and living in Nigeria is no longer a joke!
Well, at least we can turn to Gov. Okorocha and his Ministry of Happiness for some “serious” governance. Like molding statues of snakes, monkeys and well, my wife’s “online elephant”! Yes nah! APC role models and achievers like Zuma (rock) must be well immortalized. You see, like my five year-old girl would say, “ I wee not play with you again”. Too much playing is ruining this nation. Government has to sit up and forget party rhetoric; lip-service patriotism; regional and religious sentiments; sycophancy and fake loyalty. Time we took citizens’ lives seriously. Time government worked the campaign talk; transforming high profile propaganda into concrete reality. Enough of hiding behind a finger!