Bright lights! Gift boxes! Hampers filled with plenty of goodies! New clothes and shoes! The well decorated Christmas trees, and not forgetting the parties! The paraphernalia and pomp and pageantry that were unmissable indicators of the Christmas season once upon a time. Christmas is here once again, and I don’t know if I’m the only one who has observed it, but it really doesn’t feel like it. In the last couple of years the usual celebrations that accompany the yuletide season have seemed forced; a trite attempt at making things happen instead of the fluidity and ease of merrymaking which naturally comes with festive periods.
To say the year 2016 has been a tough one for the average Nigerian would be a gross understatement. This year has been nothing short of brutal, and anyone who still enjoys good health and can afford at least 2 quality meals a day should be thankful that they have made it thus far. It’s also safe to say that the most common word this year has been “Recession.” Even villagers who hardly have an inkling of what city life looks like let alone keep up with its intricacies or the whims and caprices of its inhabitants now have an idea of what that dreaded word connotes. The year has also been an interesting one, and like every interesting story, it hasn’t been without the attendant heroes and villains that make any story tick.
I am often wary of cliches. For one, they remain an individual’s personal opinion on a subject matter, and as such are subjective. Secondly, there’s a tendency for people to pass them on from generation to generation without giving that extra little thought to their veracity or applicability to their personal lives. That is not to say that cliches or quotable quotes as we like to call them should be discarded. Not at all. They remain vistas of knowledge and insight for not a few people. However, they should not be swallowed hook, line and sinker as many tend to take them, rather they should induce thought and should be open to discourse and debate where necessary. The idea of not burning bridges because one never knows when one might need to use them again is one of the sayings I find debatable…maybe even false.
A young lady is bathed in acid by an unknown assailant on the streets of Lagos. Her sin – the audacity to consent to marry a man who already had a wife. It appears to be a classic case of hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. The story boils down to a woman’s alleged attempt to ensure she has no competition for her husband’s heart. Ogochukwu Nwosu underestimated the threats of her married lover’s wife, and literally got burnt in the process. What has bothered me the most in all of this is the reaction of many Nigerians to the issue.
That Nigeria is currently in a recession is stale news. Everyday we are inundated with news of what government is doing or going to do to change the present fortunes of the Nigerian economy. Beyond that, the reality of the dreary situation at hand stares us in the face on a daily basis. One of the glaring ways the gloomy economic climate has affected us as a people is the recent spate of kidnappings in the country. Gone are the days when the news of the abduction an individual automatically meant that they belonged to the upper strata of the society. If someone had the misfortune of being kidnapped they had to be a deputy governor, House of Assembly member, wife, child or relative of some high profile politician. But, not anymore.
“Hillary Clinton belongs in the White House. Donald Trump belongs on my show.”- Jerry Springer
With a 5- hour time difference between Nigeria and the USA, watching the first presidential debate between Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump live automatically meant staying up till 3 am Tuesday morning, but it was a sacrifice I was willing to make even though I was quite tired and had been dozing off much earlier. I wanted to get a firsthand feel of how things would unfold, and not rely on other people’s account of events.
A full grown adult man decides to park his truck right in the middle of a busy express road, not minding the several other people who are also legitimate users of the federal road embarking on a trip through the same route, because…wait for it – he needs to say his prayers. This man could have veered off the highway, parked his truck properly to enable others continue on their journey without any unnecessary delay, but he chose to do otherwise. I think the most shocking and annoying part for me in all of these was how people around him, and even law enforcement officers found the whole episode amusing and opted to take pictures instead of calling this individual to order, and possibly getting him arrested for obstructing free flow of traffic.
The 2016 Rio Olympics have come and gone, but like any other sporting event or tournament it has left us with memories. The good, and the not-so-good. There were surprise marriage proposals beamed around the world, an athlete who had a bad case of diarrhoea while he ran his race, a medal winning swimmer who quickly went from hero to zero after he was found to have told a disgraceful lie, and another long distance runner who burst into limelight after making a gesture in protest of the treatment meted out to his ethnic group back home. Records were set. Records were broken. Individuals and teams defied the odds to excel beyond their limitations. For an event that kicked off amidst controversies and plenty of difficulties, the 2016 Summer Olympics sure wasn’t shy of happenings. Happenings, heroes and villains. But, villains are hardly worth dedicating time and space to, so I’ll be highlighting my top five heroes of the just concluded Summer Games in Rio.
“Wherever the crowd goes, run in the other direction”- Charles Bukowski
When an undeniably important voice makes controversial comments on any subject or issue, there’s bound to be plenty of conversation and argument for and against their opinion. And the case was no different when renowned writer and author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie stated her dislike for the term “baby bump”- a colloquial term for a woman’s obvious pregnant state. She had made the comment in an interview with the UK’s channel 4 News sometime last week. In her words “I wanted my pregnancy to be something I shared with the people I love, with the people who know me. There is a kind of pregnancy as a trendy thing that I find very uncomfortable and I deeply dislike expressions like ‘baby bump.’ I find it very irritating…”
The third and fourth lines of the Nigerian National Anthem read “The labour of our heroes past shall never be in vain.” It’s supposed to be a profound declaration of assurance. An unequivocal guarantee that come what may, our country will be there for anyone who has made an unforgettable contribution to the Nigerian State, but has succumbed to the cold hands of death in one way or the other. It’s a statement of promise from a nation to her citizens. If anyone ever doubted the veracity of that promise, their skepticism must have evolved into full blown disbelief with the events surrounding the burial of former Super Eagles Skipper and Manager, Stephen Keshi last Friday.