This has been an awful week. The Republicans decided to shut down the government in America. If you’re a government employee, it’s like going on leave without pay.
To make matters worse, my passport booklet was full and I needed to travel. Government workers take care of those things, which means I was out of luck. I would have slapped the person who forgot to remember to fix the passport if that person wasn’t me. But, I’m a Nigerian too and I hate to admit fault so blamed the Republicans.
I was so distraught I called my uncle Sal who has the answer to all of life’s problems. Although he is in Abuja and has no clue what the insides of an airplane look like, he can tell you how life works from Dominican Republic to Dominica’s bedroom in Las Vegas. And, he doesn’t even have a passport!
“Is that sadness I hear in your voice?” he asks.
“Yes, sir,” I lamented.
“You give the wrong girl belle?” he asked.
“Not to my knowledge, sir,” I replied.
“So, what’s your problem?”
“The Republicans have shut down the government.”
“Shut down government? Obama no get duplicate keys or which kind gate be that.”
It took me a few seconds to absorb that. The all-knowing uncle Sal did not know the American government had been shut down. Worse, he didn’t know what a shut down meant. This is one of those historic times you absolutely have to know where you were and what you were doing when something happened. I looked at the clock, snapped my picture against the street sign and filed it away.
I decided that I must teach Uncle Sal something in this lifetime.
“Uncle, a shut down is when the Congress refuses to fund the government,” I began.
“Like when David Mark and that Tumbler guy refuse to pass the budget?” my uncle, ever the quick learner, asked.
“Exactly. So, what happens is that government workers go unpaid until the whole thing is over,” I continued.
“Just like our civil servants, huh? They work and are lucky to get paid. Yours are unlucky not to work and don’t get paid,” he reasoned.
I had no clue how to answer that so I just moved on.
“This always happens when one party is in the White House, like the Democrats and the Republicans are in the House,” I told him.
“Ah, so this is like PDP and APC?” he asked.
“I doubt it,” I replied unconvincingly.
“It’s the same thing. You democrats can never agree on anything. PDP can never agree on anything except there’s a lot of money involved. APC will never see anything good in PDP but go to their states and sometimes, you need to cover your eyes and nose,” he lectured.
It seemed like Greek to me and he must have noticed because he continued.
“Can’t the president just send them some serious dollars in Ghana must go bags and let the party go on?”
“This is not Nigeria O, uncle. People will go to jail for that.”
“Haba! God, in his infinite wisdom, created Ghana must go bags, why not use it?
My Uncle Sal is always wise. I wonder if Obama is thinking the same thing. Then, I quickly realized this is not Nigeria. I drank a bottle of water and washed the thought out of my system before the IRS knows what I’m thinking.
“You know that your America is not different from our Naija,” uncle Sal continued.
I had to draw the line somewhere. This was it.
“Uncle Sal, this is not even comparing apples with oranges. It’s like comparing kai-kai with water,” I told him.
“You and your over-sabi,” he began, switching his English to something the Queen would understand because he thinks I will understand better too.
“What has Obama done that the Republicans are pleased with? They wanted better life for Americans. Obama gave them affordable health care and they hate him. They said the economy is dying, Obama restores it and they say it’s luck. Your debt is flying through the roof, Obama say raise the debt ceiling they begin abusing him. Do you ever think why they don’t like him?”
“Because he’s half-black,” I replied knowing where my uncle was going.
“Half-black! If I can e-slap you right know I would have given you a backhand and a front hand. There is nothing like half-black. If your great-grandfather is black and everyone else is white, you’re black”.
I wanted to tell him he was wrong but you don’t argue with my Uncle Sal when he’s on a roll.
“It’s just like Nigeria. You know why they don’t like Jonathan,” he asked.
“Because he’s black?” I proffered.
“Well, he’s sure is not half-caste,” he replied. “It’s because he’s an Ijaw man. They say he speaks like a bushman yet the man has a doctorate degree while people bashing him did not even go to the school they claim they went to. They say Patience is too powerful yet their wives and children are in the Senate and House. They say we have to redefine Nigeria, Jonathan gives them national conference they say it’s a gimmick. See wetin I dey talk?”
“Still kai-kai and water, uncle. I don’t see how…” I began.
Then, the line went off. Not sure which network was array. Nigeria or America.
Kindly follow the writer on Twitter @iam_ose
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...