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Of Snakes and Monkeys: The Joke is on Us


It is one of the hallmarks of our coping mechanism as a people that we find the funny side of every inimical event. Yet, there comes a time when we need to behold our collective sensibility and tell ourselves some home truth. At a time when high school children in the United States are standing up to President Trump, Congress and the powerful National Rifle Association (NRA) in the wake of the 17 kids killed at Stoneman Douglas in Florida, we in Nigeria are seeing the funny side of our quagmire and sorry state. It was a thing of cruel joke when the news broke that snakes had carted away a whopping 36 million naira from the headquarters of the Joint Admission Matriculation Board. While we regurgitated on the madness, news filtered through on the real reason why Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa – APC) was removed as chairman of the Northern Senators Forum. According to the maverick, Shehu Sani, about 70 million naira belonging to the group was claimed to have been carted away by monkeys in a farm house.

Since these dual stories broke, the internet has gone agog with memes and clapback captions that seeks to make light of the issues. Yet, the joke is on us as a people. It stops being funny when we take a moment to reflect on the anomalies of this trend. The monies being spoken about belong to Nigerians, and it is sad that barely any one is asking the salient questions. In a saner nation, Senator Shehu will not insult our collective intelligence by making such remarks, neither will the so-called JAMB official tell us about snakes and their money eating abilities.

The biggest losers in these is the people. We play too much and move on too quickly. In a country where the poverty ratio is still one of the worst in the world and unemployment index at an all-time high, we are too lethargic in our response. For a people in dire sh*thole, our pretentious happiness is befuddling. They say we are among the happiest people in the world, but that happiness is mostly a façade and a smokescreen at best. It has beclouded us of our humanity, our ability to speak to power and the ‘citizens clout’ required for a change.

While the jokes of snakes and monkeys dominated the social media space, we heard the story of how 90 school girls were kidnapped from Dapachi community, in Yobe state. The omen ahead of the general elections in 2019 looks ominous already. The politicians are more interested in readjusting the electoral calendar for their sheer selfish interests than fixing this nation now. On the eve of the election year, the art of governance has taken the back burner. Taxpayers monies will be used to bankroll the scheming and electioneering process. Yet, we the people will go on every social media platforms and hurl ethnic stones at each other over our political alignments. If we have learnt anything from history, it is that we have not learnt anything at all. In the words of Charly Boy ‘Our mumu don do.’

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