My name is Nigeria
I am not a nation
I am not a person
I am a people
My masters used to tell me that it was one-man-one-wife but they left me with many wives. My wives are so many I do not know how many there are, neither are my children concerned about that. Before you call me an irresponsible man, I must let you know that I was not born the natural way. A woman named Flora Shaw was playing tease strip with her boyfriend in the Niger when she suddenly had an epiphany: that I should come to be.
My children proclaim to serve many gods; some might throw tantrums for not saying ‘God’. But I knew only one god, omniscience, omnipresent and omnipotent. He is the triune god of the west. From him, all my blessings and painful lessons flow. While he spoke on the need for personal liberty and freedom, I was dutifully licking at his feet because there is nothing personal about me; everything in my life has been borrowed. Wait! Was I kneeing at the feet of a ‘he’ or that of a queen? These things are messed up.
Today is my 56th birthday; I expect that one of my sins, sorry I mean sons, will make a profound speech – either at the Vulture Circle or the castle bullet-proofed from the sufferings of my other children – on how I have survived throughout the decades. He would pride himself on what he believes to have achieved ever since they began hailing his Dauraic name. However, I am not too old to tell my story. (In fact I am younger than him; out of respect, I feel I should be the one telling his story).
Yes, I have come through a lot; I even survived Uncle Sam’s prediction that I would die by 2015. I am not sure if I am alive though. Everyone admits that I am sick. There is this cancer flowing through my veins. My children have over the time claimed to be concerned. In fact, I have been receiving reports of how several injections worth billions is expected to come my way. Maybe this sickness has dulled my senses and frayed my nervous system, because I do not feel like I have been injected.
However, my children are of a unique species. I heard that when people are extremely sick, everyone comes together, pulls funds and takes that person to the hospital. In my extremely severe case of cancer, chemotherapy is carried out, grey hairs are scrapped off, tumour cells are laser-cut and a crop is allowed to grow.
It is not so among my children. The first thing on their agenda is often who is responsible for my sickness. Actually, this is a good thing. Every father should be proud that his children ensure that they are all responsible for their actions. They do not stop there. They then chase those responsible up and down the streets using EFiCiCi, a brutal bulldog that had its teeth replaced with toothpicks a while ago. By the time they are through with the chase for the day, some of those being chased would have called on the dauraic name with humility. And whosoever calls on the duaric name shall be saved. Of course, you cannot expect my tired children who have, for my sake, chased down those responsible to tend to me. Everything is pushed to the morrow. And so it would be until…
Across the street, I can hear noise that worsens the headache I have been bearing for decades. They say they are praying to a god. I wonder if the god is hard of hearing such that large horde of deceived, sorry discipled, individuals must shout and cry. Maybe it makes sense; after all they were praying to that same god when he gave them a fellow with an acute ear disease. Like god, like result…
These same individuals have accused me of being the prodigal son; they claim I have wandered far from the father. Maybe they refer to the homosexual Rev Father Jack and his brother, Uncle Sam; if that is true, I never want to go back. My bumbum is still sore. However, I cannot shake off this feeling that I am the father and my sons are the prodigals. The prodigal in their own story went away with his wealth and greed. At least, the father was able to recuperate and set the family estate in order. These prodigal sons of mine live in my own house, always confessing their sins so that they may have grace to commit more.
Less they call me a chauvinist, allow me to talk about my daughters. My daughters are very popular creatures. In fact, some of them have trodden where even angels do not dare. My son, the one whom the partially deaf god gave to us, took some of my daughters across the waters less they wither from lack of international exposure. That is because those girls behaved themselves. I have some other daughters, somewhere around the North Pole, who have committed the hideous crime of being poor and hapless. These ones are also enjoying exposure of some kind. And they will remain there.
There is a North Pole in my estate, one in which every moralist must come from. Even the partially deaf god acknowledges this place as my dauraic son was from that region. From this region too are several sons of mine, or so I am told, who do not serve a partially deaf god. In fact, their god is a different god in wisdom, glory and power. Unlike the partially deaf god who sits down awaiting prayers and tithes from the unrighteous and the deceived (for there is no one righteous), this god is a god of hot piss. Yes, hot piss!
You should go to the North Pole; there are several sprays of hot piss there. However, because you are not spiritual, I know you are not, what you will see are displaced individuals who were foolish to stay in that area, condoms to spite contraceptive pills from the west, bodies sacrificed in hot piss to appease the god and other things you should see for yourself.
This god claims to be opposed to the triune god of the west but is at the same time smarter than the west. Remember what they say, a house fighting against itself cannot stand. This god encourages his terrorists, er moralists, to employ weapons from the west. Do not tell me they are being used by other individuals, the gods my children serve work in mysterious ways. That you do not understand them does not give you room to call them names.
I am sick so I should not stress myself, besides my son must have done a lot of talking on my behalf. I am not going to die yet, although some of my sons want to end me very soon – I think they are the brazier fetish. However, help me tell my children that I do not need divine help; I do not need it. They do not need to make EFiCiCi run up and down, especially when I am writhing in pains and slowly dying. I also do not need international exposure or too many conferences. A simple drive-in into a good hospital theatre with qualified surgeons, nurses and doctors will cure my illness.
Happy birthday to me!
(The author, Gracious Egbedegbe is a student of the Faculty of Arts, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-ife and a member of the OAU Peeps Team)