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Lamentations of an Egbere

Barka da aiki, Madam First Lady!

Barka da aiki, Madam First Lady!

As if the doses of heavy weather the rainy season in Nigeria is pushing into our system is not enough, like the buzzing bee, Nigerians are still busy making heavy weather of things that either matter less or don’t count at all. When our youth gather, their discussion revolves around their sexcapedes, football and happenings in the entertainment world – no room whatsoever for any intellectually rewarding conversation. Our elderly men only think of how they can assume power and finally get to banish poverty from their bloodline, not minding whose ox is gored by their avaricious cravings. Our women discuss the latest fashion trends in town, ceremonies and gossip about matters they don’t have a clear picture of. Succinctly put, nothing seems to matter to Nigerians, save matters that don’t matter.

It is in light of this local reality that Nigerians have taken to the media to make jest of the kind gesture of a First Lady who was magnanimous enough to empower the women of her state with a weighty ten bags of pure water each. Why are Nigerians behaving as if they are lacking in the manners and gratitude on social media? What have those ridiculing the first lady done for their village people? In fact, what good has anyone in their lineage done for a fellow man? It is always the empty palm-wine keg that makes the loudest noise and asks what the country is doing for it rather than what it can do for the country.

I know Nigerians are not gullible but sometimes we allow our disdain and mistrust for our political elite to becloud our judgment. People were quick to cast stones at her without having a full knowledge of what transpired on that day, simply because they read something in print, backed up with a picture or two. I note with dismay the shameful reportage of some of our media outfits who allow their ineptitude to get the better of them and stop them from narrating the true state of affairs.

I have a feeling that this ten-bags-of pure-water story is likely one of such misrepresentations that the media employ to provide comic relief for many troubled Nigerian homes. Assuming without conceding in any way that the report is true, what is wrong with her gesture? What is wrong in getting people to start small in life? What is wrong in her attempt to get our women to be strong?

Upon a deep reflection on the Holy Bible, my personal familiarity with the reality that obtains in Nigeria and my expertise in Project Execution and Management, I would like to speak briefly on this and other miscellaneous matters closely-knitted to the issue at hand. I hope you don’t expect an expert of my high repute to be as brief as the godfatherhood of Oshobaba in Edo state, do you?

Biblically, we have been enjoined not to despise small beginnings. I am sure you must have heard stories of motivational speakers who started their businesses with a bar of soap and have gone on to be CEOs of multibillion-dollar multinational companies. Who would have thought that a shoeless Otuoke boy like Goodluck would rise to the Nigerian presidency back then? There are many stories of small beginnings out there that can inspire one to greatness. It is buoyed with the knowledge of the sacrosanctness of small beginnings that Her Excellency decided to test her fellow women with ten bags of pure water.

With hard work and determination, I assure you that virtually all the beneficiaries of the the first lady’s kindness will go on to own pure water producing factories. The outstanding beneficiaries will go on to earn the prestigious First Lady Merit Award. The parable of the talents is quite instructive.

Have you ever wondered what is clogging Nigeria’s wheel of development? The answer is simple — the desire of Nigerians to get rich quick. The politician that wants to get rich overnight milks the coffers dry. The trader that wants to fly private jet in a year’s time would sell substandard items at an exorbitant price. The youth that wants to tower above his equals reaches for the same manual as our compatriot that a friend calls “Designer Puppy”. What does that leave us with? It leaves a room in the dictionary for the word “Nigerian scam”. (Yes, you read that well. Check it up!) Despite our efforts and religiosity, we are regarded as fraudsters and drug-peddlers.

Her Excellency’s gesture is timely. She has been inspired by the heavens to minister to us in practical terms and give us the solemn reminder of starting small and making the best of the small things that our hands find to do.

Today, more than ever before, the existence of our womenfolk is dancing a mad combination of zanku and tesumole on a precipice. Perennial misogyny, callous rapists, brutal bandits, Boko Haram, corruption, poverty and poor maternal healthcare system have all marked them for extinction. No doubt, they need to muscle-up if they desire to outlive their foes. The first lady’s gift of ten bags of pure water is a welcome development in that respect.

Walking home with ten bags of water should be able to dry their boobs and broaden their chests. Hawking the water around would boost their stamina and agility and also develop the muscles of their lower limbs. At the end of the year they would have taken a form that would ring a bell of fear and panic in the heart of Anthony Joshua. I assure you that their foes would not want to cross paths with our gallant amazons. Who knows? Their regiment may even get to play a pivotal role in the unending war against the Islamic State in West Africa.

It is a common saying that persistent practice leads to perfection. Being kind has never been easy and no one is born with the trait.. However, it is with persistent practice that one can get accustomed to it. I am not saying she is, but who knows if she is only practising how to perfect her dexterity in kindness? I assure you that with constant empowerment with firewood, kola-nut, robes to tie their stubborn children at home; she may grow in generosity to the extent of empowering them with houses in Dubai and London.

I promised to be brief at the beginning. At this juncture, I’ll like to tell Her Excellency that her effort has not gone unnoticed. The committee of first ladies has been discussing her matter with envy and touting her for the award of the First Lady of the year 2020. We are grateful and pray that the good Lord repays her in kind. On behalf of grateful and well-meaning Nigerians, I most sincerely thank you, Madam First Lady. Barka da aiki and God bless you, Your Excellency.  

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is a Jalingo-based rookie lawyer. His preoccupation is meeting the needs of his clients. When that gets boring, he unwinds by writing. He is not a writer but on the few occasions that he is, he attempts giving sinews to the bones of his thoughts.

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