Nigeria: Awoofed into Coma
Anthony Chuka Konwea, P.E.
Overture: – Now of all manners of people created by God, a statistically super-significant quantum of Nigerians count among the most wily, the most impudent, the most irrepressible and the least amenable to discipline. On a very rare occasion, the Creator himself came down from heaven to dwell among men in order to check on their progress. Uninvited, a Nigerian swaggered off towards his Maker and declared. “Did thou O God not decree that we should feed but only from the sweat of our brows?” “Yes indeed” replied his Maker, “I can see that you are overfed. Look, your cheeks are puffed out, your bones are creaking from the weight of your massive girth, oily fat is dripping off your skin and you can barely stand erect. What have you done?”
“Well I have faithfully kept your commands O God” retorted the Nigerian, “for did you not also say that to those who have, more shall be given and from those who have not, even the very little they have should be taken from them?” “Really?” exclaimed the Mighty Creator in utter consternation, “in the entire house of Adam over these millenia, I have not seen such cunning, such dexterity in the ways of the world quite like this.” With great difficulty for he had become very rotund indeed, the Nigerian straightened up, rubbed his hands together with glee, preened himself, flicking off imaginary dust here and there from his immense corpus in anticipation of the praise which he perceived was imminent.
Overwhelmed with a sense of uncommon accomplishment he said, “you see those mugus scattered all over the place,” then with an expansive and arrogant wave of his hands, “you see those idiots tarnishing the beautiful landscape you have given our country with their squalor, lazy fools who do not know their left from their right and have nothing better to do with their time than to murmur, grumble, write insulting articles, slander, maim, rape, kidnap, bomb, slaughter and then afterwards sleep with one another, breeding like pigs, well from the sweat of their brows I have been eating of awoof!!!”……….
1st Movement: – Even as the hands and legs of a vast majority of Nigerians are engaged in a vicious, no holds barred, take no prisoners style Olympic scale jostle to see who would claim the bragging rights of having climbed highest on the ever growing ‘Mount Corruptus,’ their mouths are busy condemning its looming and overarching dominance of the national landscape. It would seem that those who make the loudest noise nowadays about our unseemly and undignified national charge on the mountain are those who have missed their step in the climb and found themselves falling from the forefront of the charge to the middle of the pack or well beneath.
The strange thing is that even as Nigerians assault it, the mountain keeps on gaining height. Available records show that around 1980 or so, the estimated height of Mount Corruptus was 2.8 billion naira (the local currency). Around the time of the First Gulf War and the oil windfall which accompanied it, if my memory serves me right its height was 2.0 billion US dollars. This is not much of a gain if we remember that around 1980 the naira was almost at par with the dollar. Last year the height of Mount Corruptus was around 3 trillion naira roughly 20.0 billion US dollars. Now that was a gigantic gain in height.
If that gain was massive, wait until you hear its current height. From quasi-official Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) records, this year’s estimated height of Mount Corruptus is now conservatively put at 50.0 billion US dollars. For the sake of balance however, this should be qualified by noting that in typical Nigerian style of jab-and-duck or deliberate obfuscation, this height has been watered down by the CBN governor to a modest 12.0 billion US dollars! And the persons leading the charge at this stage of the competition? Well I am too far below on the ground, surveying the footprint of Mount Corruptus’ for posterity’s sake to see the contours of their faces clearly, so we might as well call those persons the ‘thieves-in-charge’ of the climb.
I am not a fan of climbing static mountains not to talk of growing ones. In fact to tell you the shameful truth, I nurse a phobia for heights and would never dare to climb atop the Plateau hills in Jos, Nigeria talk less of tackling Mount Kilimanjaro or Mount Everest for all the money in the world. That is why even as my compatriots seem to have all adopted mountaineering as the new national hobby and conquering Mount Corruptus as their ‘raison d’etre’ as well as their ‘choix du mode de vie’ (choice of lifestyle), I am quite content doing my work assiduously on level ground. Yet even as a disinterested, and some of my critics would say cynical onlooker, I cannot help but murmur a prayer or two for the ‘thieves-in-charge’ that they do not miss their steps. You see it is one thing to fall from a height of fifty or hundred billion naira. Some Nigerians who fell from that sort of height are now worthy guests of Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom in London.
For the sake of completeness however we must admit that some other Nigerian guest of the Queen was so unimpressed by Her Majesty’s hospitality that he left London in a hurry. In his haste he forgot that he was dressed like a woman complete with head scarf, blouse, inner and outer ‘lapa’ (wrappers), brassiere, ear-rings, lipstick, eye-shadows, pan-cake, ‘curtexed’ finger-nails, high-heels and matching hand bag. He has for long now been reunited with our local starch, banga soup, ‘point–and-kill fish’, ogogoro (illicit gin), crayfish, and choice lobsters which he is better accustomed to. The last time I checked he is not doing too badly.
However it is an altogether different thing to fall from the sort of heights Mount Corruptus has recently attained. To fall from this type of height would be spectacular in the sense that the energy generated when the falling body hits the ground would be so massive as to trigger an earth tremor in its wake that could send the entire mountain complex crashing down on everybody including majority active climbers and minority passive bystanders without distinction.
Yet I have come to realize that it is futile to continue appealing to the current thieves-in-charge of the charge, who in any case do not give a damn, to desist from climbing up but rather to voluntarily climb down as we have been doing in vain all this while. You see the nature of mountain climbing is such that even if they wanted to, they cannot climb down unless and until all the hordes massed beneath them at various levels on the slopes of Corruptus voluntarily climb down starting from the lowliest.
And that is where the problem arises. Mountain climbing is like ladder climbing. The unspoken etiquette of a ladder climb which is aborted midstream is ‘first to go up, last to come down’ or turning it around its head, ‘last to go up, first to come down’. Ladder climbing etiquette dictates that those at the lowliest level of the climb must first of all climb down and make way for the thieves-in-charge at the peak to come down. Or how else do we want them to come down?
The problem however is that almost the whole population of Nigeria is massed on or about Mount Corruptus. Many are already at different stages of the ascent. Others are trying feverishly to get a foothold so as to commence their own ascent. All without exception have an unswerving and unshakeable desire to get to the peak one day. Climbing Corruptus is truly our national calling.
Do we honestly think the people at the top are fools? They know we are trying to trick them to abandon their hard won lofty heights so as to replace them hopefully with our kinsmen who should be more favorable to our own personal climbing ambitions. All this, while the climb continues apace to even greater heights, with themselves shunted aside. You can see therefore that the recent outcries of erstwhile thieves-in-charge who were compelled to step aside is not borne out of patriotism but pure jealousy and envy.
And so we have been misdirecting our appeals all this while asking these people at the top to climb down. Climb down through where? Our trenchant appeals are impracticable and clearly run against ladder etiquette. The real governor of the ladder chain, the one who solely decides how long the ladder chain stays up is the person at the bottom and not the person at the top. If the man at the bottom is determined to get to the top and the man at the top is not ready to commit suicide by jumping down, the ladder chain must stay up. However once the man at the bottom decides to climb down, he is no more in the equation. Ladder control instantly shifts to the person immediately above him on the ladder chain and so on and so forth.
Just the other day one of the rank climbers of Corruptus said and I paraphrase him here, “the reason why we high ranking people are corrupt is because Nigerians are not ready to hurl stones at us”. Well said but again this is impracticable. Another ladder climbing etiquette is that you must mind your step while watching that of the person immediately above you. If you attempt to throw a stone when you are already climbing you will certainly miss your step before your stone leaves your hand. Throwing stones is hardly possible since an overwhelming proportion of Nigerians are hell bent on climbing up.
The other alternative left is to stop Mount Corruptus from growing and possibly dismantle it and reduce it to a mere hillock at worst, or a flat ground at best. To dismantle it we must first of all identify what powers its growth. In nature, the only mountains that grow are active volcanoes like Mount Vesuvius in Italy and their growth comes from hot lava under pressure forcing itself up from the bowels of the earth.
It will be easy to draw a parallel between the growth of Nigeria’s Corruptus with that of volcanic mountains like Vesuvius and conclude that Corruptus’ own lava is the black gold of the Niger Delta i.e. crude oil. But that analogy while having immense merit may be too simplistic. For at the heart of Nigerians’ charge up Corruptus lies something altogether more sinister and more deadly and it is this. Nigerians whether from the north, south, east or west, be they Christians, Muslims or pagans, whether they are young or old, be they male or female are mostly hooked on the same thing – awoof!!!
2nd or “Slow” Movement: - The etymology and orthography of the Nigerian word ‘awoof’ are shrouded in mystery at least to this writer. Where and how did the word originate? Is it native to any indigenous Nigerian language? Or is it one of those lingos like ‘sabi’ (to know) used in phrases like ‘I no sabi’ (signifying I don’t know) that crept into the Nigerian vocal firmament presumably from freed slaves or did it come back with returning soldiers from the Burma War (of the 19th century) when some Nigerians fought for the soon to unravel British Empire? Remember Boma- (Burma-) boys? As a footnote, it is this writer’s opinion that sabi is derived from the Spanish word saber (to know). A Spaniard might say for instance ‘el no sabe’(he does not know)!
Being supposedly a purely Nigerian word, what should be its correct spelling? Should it be spelled as awuf or awoof? The sound is the same but since the former spells a bit too crudely for my liking, I would go for the latter any day. Some might argue, why bother giving a crude practice an unmerited whitewash? Well the answer is this. In ordinary Nigerian usage, awoof is a noun. But as you may have noticed from the title of this piece, once we begin to stretch its use to make it function as a verb or adjective or even adverb, the latter rendition spells more elegantly.
But first things first. As engineers would say, let us start from first principles. Let us attempt a definition of awoof. Remember God Almighty’s curse on Adam after the Great Fall – ‘by the sweat of thy brows thou shall eat?’ Well awoof is the very antithesis, complete subversion and utter abnegation of that biblical injunction of hard labor coming before satisfaction. Awoof simply defined is trying to reap what and where you have not sown. Any benefit you enjoy that you did not obtain legally, morally, ethically and honestly is awoof. Any advantage that you enjoy illegitimately, immorally, dishonestly or unethically because of your situation is awoof. Anything you did not plan or work for that just falls into your laps is awoof. Some may say this latter type is good luck, divine awoof or blessing from above. Call it what you may, awoof it remains still.
Divine awoof can be in the form of a special talent or an inheritance or a resource endowment for instance. This type of awoof is neutral in the sense that it is the use to which it is put one way or the other that makes it positive or negative. If properly and wisely utilized, divine awoof multiplies, increases productivity and becomes a blessing. On the other hand it can be misused to multiply indolence or other forms of abuse as we have in Nigeria today. Then it transforms into a curse. That is the difference between the often contrasting fortunes of the landlord’s son (nwa-nwani or omo-onile in Igbo and Yoruba languages respectively) and the immigrant tenant’s son.
There is also man-made or corruption-powered awoof. This is the type prevalent among Nigerians. You see it manifested in all types of luxuries the beneficiaries enjoy from magnificent houses to luxurious vehicles to private jets. You see it in padded bank accounts and blue-chip investments. This type of awoof is mortal or morbid in the sense that the beneficiaries are almost inevitably consumed by it at the end. As a phenomenon, morbid awoof is peculiarly perched at the intersection of greed, selfishness, impatience and indolence.
In the interest of thoroughness I must add that there is another form of awoof which like divine awoof is neutral in nature. This type is condition-induced awoof. This is the type of awoof enjoyed say by a Nigerian who having spent all his life in Nigeria racked by lack of electricity and other deprivations, suddenly finds himself in an industrialized country where there is 24-hr electricity supply, for 365 days in the year. This might mean nothing to the citizens of his host country being what they are used to from birth, but to the Nigerian coming from a harsh background it becomes a (past-) condition induced awoof. Again like divine awoof, how condition-induced awoof pans out depends on the use to which it is put. It can be used as a spur to greater productivity or a call to greater indolence.
Returning to corruption-driven awoof, which we shall refer to henceforth simply as awoof since it is the most significant of the three forms of awoof enumerated above, its morbidity stems from the following key defining features. Firstly it is highly addictive. Secondly it is highly debilitative. Thirdly it is highly intoxicative. Awoof is a harsh task-master. Once you have lowered your guard and allowed yourself to be seduced into crossing over the threshold of its lair, it is nearly impossible to escape from its clutches without divine help. Many of our compatriots need precisely this sort of help.
Once you are governed by something that is at once addictive, intoxicative and debilitative, you are already possessed by the devil and may God save your soul. This is the sad situation in which a super-significant proportion of Nigerians afflicted with the Acquired Awoof Dependency Sydrome (AADS) currently find themselves. Sadly apart from divine redemption there is no known earthly cure for AADS and the prospect of one is not in sight. No sooner are AADS victims separated from their vantage positions, and thereby no longer able to get their daily fixes of awoof largesse than they begin to show serious Awoof Withdrawal Symptoms (AWS) which range from inciting calls to violence, tribalism, terrorism, religious strife, political infighting, or open petition letter-writing etc.
It is amazing that for such a professional activity which ‘productively’ occupies a vast majority of Nigerians, there has been no attempt, at least none that I know of, to formally codify its tenets and norms. Here then are the 10 laws of awoof which is basically an awoofster’s Code of Practice, an awoof beneficiary’s Code of Ethics and an awoofer’s Code of Conduct all jumbled into one. Please note that an awoofer is a novice in the art of awoof while an awoofster is a consummate practitioner.
Rule One: – Grab and gobble as much awoof as you can and as fast as you can before it is removed from your mouth by an awoofster higher than you. You may eat with all your limbs, but make sure even at the risk of certain death that everyone around you eats something even if it is only a tiny morsel. That way they shall all be committed. Remember he who eats alone dies alone.
Rule Two: – Even while you are eating awoof, prepare your defense in case you are caught on duty. Every professional awoof–eater should have a well packed bag of evasive tricks – just in case. Never be tongue-tied or flat footed when caught in action. Nigerians are very skillful at this. Two people, a married man and a married woman were recently caught greedily feasting on each other’s corporal endowments in a secluded bush somewhere in South Eastern Nigeria. The woman claimed (she may be correct) that she was being raped by the man a professional motor-cyclist who she had chartered to convey her to only the devil knows where. I am not an eye-witness but the woman may have convinced her rescuers that her moans of pleasure where in fact tearful cries for help.
The man on his part claimed that this tryst had been going on for ages and that when they got to their favorite spot, the woman stripped herself naked, placed her wrapper on the grass, laid herself on it and invited him to ‘come and eat of her awoof’. The police were quick to charge the man with rape, ostensibly because out of the two, he is the more likely to supply awoof. And by the way that is how law enforcement works in Nigeria. The more likely source of awoof is charged with the more grievous crime.
Rule Three: – Never leave your post unattended. An awoof eater never goes on leave or takes a vacation. Remember that a parasite never leaves its feasting spot except it falls away dead. Sudden grogginess and a slight loss of concentration on your part is all it takes for another person to dislodge you and take your place at the awoof table permanently.
As a consulting engineer practicing in Nigeria, one of the indignities we had to endure in those days was to go from one office to the other seeking patronage. Time that could have been more productively spent sharpening our technical skills was spent cooling our hot heels in the waiting rooms of Ministers, Commissioners and Directors. Time that is irretrievably lost. And after wasting our precious time these awoofsters have the temerity to complain that Nigerian engineers are incompetent as if that is how our so-called competent colleagues are treated back home in their own countries!!!
Any way I digress. Back to the issue at hand. On this day I got into the office of a particular Director. The man looked funny to say the least. Something about his appearance seemed incongruous. His skin was sallow and wrinkled. His jaws were sagging but his hair looked pitch black as if it had been smeared with coal tar. As I entered I immediately sensed the man was agitated.
“I hope everything is okay Sir” I ventured after a while. “Don’t mind those useless people” he replied. “They have gone to convince my boss and he has approved that I should proceed on accumulated leave. Can you imagine that, after all these years he is saying I should go on leave. To add insult upon injury that my useless assistant, you know the one that draws his trousers (pants) up to his navel and wears long bogus ties, he has been scheduled to act for me. What does he know by the way? He will mess up all the things I have been doing here. I will show them who the real boss is. Anyway remind me of your file number so I can treat it before I tie-up (he actually meant tie-down) these other files. Nobody will touch them until I am back.”
In a failed attempt at sycophancy (yes, sometimes these things are more difficult than we care to publicly acknowledge) I made the fatal mistake of blurting out: “Ah but that is good news Sir. At least you can go and rest a little, play with Madam and then afterwards attend to the children….” The smoldering look the man gave me was enough to frighten the devil himself. I beat a hasty retreat but the harm had been done. He promptly announced to me “You see I am very busy right now trying to clear my desk. I was only trying to help you. Your file would have to wait until I come back from leave!!!”
Rule Four: – This is a reinforcement of Rule One. Make sure all your supporting staff are AADS positive. Remember an AADS negative person cannot work in an AADS positive environment and vice-versa. This law is self-explanatory and merits no further elucidation.
Rule Five: – Always obey the awoof eaters’ principle of ‘omerta.’ Even till the point of death, never lodge a complaint or testify against a fellow awoof eater even when he has outwitted you. Even if you see others eating awoof and you are not invited never report them legally. Else you will open Pandora’s Box and your past awoof activities may be exposed as well. Like Dillinger the reggae toaster advises in his “ruffer” version (‘See and blind’) of the reggae legend Johnny Clarke’s ‘Nobody’s Business’:
“If you are walking down the road….you see a lickle (little) sign on your left…..do not slack….You are fi go (should) hasten your step….See and blind….hear and deaf…..Then you will have no regret…”
Rule Six: – When you are addressing your subjects, do not give a damn even though you know that they know that you know that they know that you know that they know what is really going on. Remember when foolish parasites-in-positions (pips) read their annual budgets and think that they are deceiving the people, they are only deceiving themselves. For when a pip says we have budgeted X amount for public works, Y amount for the health sector and Z amount for the educational sector, the people yawn. In their minds they know that what the pip is really saying is ‘we have budgeted 90% of X as awoof in the public works sector, 90% of Y for awoof in the health sector and 90% of Z for awoof in the educational sector. They are yawning because they want you to cut out the theatrics and tell them what their own share of the awoof shall be.
Rule Seven: – When Nigerians complain that there is no development going on, do not mind them. Tell them to count their blessings. Point out to them the ornate mansions dotting the cities and intricate country-homes blighting the countryside. Draw their attention to the bullet-proof limousines zipping around the urban centres and do not fail to tell them to look up and see the high powered private jets darting around in the skies. Point out to them that these developments are the offshoots of awoof and tell them to be patient that these offshoots shall soon trickle down to everybody.
Ask them why they need security when everybody shall soon enjoy bullet-proof cars and bullet-proof outfits? Query them why they need good roads when everybody shall soon be airborne. Reassure them they don’t need hospitals since every one shall soon be flying out by themselves to Germany for medical care and finally advise them they don’t need schools when everyone shall soon be awoof-empowered enough to be able to open their own private universities to award multiple honorary doctorate degrees to themselves.
Rule Eight:- Whenever foreign governments complain about the criminal 419 activities of Nigerians, do not bat an eyelid. Do not forget that awoofsters and 419ers are blood brothers with common ancestry on the same family tree. Tell them point-blank that 419 is simply reverse-awoof or awoof-on-awoof or better still our own local budding awoofers out-awoofing foreign amateur awoofers.
Tell them that awoof is our culture here in Nigeria and it will be against our peoples’ fundamental human rights to stop them from exporting their culture or testing themselves against foreign competition in order to sharpen their skills. After all the world is now a global village. Remind them that Americans have exported their culture of Valentine’s Day, Halloween, as well as gay rights to our country and that we have a right to export awoof to other countries as well. After all what is good for the goose is equally good for the gander.
Rule Nine:- Be good to other awoofsters on your way up so that they may equally be good to you on your way down. This is self-evident and needs no elaboration.
Rule Ten:- Make sure you join an all awoof association aka political party. In terms of awoof it does not really matter whether you belong to the ‘retrogressives’ or to the progressives. In the end they are all basically the same much like the Pharisees and the Sadducees in the Bible. Where they differ is that the progressives eat their awoof while going forwards, while the retrogressives eat their awoof while going backwards. For either group their main reason for existence is to catch and divide awoof.
3rd Movement: - A few years ago, the Nigerian government embarked on a public relations exercise to whitewash Nigeria’s image at home and abroad. After bursting some awoofable public funds presumably running into tens of millions of naira, a new national moniker was launched with appreciable fanfare. My memory fails me here but if I remember correctly, the moniker was something like “Nigeria! Beautiful country. Beautiful people.” Well Nigeria may well be a beautiful country, but beautiful people? Hmmmmmmm!!!!
If America is the land of endless opportunities, then a more befitting moniker for Nigeria is surely ‘land of endless awoof.’ And from all corners of the globe they are coming, Europeans, Americans and Asians alike to grab their own share of Nigeria’s seemingly inexhaustible awoof, in concert with their local agents. Even right now, Nigeria is witnessing the reverse-emigration of her community in diaspora many of who are now trading foreign lands of endless opportunities for the newly emergent land of endless awoof.
The Nigerian intelligentsia to which I presumably belong by virtue of education, stands historically accused of intellectual, scientific, technological and artistic cowardice as well as abject failure to provide moral leadership to the masses. Future generations shall rise up to condemn us for failing to provide leadership by exemplary conduct but also of abandoning all we learnt at school in order to participate in the crazy national awoof-fest thereby becoming slaves of awoof.
Instead of joining hands with fellow members of the intelligentsia from all corners of the country to fashion a way of lifting Nigeria out of the economic, scientific, technological, artistic and moral doldrums we have at best joined in the crazy struggle for awoof or at worst retreated to become tribal, regional or religious champions. Indeed the tribe is the first resort of the awoofster threatened with consequences. It is also the last resort of those manifesting chronic awoof withdrawal symptoms now seeking a way back into awoofable positions.
Nigerians like to pride themselves as religious people. In truth Nigerians are perhaps the most idolatrous and insecure people on earth.
Up north, some of our compatriots worship the god of religion. What kind of love for religion would make a man set upon his defenseless neighbors and fellow country-men and slaughter them from ear to ear like goats all in the name of fighting for a god? What an impotent god it must be that relies on human beings to fight its fight against its own creatures!!!
In the south-west some of our compatriots worship the god of the tribe. What manner of love for tribe would make a person become so narrow minded, insular and chauvinistic? What manner of tribe merits such an idolatrous self-adulation? That tribe must be made of uncommon men and women cast out of gold to be so highly elevated above the rest of mankind.
In the south-east some of our compatriots worship the god of mammon. What manner of idolatrous love for money would make a man become so heartless and so unfeeling about the welfare and comfort of everybody else but himself alone? What does it profit such a man to accumulate all the money on earth at great cost to his fellow human beings and yet die one day and leave everything behind?
In the south-south our compatriots worship the god of crude oil. What kind of awoof oil that no one knows how it came about would make a person become so swollen-headed and arrogant?
Is it possible that what we are witnessing are actually inverted Freudian complexes in the form of religious insecurity, tribal insecurity, financial insecurity and social insecurity all barely disguised?
Religious, tribal and economic bigotry are about to tear Nigeria apart at the seams it seems. But beneath and beyond all these tendencies is a vicious geo-political struggle for crude-oil powered awoof. And the chauvinistically inspired problems in Nigeria are caused essentially by so-called “good people.” Bad people do not exhibit bigotry. No bigotry is a special cancer reserved for “good people.”
Think about it, how many times have you heard of Yoruba armed robbers fighting or killing their Igbo colleagues? Have you ever heard of Igbo kidnappers setting upon their Yoruba colleagues? Are we not more likely to see Igbo criminals, Hausa-Fulani criminals and Yoruba criminals fraternizing with cordiality as they go about their evil businesses? Criminals all over the country do not discriminate against themselves on ephemeral bases such as tribe or religion. Rather it is so-called “good” people that do.
You can be sure of one thing. Whenever and wherever you see so called “good” Igbos, Yorubas, Hausa-Fulani and South-Southerners fraternizing and back-slapping each other in a convivial atmosphere – there is an awoofable largesse on the table awaiting carving. Awoof is the cement that binds Nigerians together. If however you see some of them running and sulking to their tribes complaining of marginalization, be certain that such persons feel they have been short-changed of their due share.
If the devil is the acclaimed ruler of the world, there are strong indications to suggest that he has relocated the capital of his earthly kingdom to Nigeria. Do not ask me where it was previously located. You want to see the devil? Come to Nigeria and you will see him face to face. You will see the face of the devil in the 70 years old man who raped a 3 years old child. The man himself may not be the devil, but the devil is definitely at large in him.
You want to see the devil? Come to Nigeria and you will see the devil in the face of the neighborhood-corner chemist shop owner who seeing a person in an asthmatic fit carried in a rush into his store by sympathizers asked for payment first before giving him a simple asthma inhaler and in the ensuing commotion and confusion the man died. Yet come Sunday the shop owner is first on the queue to receive Holy Communion at the nearest Cathedral!!!
You want to see the face of the devil? Come to Nigeria and you will see the face of the devil in the faces of leaders at all levels who pin down their vassal entities on the ground while their friends and cronies steal the helpless entities put in their care blind on their behalf. These people themselves may not be the devil, but the devil is at large in them. As Rastafarians would say ‘it a go dread (it will be dreadful) on judgment day.’ And the judgment day cometh sooner than you think.
Josef Stalin the Soviet Union’s then maximum leader when once reminded about the Catholic Pope’s global authority retorted ‘how many divisions does the Pope have?’ It is this same type of question that Nigerians pose about each other daily. When Nigerian meets Nigerian, the first mental question asked by either party is ‘how many acquisitions does he have?’ The second question is ‘what part of Nigeria does he come from?’ The first question is at the root of the crazy awoof feeding-frenzy in Nigeria today. The second of course is a consequence of the rampant tribal bigotry abroad in Nigeria.
Over the centuries philosophers and thinkers have often wondered about what the true purpose of man’s life on earth may be. Great books have been written, great theories have been propounded on this topic. My own take is that man was created firstly to praise God his majestic Creator, secondly to work assiduously in order to leave the world a better place than he met it for the benefit of others and lastly to amuse himself a little in order to make life’s drudgery bearable.
For awoofsters however their existence is all about unlimited self-indulgence at minimum effort and at the expense of others while paying lip service to God and having scant regard for the needs of future generations. It is a fact of nature that indulgence and indolence are strongly positively correlated. The more one indulges oneself, the more indolent one is likely to become. And indolence is dangerous.
The Catholic Church recognizes this lurking danger and that is why Catholics are advised from very early on that to work is to pray. How true is it that to work is to pray? Consider the logic. When a man is hard at work, his mind is occupied with the work item at hand almost to the exclusion of all other distractions including the devil’s temptations. So when a man is sweating it out honestly and sincerely at work, he is not likely to be sinning. Any action that is devoid of sin is pleasing to the Most High and anything that is pleasing to the Most High is a prayer. On the other hand, the devil himself takes up residence in a habitually idle mind and then proceeds to find work for the idle hand.
Is it any wonder therefore that as awoof which by definition is gain without commensurate work or profit without edifying investment, has become entrenched in our country, evil deeds have equally multiplied? And this is the reason why our leaders, who by their awoofing tendencies make it impossible for the led to find honest jobs, are doubly responsible both for their fate and for the sufferings their idle hands inflict on others. They will not go unpunished at the judgment for their misdeeds. Let the wise take heed.
4th Movement (or Finale): – The very first casualty whenever awoof creeps into a system is meritocracy. The immediate consequence of the absence of merit is the flight of excellence and the evaporation of the incentive to excel. If there is one thing widely agreed about in Nigeria, it is that merit, excellence and the incentive thereof are sorely lacking. What operates instead is a cut-and-fill incentive system whereby the Nigerian establishment for the better entrenchment of awoof, incapacitates the capable and capacitates the incapable. Nigeria habitually cuts down her talents and raises up her scum. No society desirous of progress does this. Due to awoof, if many Nigerians are not at the forefront of any initiative, whether or not they have the requisite competence, they will kill that initiative, regardless of its intrinsic merit.
Majority of the time spent by the Nigerian Federal cabinet otherwise known as the Federal Executive Council in their weekly meetings is devoted to approving which companies (read fronts) are to execute which projects. This is unthinkable in saner, more serious countries. I cannot imagine the American President wasting his precious time deliberating whether company X and not company Y is to get job Z. It is simply amazing. The US president has greater demands on his time such as ensuring that the unemployment rate falls below 8% than attending to such trivial and mundane issues. However in Nigeria awoof issues are neither trivial nor mundane, in fact they are the chief reason for aspiring to and clinging to power.
The Nigerian Presidency does not give a damn if unemployment rate among young graduates is 60 % provided that company X and not company Y has secured job Z. Because company X must get the job at all costs, and the Nigerian Presidency must be seen to be working it does not matter to the Presidency that 50% of the employees of company X are from a foreign country and that 100% of the net profit is going to that country. And a Nigerian minister can shamelessly come forward and gleefully tell the world that Nigerians do not get the jobs because they are not competent.
At every opportunity the American president is reminded that his prime responsibility is to find jobs for Americans willing to work. A Nigerian President or Minister who does not know that his or her first and perhaps most important job apart from ensuring security to lives and property is to find jobs that would make Nigerians more competent is incompetent himself and should be eased out of office. A Nigerian President or Minister who because of awoof thinks that his or her job is to facilitate foreigners augmenting their competence in Nigeria is committing treason against Nigeria’s future and should be tried for treasonable felony.
The other day an opposing politician called for the impeachment of the President. The reaction from the Presidency was immediate and vociferous in threatening the opposition with treason. Now I am not a partisan politician. I have no political sympathies or tendencies because in my opinion Nigerian politicians are all awoof driven.
However which is more treasonable? A mere call, which might or might not succeed, for the National Assembly, to impeach the President through legitimate and constitutionally recognized means on the one hand or a Presidency, unmoved by the fact that Nigerians are massively unemployed, and which may in fact be complicit in the wilful incapacitation of Nigerians in Nigeria and the ensuing capacitation of foreigners both inside and outside Nigeria on the other hand? By my reckoning the latter is tantamount to national sabotage and the last time I checked sabotage is treasonable.
Nature does not allow a vacuum. Since the Nigerian Presidency, over many past administrations it should be conceded, has repeatedly failed to secure gainful employment for Nigerians, the devil has stepped in to find work for them. And Nigerians are working for the devil at the price of peace and harmony in the land.
Everywhere you turn to in Nigeria, you increasingly see signs that Nigerians are busy executing the devil’s contract. Who needs reminding that the job scope of the devil’s contract ranges from religious terrorism with payment in the form of 40 awoof virgins in the hereafter, to kidnaping with payment in the form of awoof ransoms here and now, to rape including that of three year olds by seventy year olds with payment in the form of awoof sensations, to tribalism with payment in the form of awoof popularity, to sycophancy with payment in appointments into awoof positions etc?
I am not by any means suggesting that all Nigerian projects should be restricted to Nigerians whether in-country capacity exists or not. Not at all. What I believe in however is that no job executed in Nigeria should be deemed as successful if at the end of the project, in-country capacity has not been developed and this capacitation of Nigerians should be written into every foreigner’s contract with substantial final payoffs including release of retention tied to it.
Mark you, no company will develop in-country capacity in a foreign country if in order to secure the job, it has been compelled to part with substantial awoof by the powers-that-be. In other words if the powers-that-be have been compromised they will be powerless to ask for the capacitation of their indigenes.
Every foreign owned company doing business in Nigeria wants repeat patronage and so they cannot wilfully develop local capacity except with substantial incentives. The crucial point here is that we are already paying those incentives as I speak only that we are paying it to the wrong hands who cannot create local capacity and are getting nothing in return. In effect we are paying it to local awoofsters at the price of massive unemployment and further incapacitation.
Unfortunately compelling circumstantial evidence including the staggering new heights attained yearly by Mount Corruptus suggests that the Nigerian establishment at all levels is heavily compromised by awoof. And this is why all aspects of our national life have been polluted and debased. Our secondary schools and universities have been transformed into crèches of criminality even as criminal awoof cartels hold sway at all decision making and decision implementation levels in the country.
And so it is a mockery of sorts for awoofsters in high and low places to join us in singing our national anthem and reciting our national pledge at public occasions. Having contemplated sufficiently on this travesty and degeneracy, I have taken the liberty at no particular charge (they would love this) to compose for them, more befitting words for their own peculiar awoof anthem as well as their peculiar awoof pledge the former of which may be sung (let us concede that to them) to the same tune as our national anthem. They go like this:-
“Arise oh compatriots, awoof’s call obey.
To milk our fatherland, with all our strength and skill.
The labors of our heroes (who-sai!!!**) past, shall always be in vain,
To wreck with all our might, one nation bound in fetters, chains and misery.”
* may be sung to the tune of the current national anthem.
**“who-sai” is Nigerian pidgin terminology signifying “says who?”
An Awoofster’s Pledge
“I pledge to awoof my idol,
to be lazy, dubious, deceitful and dishonest,
to greedily seek awoof with all my might even at the expense of other peoples’
well-being and lives. So help me Awoof!!!”
This piece will not be complete without saying a word or two about Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827) one of my great heroes, a man to whose memory this piece is dedicated and whose qualities I recommend to all Nigerians in these trying times. Universally recognized as the greatest symphonist of all time, Beethoven was a paragon of indomitability.
Afflicted by creeping deafness and you can imagine what this particular debility means to a musical composer, Beethoven remained undaunted and rather taunted his disability by composing some of the greatest music ever known to man, music which to this day 200 years later continues to lighten and amuse many minds including mine, particularly weighed down by the unmitigated disaster Nigeria has been turned to by the combined rapacious greed of both the leaders and the led.
Beethoven’s crowning work his 9th symphony (which he never heard physically except in his own mind) is of such magisterial grandeur, fury and intensity like his 3rd symphony (the Eroica) before it, that when it was premiered with the master in attendance, the audience stupefied by its ambitious audacity stood up and clapped for long afterwards. The master himself oblivious of what was going on due to his deafness had to be physically turned round by bystanders to witness the amazing scene and he wept because he could see, but not hear the thunderous clapping. Shortly afterwards he died.
May Nigeria currently in coma not die of awoof related causes, rather may awoof and awoof related curses die in Nigeria. Amen.
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