Friday, November 20, 2009

Our Gods Must Be Crazy!

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This is “Pack a Punch” FM Radio transmitting from Onipetesi, Agege Motor Way, Eko Akete, to all the concerned people of Niagara both at home and in the Diaspora. We are now suspending our regular programming to bring you Broken News, the latest cliches as compiled by our editorial team led by Kashmir Igbokwenu.

Thank you, Amaka Abodehreen. Our research team has discovered for the umpteenth time that Niagara is a broken record and it remains stuck in a perpetual groove of oddities. What we see every day as new problems are really not. They are, indeed, recycled headaches. Most happenings and talkshops in a particular year are a repetition of the issues discussed in the previous years. What we say today is what we said yesterday, and what we are going to say tomorrow. We talk of corruption in the valleys, in the plains, on the plateaux, on the mountain tops and even in the crevices of our leaking skulls. That’s no news. The only breaking news is that yesterday’s 10 per centers are no longer in power, having been replaced by 90 per centers because inflation has made a mess of their illicit gains. Corruption is what the Okirika people call the snuff of mercantile trade while the ngbati-ngbati people call it the “agunmu” (tonic) of business. In a few words, corruption is the key to wealth in “stone-age, modern” Niagara. No need for hard, honest work. The poor continue to sweat it out in the burning tropical sun waiting for a roasted harvest from heaven. But their harvest is not forthcoming! Yet they have to pay their tax. They borrow to pay lest the tax men frog-march them to Kirikiri ... shouting lefu rete, rete lefu (left right, right left). And the powers that ought not to be but are, do not give a damn if the masses continue to writhe in pain until they succumb to abdominal paralysis. Sadly, nobody cares. Well, to care is to create breaking news. Every year we also regale listeners with persistent stories of political crisis in almost every local government area, state, geo-political zone and the general capital territory which is gradually graduating into a centre of excellence in “cosmopolitan corruption” or what the frustrated “shattered” accountants call “a melting pot of creative accounting”. Religious crisis is a must every year with its attendant rivers of blood and the usual government’s promise that it would never happen again. But we all know that before the gun smoke clears, another uprising must have erupted over an “infidel” wearing a pair of jeans and shaking her bum-bum two kilometres close to a mosque. Our country’s tale may not be that of an idiot but it sure signifies lack of collective wisdom. Every year government promises 6,000 megawatts, MW, of electricity but what we get in return is 600,000 MW of darkness, scandal, shock and pain. The Power Holding Company of Niagara, PHCN, remains perpetually on standby while generator sellers open new bank accounts every year where they tie down our hopes of ever getting adequate power supply in fixed deposits. With the sadistic support of the powers that ought not to be, they roll over our troubles year in, year out to yield more interests of pain for the masses. The only breaking news is when there is a flicker of hope for one or two hours in a neighbourhood and innocent children run wild with joy shouting, “Off NEPA! Off NEPA!” And true, true, before anybody could say, “Let there be light,” the brief sunshine has been turned into darkness. Bad roads are a recurring decimal in our mathematics of ineptitude. How about water? Every year, ordinary Niagarans get their supply of drinking water through street hawkers who sell “iced water tutu” to a hapless, dehydrated nation. The more privileged ones spend a fortune digging holes in their yards to look for trapped water underneath the earth’s surface.

At this juncture, we have to pause for a public service announcement. After it, Kashmir will continue by reading an extract from one of his random musings, which is relevant to the issue being analysed. …

Thank you, Amaka. I remember writing that piece in a moment of abject frustration. I believe our country was running out of ideas and it appeared we were all doomed because what we are witnessing every day, every week, every month and every year is a vicious cycle of hopelessness. Instead of things getting better for mother-witch, she is busy producing more female children, thereby piling witches upon witches. Apology to our female listeners for the gender-insensitive proverb. Yes, as I was saying, the editorial news analysis I did bears some relevance to this current issue and I quote. “As someone who discusses (the nation’s) problems at different fora, I’m beginning to have constant headaches now. Year in, year out, the same problems keep recurring. Most comments and editorials in the media this year are a repetition of the issues discussed in previous years: Niger Delta crisis, cement and fertiliser scams, water and electricity problems, poor and dilapidated roads, railway and aviation contract fraud, election manipulations, pipeline and tanker fires, et cetera, et cetera. They only have different pegs and headlines.” I wrote that analysis last year (see Pack a Punch, July 27, 2008). If you go through the same analysis and compare the content with what you have this year, there is little or no difference. Next year, it’s going to be the same. It will be the same problems of political gangsterism, “myturnocracy”, “kleptocracy”, “militancy”, “kidnapocracy”, “adultnapology”, “subsidiology”, and so on and so fifth. What then do we do? Some have suggested a peaceful revolution, the kind of revolution that will change the mindset of the people from docility to positivity. But this is no breaking news either. We have heard this before. Magazinefuls of grammatical bullets.Aluta continua! Aluta continua! Everybody has been saying it but nobody wants to use his head to break coconut for others to eat. The country has remained a country of ‘anything goes.’ We have become local dogs that eat any rubbish thrown at them! Even the national anthem has been condensed into a popular chorus: “You eat your own/ I eat my own/ 50-50 no cheating. Potential heroes have been amputated and consigned to the wheelchair of national disorientation. For instance, Balarabe dared the lion in old Kaduna State during the Second Republic with his people-oriented programmes and he was eaten up by a ferocious, blood-sucking mafia. The same hydra-headed mafia forced another revolutionary governor in the same state to throw in the towel, despite his awe-inspiring military accoutrements. Kongi, the literary wizard, tried with his plays, poems and pantomimes but ended up lamenting that his is a wasted generation. True, the country continues to waste away its potential because the ultra-right wing rebels have continuously captured the national beef. The powers that ought not to be have turned Niagara into a giant anthill of the savannah where “monkey ants de work and baboon queens de chop.” Yet the masses continue to grumble and do the same thing the same way and expect a miracle! The gods must be crazy!

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