It’s the season of promises in the air, again. It is that season when Harmattan dust and winter snow, ordinarily oceans apart on account of almighty visa, meld into the unpredictable hearts of maidens. In my neck of the wood, the season signals the return of “abroadians” wearing fake gold plaited dog chains, speaking uncooked variants of ghetto slangs picked up in the hustle, come home to woo, wed and abandon desperate damsels on the fringe of fancy inspired by the ephemeral prospects of going and living “abroad”. Once upon our romantic narratives, their mothers and aunties married their dreams resident in England (in particular) on the persuasion of photographs snapped with Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square as iconic background. This generation displays a proclitic to all things Asian – and as such, returnees from Indonesia, Malaysia and Euroasia sell like hot masa in Bauchi. Like all things Made in China, these promises frothing on the rim of wine kegs last only as long as the effect of the palm wine imbibed at the traditional marriage wine carrying ritual, lasts. Oh, it’s the season of promises in the air, again.
On the national scale, it’s the season of promises in the air as gladiators take to the arena, kissing the earlobes with ecstasy induced by phantasmagoria. As they jostle and reposition with promises to capture and re-establish electoral supremacy, their sugar raps litter the streets in the form of forlorn posters, gutter bound to clutter the sewage drain. How can I believe and trust promises made by wanna-be leaders who spend millions convincing me of their every intention to keep their words based on their well-positioned gele, zanna caps and smiling faces on posters only to have such “pre-nuptial persuasion paraphernalia” discarded without a thought once the race is lost and won? I take my heart seriously and so toasters should beware what they say to me as they mount the soapbox. Raping the environment by defacing street directions, street light posts and corporate billboards with posters of out-of-this-world promises that put Heavens to flight is not a way to win my heart, especially seeing that the resultant litter tells me that you just don’t care. I have been told that in self-respecting societies such as Canada, by law, each candidate and their political party have one week to clean and clear up their campaign posters and signs or pay a fine which increases on daily basis as the clutter lingers. Bingo! This is how to deal with those who promise level playing environment and who hope they would be elected to domesticate public happiness and purpose fulfilment when the very environment of their implant is the first victim of their whispers in the dark. Let me add that while that Canadian law is worth borrowing, offenders out here should include churches with their posters that are left flapping in the wind of broken voices.
The Power Factor in Nigeria enjoys riding roughshod, empowered by the squad of chaotic do-gooders and defenders of the injured dignity and rights of the nebulous downtrodden paralyzed by its sense of helplessness and powerlessness. And so, our defenders who have become our voices, tell us what they believe we need to hear and make promises ephemeral. This Christmas, let’s have something tangible as we Nigerianize the factors. So, here’s my five- point Christmas Wish List towards taking back my voice and creating a Nigeria that resonates with promises that can be kept by all.
· Dear Smiling Face on Poster, when you get there, promise me that you will sign an Executive Order deleting State of Origin/Indigene/Non Indigene and Religion from our national dictionary. We have mingled enough on this journey to be sure what we are, what is private and what should be in public domain. We have been married long enough to know our goals and how we want to achieve them. Enough of the blame games – the colonialists have so long gone we should be ashamed making them the X factor to our Nigerianness. Promise me something tangible for Christmas by firming up our common narrative as one nation bound to one destiny, subject to one green cover passport. Let’s be Nigerians who happen to reside in a State or the other, paying our taxes and contributing to the growth of our nation, wherever life finds us.
· Dear Smiling Face on Poster, promise me that you will sponsor a bill (and follow it through to becoming a law) that cements our multicultural diversity by encouraging State sponsorship of inter-ethnic and cross religion marriages. To Nigerianize our Nigerianness is as simple as the National Youth Service Corps experience mandatory for all graduates of Nigeria’s tertiary institutions. When youths meet up and experience the unique differences of our rich varieties, it follows that a mingling and tangling would arise. The logical conclusion is to bring the dream of unity to fruition by supporting such intending couple with one year feeding allowance, post marriage. WaZoBia and Obinna Musa Abdulkarim should be ubiquitous moniker of our Nigerianness.
· Dear Smiling Face on Poster, lives matter. Every life matters. Every life is important not only to the owner but also to those connected to that life. Every life, therefore, should be protected. So promise me that you will support the preservation of every life under your watch, especially when the demon of religious riot rears its Medusa head. While smiling at the dotted lines, please sign into law, the prosecution of any Governor under whose watch lives are lost in the guise of religious crises. Let it be further added that such a political juggernaut, whose profile has been so tainted, will not aspire to Aso Villa if he could not protect lives and our Nigerianess in his little enclave.
· Dear Smiling Face on Poster, make the Nigerianization factor count in the lifestyle of the very important personalities you appoint into government positions. By such appointments, these eminently qualified Nigerians are front-liners of our national values, especially as they are well paid to be front desk officers for the things that matter to our aspirations. As such, please promise me that you will support the prosecution of all government officials, whose children study abroad. If Nigeria is good enough for you to be one of her leading lights, it ought to be good enough for your children to be integrated into her home grown values. Think about it.
· Dear Smiling Face on Poster, the wealth of a nation is inseparable from the use to which it puts the skills and transferable domestic technology of its populace. In other words, productivity and manufacturing lies in the oft neglected, people oriented skills and not in the boardroom of corporate offices greased by oil. And so I urge you to proclaim a national indigenous school uniform project for all public schools in the nation for starters. As my toaster, you must know how passionate I am about this, having written on it earlier and still holding onto it tenaciously.
Give me something tangible for Christmas this year so that we can ensure living happily ever after by Nigerianizing our prime factor which translates into pride in Nigeria oiled by commitment to our Nigerianness.