Something is not right, mother. It’s the morn of Mother’s Day, a day I should be giving thanks that I didn’t swim down the toilet sink almost fifty-three years ago. Or, do we go back to conception three years earlier? I should be listening to Nico Mbarga’s “sweet mother” but I find myself shaking my head sadly as Sunny Okosuns’ “Which Way Nigeria?” plays on the old gramophone.
I’m shaking my head because that song is almost 30 years old but it’s as true today as it was back then. Back then, the military had just taken over to right the wrongs of the politicians. Turns out, they will rape the country blind for another fifteen years. Then, they came back as civilians and the rot continued. You know that Fela song about “N2.8b” that grew wings and flew away? That would be an insult to today’s gifted looters.
Sorry for the digression, mother. I am so confused I don’t even know if a simple “Happy Mother’s Day” will suffice. I always reserve the endearing notes for your birthdays. But, even that confuses me. You have the worst set of children a woman can hope for. They spit at history and think the constitution is a substitute for toilet paper.
I’m not sure what day you birth day is anymore. Growing up, it was October 1st. I remember because we used to spread our clothes under the mattress for days so they look impressive like those of those spoilt kids from Army Children School during the Independence Day parade. My uncles said it was once January 1st but then when their fathers chased out the British, they junked it. I hope you’re sitting down because I have a joke to tell you. Your khaki kids, the very enemies of democracy changed it to May 29th and called it Democracy Day. And, the politicians have embraced it. So, you must understand my confusion.
I hope you’re having a great day so far because I’m about to ruin your lunch. I don’t know what your view is like from up there but down here it’s just gloom and doom. And, when it’s not, the politicians angling for power lets us know that gloom and doom is around the corner.
You sure have an interesting womb, mother. You got all shapes of kids tumbling out and turning the land into one huge drama. You got kids screaming corruption up the hill but down the coast, they wiped their domain clean. You got kids praising God on holy days and licking butts on all other days. You know that tale you used to tell about humility, how Jesus walked barefooted. I have no clue what he was thinking; his representatives down here are flying around in private Jets.
You big son here, the head boy in the big house on the hill, is in trouble. Big trouble. See, he has to keep his job in two years. But, he has a pack of tigers, lions and ants all clawing at him. I don’t think anyone of them is better but I know most of them are bitter. His biggest problem is, he can’t do anything right even when he does it right. He has a pack of communicators who seem versed only in communicating with the mute.
But, the one that baffles me is that up near your neck, there is a raging war for the soul of the north and the heart of the nation. It’s not a disease but it fast becoming an epidemic. Scores of people have died and properties worth billions of naira have been lost. No one seems to have an answer to stop the raging fire. Now, your boy in the big house is reluctantly floating something called amnesty. Some of your other kids have warned that it would be like funding a group of mostly foreigners who have vowed to destroy Nigeria. They may be just right if it’s not done properly. And, you know in Nigeria, doing things the wrong way is like a national past time.
Sometimes, I wonder? What are you? What is Nigeria? When I was younger, there was this small river that people in the village believed gave barren women kids. Those who claim they’ve seen the river goddess said she had hundreds of breasts and her millions of children fed on them.
When I think of you, I wonder if it’s several kids sucking from the breasts of the same mother. Or, just several kids sucking the life out her. Today, the Nigeria of the dreams of the nationalists is on a deathbed. The nation is torn into several ethnic bits. The only time people come together is when they’re in opposition to the president. Then, they go home and tear each other to bits in the gossip corners.
Sometimes it’s hard, mother. Your good kids suffer from the sins of your few bad children. People sling mud at you abroad. Back home, your kids cut out new breasts from your body every day so they can suck you dry faster. How do you do it, mother? How have you managed to stay alive despite fifty-three years of wastage?
But, you know what – when they ask me, who’s your mommy? I never hesitate and I think I’m prouder every day to say, “Nigeria”. Happy mother’s day.
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