By: Akin Oseni
In Nigeria is God’s plenty. But how much do Nigerians know of such divine blessing and benison upon the fatherland?
Mind not the media grumbling, the mumbling and the rumbling over the state of affairs. The Ruga debate. Poverty. Kidnapping. Banditry. And their most recent recurring siblings: anointing rape and executive assault. All those are Brechtian elements that make a perfect plot in an absurdist theatre like ours.
Imagine the exponential rate at which events overturn events, stories stumble on stories and scandals surface on the heels of scandals — to the delight of quick-witted observers who are literally and literarily catching the jokes.
So who needs a Canadian visa — an exile into some foreign land of lasting boredom? Being a Nigerian, you are born too great and too blessed for that exercise of flooding the embassy and waiting for hours, only to get a ‘Nay’ stamp from one blond-skinned woman who only mumbles some unintelligible phrases through the nose. Wrong.
You see, you really need no travelling visa. Why searching for greener pasture when our national fabric is already made of green? You need no job either (Nigeria is not assuring you one, after all) to survive the country’s drama. All you need are a nose for trending gossips, sharp sense of humour, a functioning and functional smartphone and a network that is smart — indeed and not only in wording. Then, of course, you must be an active citizen of the Twittersphere for maximum enjoyment of the country’s theatrics.
Because here, in Naija, is where ugly narratives culminate in dark comedy, in mockery of national troubles.
Start with the COZA thriller — the sub-plot of protest and counter-protest in Abuja. A group of ladies and men faithful to the randy daddy G.O, it was reported, had hit the COZA church to protest against the anti-rape protesters. Their argument? It is profane and blasphemous to drag the body of Krest…oh no, of Christ in the in petty and muddy allegation of rape. But while the Lord was busy attending celestial matters, the earthly foot soldiers had deemed it fit to come in defence of His anointed. ‘It is not the body of Christ we are dragging in the mud, it is a serial rapist we have come to drag to the prison,’ the other camp protested. Matter laid to rest.
Then Winter is …ops… Pardon! the BBNaija is here — that ostentatious TV reality, the one that gets you piqued and sometimes, forces you to self-criticism, for the four to six years you spent at the University when another — a wiser — compatriot is coasting home with N60 million worth of rewards — for appearing vulgar, lewd and loud before the camera for ninety days. The reality of our humour or the humour of our reality, you say?
Most of the inmates — oh sorry — I mean housemates, report says, are more American than Trump or more British than May. They talk in rustic (rhotic rather) accent, to the displeasure of their less-fortunate Nigerian audience, most of whom have not been to the airport and who fancy a domesticated and real Reality Show. A friend told me how he had thought one of the housemates was calling the first name of the Ghanaian poet (Awoonor) when she was indeed saying ‘I wanna.’
Enter the Nigerian media mob. They have taken to Twitter to challenge the organisers on why those that went for the audition — jumped fences, climbed walls and ran a marathon in Lagos did not make it to the House. Savage. But a friend privileged to be close to the publicity head of the BBN crew, but who does not want his name in print, has confided in me that BBNaija Season 4 has actually been designed as a two-phase event: The Reality and The Show. He said the runners, the jumpers and the climbers in Lagos were for the Reality, and now, the London and Yankee returnees are in for the Show. Simple.
What of the sexy senator Elisha Abbo, the youngest senator in the country and one of the beneficiaries of the curse (I mean the cause) of Not-too-Young-to Ru(i)n? Caught in the CCTV footage, his eminence was seen bashing, whacking and cursing a lady attendant in a sex shop. The lady’s erring: not attending the revered senator and his accompanying paramours with respect, using a phone while his lordship talked, among others. The drama has got Nigerians talking and calling for the head of the poor senator, even after a video apology.
Trust the gossip verve of Nigerians on social media. Some of them have twisted the tale and digressed from the main matter. A fellow was asking on Twitter why the senator needed to shop for adult toys, when he had those three paramours already in attendance. ‘It is the evidence of the strength and virility of the Nigerian youth we have been yearning for in our politics,’ replied Born Savage, another Twitter user. ‘The Not-too-Young-to -Ru(i)n movement is paying off,’ he added.
Meanwhile, an age-long associate of Senator Elisha Abbo who goes by the name Kamuzu Banda has aired his opinion on the allegation of assault and humiliation levelled against the senator. He said the bashing and battering of the lady attendant was the senator’s way of promoting his side hustle. He added that there is an unwritten law that every member of the Red Chamber must have a side hustle, to be cited as a revenue source in case of any misappropriation charge by the meddlesome anti-graft agencies.
‘I am sure you know Senator Melaye is a born songwriter, (former) senator Ademola Adeleke is a dancer, the incumbent deputy senate president (Ovie Omo-Agege) is a UTO (Union Tax Officer) aka Agbero. For Elisha Abo, it is kickboxing,’ he added. He pleaded with Nigerians to treat the matter with clemency, and that they should temper justice with mercy, especially at the Social Media Criminal Court, SMCC.
In other news, Dr Dame Patience Faka Jonathan aka Mama Peace is, again, in the news. Chai! This time, not because of ‘the blood they are sharing’ in the country. No. It is something else which is capable of forcing the devil to tears. Mama has just forfeited to the federal government of Nigeria, a startling and mouth-watering sum of N9.2 billion and another $8.4 million, which they say are the proceeds of grafts that characterised the President Jonathan shoeless regime.
But the typically vociferous Mama Peace, through her lawyer, has contested the charge saying it was unfair and slanderous for anybody or group to allege her of looting since nobody has declared any money missing from the coffers of the government. The former first lady was particularly referring to those impetuous busybodies, who have flagrantly tagged her the female specimen of the former military dictator, Gen. Sanni Abacha — in the business of looting and laundering.
Some noble-hearted Nigerians, who saw sense in the first lady’s argument that she should not be tagged a looter since no money is missing from the government’s treasury, are planning to apply the same logic in defence of the former head of state, General Sanni Abacha. A group called Association of Right Fighters for the Oppressed Deceased (ARFOD) has been commissioned to advance the cause of exonerating the former head of state from the hitherto looting charge.
Using Mama Peace’s syllogism, the Secretary to ARFOD, Mr Fatoks Mai Coza, said the group will justify the innocence of Gen. Sanni Abacha through their lawyer in the court. He said they will also negotiate a return of the money recovered from the deceased since over a decade to the Abacha family, and perhaps request damages and apologies from the federal government of Nigeria and the people, for the allegation of looting against the late General, since no dime has been declared missing by the country.
These are the few of the narratives that have made Nigeria the humour capital of the world in recent weeks.
So, with these and many more on the way, who really needs a Canadian visa?
Akin Oseni is a teacher and can be followed on Twitter, @akinomooseni.