Laughter, they say, is good for the soul. Even if such clichés did not exist, someone in Nigeria would have needed to manufacture them. Speaking of which, Peter Enahoro did write the book, ‘You Gotta Cry to Laugh’ first published around 1972. Variations of this statement can be found in: ‘If person no laugh, wetin person go do (If one doesn’t laugh, what would one do)?’ Or ‘I cannot come and go and kill myself (I can’t kill myself)’ These statements serve as coping mechanisms. Otherwise, what’s the alternative, right? I understand the yearning need to let off steam, as the alternative is better imagined.
Yet, I find it difficult to understand our seeming compulsion to reduce and trivialise every serious issue– sometimes bothering on life and death– to ‘bants,’ jokes, memes and gifs. People are even joking about the coronavirus. Another instance is the recent ban of keke (tricycle) and okada (motorcycle) from some Lagos State roads. One minute, people appeared to be putting pressure on the Lagos State government. The next minute, the issue had dissolved into jokes on social media and people had turned the forced walking into an event of jokes and ‘bants’.
One favourite joke was about Sinach’s ‘I Know Who I am’ with the bit “I’m walking in power, I’m walking in miracles…” being singled out. There were also jokes from government representatives, though unintended. Or what would you call a spokesman castigating his government’s citizens as been too lazy, if not a joker? What happens now?
We do really need to declare certain issues as being too serious to be joked about.
Imagine if this happens in Nigeria. The shock, if there’s any at all, would be fleeting. You can bet that this ‘awoof’ alcohol would turn to big business. If people can risk their lives to scoop highly flammable petroleum products from fallen tankers (conveying the products), can you imagine the luxury of having free alcohol flowing from your kitchen taps? Although I’ve just remembered that kitchen taps may not be so common. But still.
Firstly, if the Independent Electoral Commission has actually successfully de-registered these political parties, that might be one of the very few responsibilities the electoral body has undertaken that didn’t end as inconclusive.
Meanwhile, this so-called de-registration of political parties is coming at a time that is suspicious. No one can convince me that 90 per cent of these parties were not deliberately created to cause confusion. Remember how during the 2019 elections, one party, whose name was similar to PDP, had its logo changed to the PDP colours– a move that appeared aimed at confusing voters? Besides, who knew INEC had this much power?
So, Nigerians now need to be forgers, abi? You know if you replace the ‘g’ in forge with ‘c’, you’ll have force? It will then read ‘NOA wants Nigerians to force a united front.’ Why do we like to leave the substance, preferring instead to chase inconsequential things? How has a united front or the lack thereof caused insecurity?
There appears to be an ongoing campaign. Earlier on the same day, on a different TV station, Major-General Garba Wahab (retd) was a guest on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily where he pushed his campaign and blamed Nigerians’ ‘lack of security awareness’ for the insecurity in the country.
What’s the point of entrusting our security to specific people such as the service chiefs only to turn around and blame the rampaging insecurity on ordinary and hapless Nigerians for their ‘lack of security awareness’? Chamberlain Usoh and his other colleagues did try to push-back but he weaved and dodged the questions. However, I really think the issue is that it was Channels TV that invited him. Even if he invited himself, the station still accepted to host him and from his comments, he’s a regular guest.
Let’s agree that a united front from Nigerians would go a long way in reducing insecurity. Also, let’s agree for Nigerians to develop security awareness. Never mind that there are more pressing issues. The question still remains– what weight should we place on them in the face of crumbling security? For instance, the Abuja-Kaduna expressway appears to be controlled by kidnappers and the Abuja-Lokoja seems to be competing to take over in that regard. How do Nigerians forging or forcing a united front help with the rampaging insecurity on Abuja-Lokoja expressway? How will having ‘security awareness’ help fight the fear in FCT?