I started writing this a day before the bomb blasts on the UN building. I still love my country Nigeria, bomb blasts or not. God punish the people behind it. Yeah I said it.
In a stabbing moment of patriotism inspired by my departure from Nigeria for a little while, I have gifted myself the pleasure of promulgating the gospel of naija (gospel meaneth good news). Don’t know if I used promulgate in the right way there, that one na your palaver. On to business, I have decided to write about 5 things I love about Naija.
Number 1 is, wait for it, wait for it…I know the suspense is killing you…Food.
If you know me, you will know that I am an aspiring gastronome. I like to chop and taste different types of food (abinci). Do I care that gastronome might not describe what I mean? Shrugs a Kanye Shrug because He is awesome. I do like to sample so many different types of food. If it is edible, I will try it at least once. To buttress my point, I was the food prefect in secondary school. Flexes muscle like heavy weight boxer. Anyways, I absolutely love the food available to me here in naija starting with Suya (As a partial malo/northerner of course now). I do love Shawarma (Not really Nigerian but we feel like its ours), I also love me some Egusi Soup, Ogbono Soup with Tuwo, Amala or Pounded Yam. I can mess with Miyan Kuka or Karkashi. Ediakaikong (sp?) is another favorite of mine. Akara/Kosai, kunun shinkafa, kunun zaki, zobo, Banana and Roasted Groundnut, Jollof Rice and dodo, Fura da nono (if you don’t know about this you are on a long thing, ask your local Fulani maiden), Ijebu garri and groudnut, Indomie (yea I said it, no shame in my game, I love indomie), roasted corn and coconut, kilishi (kinda falls in with suya) etc are foods I love.
When I think of Naija, I think of these foods. As you can obviously see, I love Naija because its delicious.
Next up on the boulevard of things I love about naija…Family.
Actually this should come first but you know that man shall not live by bread alone because that will lack variety. He should live by the assortments of foods I mentioned above. Just Kidding. One of the things I love about naija is my family. When I say family and most naij-area-ns (coinage) would agree, I mean the nuclear as well as the extended family. If we use Tyler Perry movies to judge black folk in Le Amerique, we would come to the conclusion that extended families play an integral part in their lives too. That’s another topic. I love my mummy, daddy, baby sister (if you know me you know that I have a picture of her on my phone waiting to show you), cousins (I got a million, some will be reading this), Aunts, Uncles, Grandma and family friends that I have known since forever. I might not always talk to them or tell them all my problems but for the most part if anything ever happened to me, these are the people I would turn to. Its an unbreakable bond and dear family no matter how mad I might get at you sometimes, deep down I still love you. I go sabi catch grenade for you, and I know you would do the same for me. I love my family because they are also always praying for me. Sending positive vibes my way. They make Naija such a lovely place for me. So the synopsis of this point is, I love Naija because it is a close-knit extended family. Here comes my corny line, Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba and all the united 300 ethnic groups of Nigeria. You are all my brothers and sisters and at least cousins. I might make fun of you but deep down, I love you like a laborer loves some agege bread and pure water.
The Third thing I love about Nigeria is its frankness.
You know how in the past I have said that Nigerians got a problem of being too frank about what they are thinking that it borders on the politically incorrect and downright rude? You remember? Take that sentiment, remove it from my classification as a problem and rather than shove it in the trash or the rubbish heap in mushin (circa 2000), I suggest you classify it as a problem that has its advantages. It makes for pretty good comedy. When you are trying to keep a beard, a nosy uncle will come and ask you if you have joined a certain Islamic sect which believes a shaving razor is haram. People don’t mind their business and they will not hesitate to comment on stuff you do. No shame in their game. I love Naija because it is in your face and not ashamed to offend you.
Fourth thing I love about Naija is the friendliness
People in Naija are super friendly. Don’t believe me? Walk on the street or market, greet people and they generally respond and add a big fat smile. This might not really apply to our generation of young people who form they are too cool for MTV. Like for real, you can meet someone you have known since you were kids and they will act like they don’t know you. They just give you a nod. What the hell is a nod? Are you a lizard? Tscheww. Anyway Nigerians are really friendly people; there is a culture of hospitality that is pretty much unrivalled the world over. You go to someone’s house it is mandatory that they offer you something to eat and even drink. You can say no though. I love Naija because when I first met her she said hi, smiled at me and gave me a kiss on the cheek, she even cooked me some dinner.
Last but definitely not the least thing I love about naija is the freedom.
Considering I always talk about how we need to free the people and ourselves, this is a bit ironic. Not contradictory, never that. The freedom in naija comes from being able to do almost anything you want to do. In the right situation, you can run a red light without a bill getting sent to your house. You can drive at any speed you want, as per the fast and the furious. You can basically pull an Amsterdam in naija and no one will give a damn. You could slap and brush anyone who pisses you off. You can pee in public, take a crap by the roadside. The freedom to pee is missing in yankee o. If you like go an pee for Time Square and see. Its like everything is legal because law and order is almost absent. If you are rich, you can do almost anything. Its like being a demi-god. Hopefully that is going to change because currently if you are rich you can even send random people to jail and even kill and maim without suffering any repercussions. It will change, maybe we need like batman. Some kind of vigilante force that exacts justice on rich assholes who feel they can do anything. I love naija because the air is so fresh and free too, I don’t have to pay to breathe.
I have shared mine. Folks what do you love about Nigeria.