The year is 2101. It is the dawn of a new century that has brought with it flying cars, talking animals, sentient robots, and a thriving republic of men on Mars. As always, ‘Geria, an underdeveloped country, sits quietly on the chest of Africa like a giant nipple. And like the male nipple, it is not an actor in this new era’s advanced system.
Once thought to be the continent’s heartbeat, pumping blood to the veins and arteries that needed life, ‘Geria has become one of few members of a new United Nations classification known as “endangered member-states”. The Security Council has been making moves to annex these countries to their better-performing neighbours. In the case of ‘Geria, the Benign Republic is a top candidate.
Experts have come up with tons of theories about what really contributed to the downfall of a once-promising nation, but one explanation stands out above all else: The discovery of ‘Nobody Holy’.
No one knows exactly when this discovery was made, but historians say it should be in the early years of the 21st century. It was like the discovery of crude oil all over again in the way it brought joy to the hearts of many a ‘Gerian. Like crude oil too, it changed the fortune of the country for good (as in permanently, of course).
Only two words, but this combination of sounds into letters and of letters into syllables is unique to ‘Geria and has huge power people previously didn’t know existed.
Some say it was forged by an ancient sorcerer out of the last remnants of icing on ‘Geria’s national cake at the point where River Niger meets River Benue during a full moon. Some theorise that it was discovered by American scientists who then sent it to Nigeria as an experiment just like the Ebola virus, or that the words were carved onto the grave of Sani Abacha by unknown aliens. Others even suggest it was birthed after an unusual intercourse between a Marlian and a Tacha Stan. ——But regardless of what version is true, ‘Nobody Holy’ made its way to the hearts and tongue of all ‘Gerians, old and young, male and female, and everyone in-between. And that was when things started to fall apart.
Corrupt men became more corrupt and those thought incorruptible soon evolved to be the foremen of embezzlement.
Impunity increased to dramatic proportions as court-o-phobia for politicians became a thing of the past. Offices of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission were colonised by weeds. And those still in use were converted to soccer betting centres and brothels. Persons who were ever charged with corruption simply waltzed into the courtroom, shook hands with the judge and prosecution counsel, and shared the booty with everyone.
It all started with those two, innocent-looking-but-highly-poisonous words: Nobody Holy.
At first, it was a taboo. Anyone who dared utter the words was banished or at least ostracised. He or she received the same treatment as did gay people in the dark days or non-non-binaries in the new era.
But, gradually, Nobody Holy became the catchphrase of every blessed ‘Gerian. As the American Dream is to the United States and ‘Long Live the Queen’ used to be to the United Kingdom, so was Nobody Holy to ‘Geria. It drowned the national anthem and the national pledge and (eventually) the national cake.
Not a day passed by without the words ringing through the air in every corner of the land. Toddlers chanted it in school. Choirs sang it in church. And even the heads of state made it a refrain in their Democracy Day speeches. “I may have failed you after eight long years, my fellow ‘Gerians, and achieved absolutely nothing from my campaign promises, but as we all know, ‘Nobody Holy’,” one of them famously concluded in 2025, as the people echoed his last words.
Fraudsters who drove foreigners into suicidal thoughts and manic depression through their evil ways were celebrities back at home because of the newly invented Nobody Holy philosophy. And as they went to mosques on Fridays and churches on Sundays to give to the lord, the lord’s agent could not possibly refuse the goodwill because, “As you know, brethren, none of us is holy.”
Lecturers who prowled proudly for vulnerable campus damsels and then preyed prayerfully on them, cold-blooded professors who roamed the cold room for fishy business transactions and specialised in female anatomy also had ‘Nobody Holy’ topping their trending vocabulary. “It was the devil” soon became unfashionable and the new magic phrase did all the trick.
“Nobody really is holy,” they often muttered self-righteously as their spectacles relaxed on their noses the same way they forced young girls’ bottoms atop their laps. On hearing these words, those previously having doubts about them regained their sanity as they perfectly understood the logic of how the fallibility of all men equalled the non-culpability of any man.
Also, people who complained about the lack of basic amenities 23 out of 24 hours in a day, who abused themselves because of traffic and bad roads, and harassed themselves with ugly generator noises because distribution companies refused to distribute electricity, would become soft as semo when the policymakers arrived in their flowing agbadas and babarigas. At the town hall meetings held once in 10 years like national censuses, they would murmur to themselves, as they pocketed beautiful brown-skin envelopes, that, “Besides, nobody holy… If some of us get there, we would even do worse.”
Simply put, the words were nothing short of a wand that allowed people to justify the most atrocious of crimes. Terrorists could get away with genocides, assassins with murder, armed robbers with violent theft, and the president with daring to take a second wife. The aftermath was disastrous.
And so did the once-promising Federal Republic of ‘Geria begin its descent down the hill of decency and relevance. Immorality took centre stage. Corruption sat comfortably on the iron throne. And no one gave half a hoot until it was too late. Nevertheless, no one took the blame for the historic fall of Africa’s giant.
After all, nobody holy.