Act One, Scene One
Young and old Nigerians alike know so much about the politics of their country. You’d be amazed at how much a 5year old Nigerian can tell about Nigeria politics. You don’t have to be educated/very intelligent to narrate the ordeal Nigeria has gone through in the hands of her corrupt leaders. You would conclude with the usual question: Is there hope for this country? Even diaspora-born Nigerians can give you a precise and concise history of Nigeria, from independence till date; that’s history lessons at work. Their parents did a good job.
Nigerians can never stop talking about Nigeria. It overwhelms us to the point of suffocation. Whenever I and other Nigerian friends decide to meet for a get-together with some Non-Nigerians, we end up monopolizing the gathering and talking about our woes. It’s even worse for diasporic Nigerian-born Nigerians. You’d actually think we’d get to Europe and at least have peace of mind! Hell NO! Nigeria becomes an un-buried corpse whose ghost haunts us everywhere!
Last week, we had another Nigerian Friends’ meeting. We almost ended up punching one another. That’s actually how aggressive we are when we argue. I must tell you, there’s no difference between a female and a male when it boils down to this menace called Nigeria. We actually had the get-together to eat Egusi soup with Griess, listen to some Nigerian hip-hop music on YouTube and maybe accompany it with some Nigerian dance-steps. Alas, it never came to be!
We ended up talking about NIGERIA; the recent tragedies and some changes we could effect from our convenient fort. An option could be to simply turn a blind eye. That way, we might just not use our internet again. It turned into an aggressive session with insults hurled at one another. It was with pain in our heart, tears running down our face, convulsive anger wracking our body.
Act One, Scene Two
I am very angry, I am actually very very angry as I write this piece. I am tired of logging into Facebook to see beautiful young Nigerian women with bodies exposed to the world. They seem not to care a bit about their future. I have no problem with their bare flesh, overly beautiful dresses and faces wrecked with make-up! Looking at pictures on Facebook reminds me of this joke “the paint (makeup) on a typical Nigerian girl is enough to paint a duplex and a half”.
An attempt to see through their perspective is bedeviled with huge sums of money spent on makeups and Brazilian hairs. Three hours before a mirror is an outrageous time to justify! Imagine this might even be in the morning! Well, how else would they attract rich guys who shall guarantee financial security in an insecure Nigeria!? They care less where these guys get money.
*Seriously, who started this idea of wearing wigs and when did it become ugly to leave one’s natural hair on the natural head? Hmmm…I have to calm down. My anger is at boiling point now.*
You see, that’s my problem, I always try to view a topic from different perspectives. I hope I don’t go crazy one day from all these sociological analyses.
Act One, Scene Three
Sincerely, I want a better Nigeria. I feel pity for those who hardly can afford three meals daily. Hawkers who have to sell their wares in the scorching sun everyday. I am so sad for kids who didn’t ask to be born into Nigeria but were born all the same to suffer and are still being born. I am sad for thousands of graduates who do- and cannot get a job.
I am sad for religious fetishism, which has taken over Nigeria. We ask God for the slightest things, even those we are entitled to. We have to pray to God before we embark on a journey. A father has to hug his wife and kids in the morning because he’s not sure he will see them in the evening. We have to confess all our sins before bed, for who knows a Nigerian aeroplane might just mistakenly veer off its route and decide to make a fatal stop-over on our roof. Another horrible way to die is this: a petrol tanker might just overturn its content behind our house, catching fire big enough to kill everybody who run too late!
You see, I get scared when a Nigerian number calls me. Why should I not be scared? Who knows what bad news to spoil my beautiful day the person is about feed me with?
Just three days ago, mother told me of an accident on our street. A car veered off the road into a house killing 2 kids and injured the other 2 kids in the process. What if it was my home, and our prison-like fence was not strong enough to safe us. I am so sad.
I once saw a comic picture. A Nigerian boy held a Nigerian flag. He said waving the flag, if on judgment day God denied me entry into heaven, then I would tell God he simply can’t do that! I have been to hell already, I deserve to make heaven!
On my bed, I burst into a very sad laughter. Nigerians are sure to find a reason to laugh even in a very sad situation. The comic relief was effective.
Act One Scene Four
I was born without a silver spoon; I am from an average Nigerian family; educated and we could afford what we wanted, sometimes with little stress. The little stress went up by a notch when father died in a car accident. That senseless accident! The bad road! The trailer! The sorry driver! To avoid potholes, he swerved to kill father! When father died, the sad driver was sorry! Yeah, you heard me right! He was SORRY.
The word SORRY is genetically Nigerian. When you want the law of the land to work, the custodian of the law are swift to remind that “the driver was SORRY! What else would you want from this remorseful poor man?” Then this: “Thousands die everyday! Your case is not the first. It is not the last! Get over it!”
Gbam! That was the judgment! We were helped to get it over with by that shameful fiat declaration from the law. It was time to move on, Nigerian-ly!
Act One, Scene Five
Talking of back-up plans, the Nigerian girl has enough to survive a Tsunami. One is to marry a well-to-do/rich husband. I guess that explains the senseless and suffocating things we adorn ourselves with. I know you ask: Why should we not over-dress? How does that connect or cause Nigeria’s woes and predicaments? Exactly these questions remind me of Legendary Fela Anikulapo Kuti- *Shuffering and Shmiling*.
Ask these questions and your connection/cause to/of Nigeria’s insurmountable problems becomes crystal clear: (a) When did we become so obsessed with clothes, fake hairs and makeups that make absolutely impossible to tell what colour of lips is typical of a Nigerian girl. I guess we beat a chameleon in this regard. From one fake-hair to the next, hopping from one rich man alias *aristo* to the next who would foot the bill of the latest Brazilian hair if not the latter? (b) When did it become ugly to grow your natural hair? (c) When and how did we sink so deep we define ourselves only by these things? I can go on and on, but I will spare us the stress.
Take it or leave it, the Nigerian guy grades a big girl on the kind of hair she buys/wear on her head. To him, a young woman must act stupid to be intelligent. The intelligent girls do not help matter either. They would gladly be stupid because the society want them to be. The maxim- if you cannot win them, join them- becomes the order of the day. Every intelligent young woman wants *a crown* for her head- they call it home- as if they must be stupidly humble to get a good/blessed home/marriage. By the way, did I tell you marriage is the greatest height of achievement a Nigerian woman can boast of?
Seriously, the Nigerian society is so immersed in shit, one doesn’t know which shit to clean-up first. We all talk change. We all advocate for change. We all castigate our leaders. We want them to emulate the West, at least the good sides of the West, but we forget very quickly the people are the government and the government is the people.
Our wants and desires are direct consequences of the society we live in. Here is a side to it: Why would you do *all* to buy a wig you never can afford? Your financier of expensive Brazilian hair would definitely have to get that money *at-all-cost* to foot the bill of your excesses! Remember, money does not grow on trees. Most times, he got the money corruptly to pay for your lusts! Voila! No wonder we all must be married! By fire! By thunder! In Jesus Name! I’m so stupefied! There is a label to match this desperation: *Street-wisdom!*. How we so arrogantly parade this wisdom!
I Am Not Done Yet…
Here is another in-thing- two to five boyfriends for a girl because she is best advised not to egg all her hopes in one basket! Chai! How deep have we sunk! A friend once wanted me to *link-her-up* so far the link is rich! She wanted a *chop-part-of-his-money*. I wasn’t surprised actually. This is not an uncommon request in Nigeria. Ladies, bear me witness here for once!
I only laughed and consequently ignored her.
Fact is this- money is our singular measurement of love and friendship in our world. Lobatan!
In Nigeria, I am a weirdo. My *scary* ideas and thought-provoking discussions are simply impractical. Living in Nigeria, scarcely would anyone be seriously interested in me because I simply become *the-impossible-type*.
I weep for Nigeria.
Act One Scene Six
Here in Europe, one can easily identify a Nigerian. We love to brag about that so much. I don’t have a problem with that. I’m actually happy whenever someone asks me if I’m a Nigerian. I don’t feel insulted when a stranger wants to confirm if I’m a Nigerian due to my restless body carriage, boisterous confident laughter, discussions accompanied with interesting exclamation marks and biting sarcasm; all these always in a loud voice. I feel real insult though when you tell my Nigerian-ness because I dress and live so flamboyantly/lavishly. By the way, the person with the most expensive car in my city is Nigerian.
Yes, Nigeria is a migraine no medicine can cure, for now. However, until we straighten our bow-legged desires, myopic thoughts and ideas, we simply should and cannot claim a genuine interest in the Nigeria debate. We remain part and cause of this unfortunate migraine. Action speaks louder than voice!
I want to hit my bed now. It would be helpful to keep the migraine at bay, at least temporarily…