One Hundred Years of Servitude, By Victor Ehikhamenor

Victor Ehikhamenor

I am back from my very long and interesting vacation. No. Not to the Bahamas, or even Obudu Cattle Ranch. I went to a lovely Island called Mind Your Business, a small, yet beautiful, place that shares a border with None Of Your Business Island.

From there one could see Nigeria clearly and some morning, you can actually see the country unfolds a like caterpillar into a fragile butterfly. What was fantastic about this place is the magical nature yet realistic manifestation of life. Let me give you a taste of what I saw from this Island, what the Spanish would call maravilloso realismo.

Since the British yoked and panel-beat Nigeria together one hundred years ago we have been having miracles, yet none like this one that happened in 2013. Our very venerable first lady died and rose on the seventh day. This miracle led a lawmaker, somewhere in the riverine area of our country, to declare to the rest of us, doubting Thomases, that our risen first lady was actually the Jesus we have been waiting for.

Seeing that a heathenish citizenry was still in doubt, our risen first lady eventually lost her patience and declared that she is Mama Peace (English translation = Mother of Peace or Mother Peace). I think we are now fully converted and we get the point, let the worshipping begin. For those of you reading this and thinking, this is old news, well, remember Old Testament begot New Testament.

While in Mind Your Business Island, I watched as so many political grandstanding– in old and new ways. Honestly, I really want to stay away from talking about politics in my first article of the year. But who am I kidding, what else is there to talk about? How beautiful and hypnotizing the eyes of our Petroleum minister are?

We’ve already, collectively, agreed she is the Halle Berry of the current administration, so touch not our anointed. And the issue of how some enemies of progress almost rubbished the work our Aviation minister has been doing has been laid to rest. Phew! Nigerians are funny people, just ordinary two pool cars bought with corset change and we almost brought down a woman who has turned our airports from motor parks to world class aviation museums. Please people, we should learn to do the needful this year and pick our battles diligently.

Before we move on to other matters arising, I just want to know why political big wigs always want to drag ordinary citizens to their brawl? We don’t know the origin of these fights, yet when one of them is getting pummeled, ordinary Nigerians are called to help.

Sometimes we even hear battle cries like “We in power steal money because you people don’t stone us” or ”My private jet has been grounded and I can no longer fly” or  “My security has been compromised or “I am on a hit list o”.

Now let’s look at the above crisis/cries and see how they are not the burden of ordinary Nigerians like me.

Do these big men know that we can’t even call a policeman to rescue us when mishandled by an ordinary LASTMA officer in Lagos not to talk of when a president decides to show one of his governors a small lesson?

As for stoning thieves, how do you go about stoning a thief in a bullet proof BMW car? As for private jets been grounded, we wish we could relate to such grand problems other than the fact that we experience slight delays of two days or more when we are suppose to fly to an emergency meeting or attend weddings.

Do these big men hear us screaming when ordinary passengers get locked in an airplane cabin overnight by some of our local air carriers, whose names shall remain anonymous? We just sit tight, say the Rosary and fan ourselves with inflight magazines, which we must have read a hundred times over and over.

And for the many battle-fatigued politicians asking us to dabble into their fights or jump up and down when they write letters to each other, we have not forgotten that the last time we put our mouth in a major two-fighting matter, the big men did not invite us to their make-up feast where they fed themselves cake like newly-wed gay couples.

Where was I? Yes, the ongoing mass migration of PDP to APC is very interesting. Every time I hear a big PDP fish has swam across the Niger or Benue River to join the APC, I smile. And every time I see APC members jubilating and killing rams and goats like the prodigal son’s father when his errant son returned from squandering the family’s pension fund, I also smile.

Now, I am watching this Nigerianess unfold and I congratulate APC for acquiring major players and thinking this is how they will unseat the ruling party that still signs national cheques and dole out oil blocs like ice cream in a kid’s party. I doubt if APC knows that most of these defecting PDP members are homing pigeons, no matter how far they travel, they will always go back home when the time comes.

I thought I wont talk politics in this first piece of 2014. But you have to bear with me because I didn’t go to my village for Christmas as usual. This is because somebody stole my village’s Christmas. I would have reported this matter to EFCC, but they are broke and the little N284m they have has been earmarked for lawyers to prosecute multi-billionaire erring ex-governors, I don’t think they will have time for village matters. If you ask me, it is a good investment to endow this N284million to recuperate stolen billions. Except…anyway, lets move on.

What did I do this Christmas then? I followed my cousin to Nnewi for what the Igbos call Igbankwu – “wine carrying” marriage ceremony that also turned out to be “gun carrying” ceremony. I wanted to witness the legendary, much talked about tradition and it was a beautiful modern day Nigerian affair. And yes, the marriage ceremony was so grand that every ogaranya that attended the reception came with five to ten heavily-armed body guards in full Nigerian police or all our three armed forces uniforms.

Riffles and AK-47s were like ordinary walking sticks, that this event rivaled American’s National Riffle Association convention. At every popping of champagne, dance steps skipped and heads turned to look at the gun-slinging body guards, to be sure all was well. This seemed very normal to locals but my heart jumped and danced more than my feet.

I hope when our leaders cele-squander resources during our 100 hundred years of servitude ceremonies they will remember that many Nigerians are living in nervous conditions.

Mr. Ehikhamenor, an expressionistic painter and art photographer, is author of the brusque satire, Excuse Me! He writes, from today, a weekly column for Premium Times.  Interact with him via  his twitter handle @victorsozaboy or his website 

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