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Bauchi funerals – The debts we owe the dead

No Naija citizen worth his green passport is ever allowed to feel shame for his country. Frederick Lugard must have conducted a marriage of convenience…

No Naija citizen worth his green passport is ever allowed to feel shame for his country. Frederick Lugard must have conducted a marriage of convenience by God’s plan. We are the true expression of resilience in the face of adversity. From all I have seen on YouTube, a lot of young, entrepreneurial girls and guys have smiled their ways to the banks just making the nation laugh.

We deride our Arab neighbours who jump on the streets making springs in a region that largely knows only two seasons. We don’t waste our diversity on protests. Northerners don’t support the conspiracy of external geographical malcontents heckling their own. Muslims hardly criticize fellow Muslims in government in the open. Christians claim they’ve been asked to pray for their leaders, but wont think twice before heckling their mumuish leaders.

When God gave the order to be fruitful and multiply, He was addressing the Naija. We are conservatively estimated to be 200 million and we’re beating the rabbit and the mouse to their game. In certain parts women of marriageable age are forbidden from staying single through their productive cycle. State governments having difficulty counting heads have the most accurate register of divorcees. They have adopted matchmaking as their directive principle of state policy.

Randy men insisting on increasing their harem know that they are not inclined to inherit their children from the previous marriage or to pay child support for the ones they divorce. The kids are left to live and sleep rough, pan in hands, snorting anything from glue to codeine, marijuana to cocaine. It’s a system called almajirci and there are those who swear it is both sunnah and legit.

Yet, if you’re in any major town anywhere in the world without a Naija resident; my friend, run! Don’t sleep there or drink their bottled water. We are the most resilient travelers on this earth. We adapt to anything from the unforgiving desert to the freezing cold. We let the white man make the computer and link the net before introducing our invention – 419.

We are said to be a democracy, but people in the remotest corners of the globe have heard of the infamous Naija Prince. The other day I wore my agbada to a function in Ottawa, some guy walked up to me to say he recognized a Naija prince. Next time that happens, I’ll offer to share my phantom kingdom in half for a few thousand dollars – we are generous like that!

Not only are the breeds of homo sapiens called Naija truly special, Naija animals baffle biology. Naija cows covet Brazilian grass! Our beasts have evolved to mock Darwin’s origin of species. Naturally, snakes are vilified for their venom.  It was not long ago that one swallowed the equivalence of $100,000. Veterinarians might find that preposterous, but even Google knows!

Naturally, a monkey locating a banana plantation could cause more damage than panama disease; so imagine what happens when they have unhindered access to Naija cash vaults. Last year, monkeys sneaked into the vaults of a sinnator of the feral republic and swallowed N70 million meant to organize a function for his colleagues. Weeks ago, the gorillas in a zoo in Kano were accused of eating N6.8 million. People were not shocked, because a member of the federal legislature was once caught on camera turning his traditional garb into a vault for sleazy dollars. Recently, the governor of the same state was captured on video pocketing millions of dollars using every crevice of his garb.

We are the world’s unnumbered wonder. When animals eat hard cash, the police play catch up investigating them. Our policemen have medals arresting and detaining goats for armed robbery. Transmogrified goats are very expensive to detain, they cost millions to feed and interrogate.

Politics brings the best out of the Naija. The campaigns are a carnival of ludicrous colours. Money spent on changing guards is beyond reasoning. After handing over come the revelations. Ninety-five percent of successors claim the treasury has been cleaned before the handing over.

But last week, the sweetest tale by moonlight came from ex-governor of the arid state of Bauchi and his successor. It was over how much was spent on funerals. The successor claims he unearthed a N2.3 billion-funeral bill from government undertakers. Foul, responded the ex-governor’s media aide who claims only N1.2 billion was spent on funerals between January and May this year. Calico shrouds cost the government N900 million, while the rest was spent on wood and nails.

Of course, Bauchi is not at the epicenter of the life-wasting Boko Haram insurgency. It did not suffer cholera, Ebola, lassa fever or the Bubonic Plague. But nobody still breathing could query the logic of a government sending off its citizens with – a befitting burial, a true Naija coinage. If Bauchi could not give welfare to the living, at least it could make the dead go away in opulence. Only a new governor faults that logic. I understand poor people were rushing to Bauchi to die so as to benefit from state-sponsored funerals. If people cannot live well, at least they should die and be buried well.

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