Nigeria Politics: Animals on Rampage By Kenneth Jude (A MUST READ)
“kill no dream, if rats could make it to Aso Rock, you too can…”
Recent happenstances in the country point to the grim fact that humanity is in danger of being overthrown or boxed to a corner by animals. We’ve had a brush with rats, chicken pox, monkey pox, bird flu, name them.
Not too long ago, President Muhammadu Buhari was kept out of his office by ‘presidential rats.’ For weeks, he operated from his home as rats, we were told, had taken over Aso Rock while the Daura king was away.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed had said: “Following the three months period of disuse, rodents have caused a lot of damage to the furniture and air-conditioning units.”
Furniture, office fitments, even vital documents are said to have been tampered with by these smallish but destructive animals. At the time, rats were elevated to great heights. Those who sell rat poison smiled to the bank as Nigerians feasted on the “white something” to ward off any rat that may stray into homes.
Rather than empathise with president Buhari for being sent packing from almighty Aso Rock by mere rats, Nigerians, as could be expected, turned it all into a joke.
Many wondered how, of all places, rats will have access to Aso Rock? Were they spiritual rats? Were they sent by the opposition? Even if they were sent by the opposition, why rats? Nigerians queried.
Consider the following:
“kill no dream, if rats could make it to Aso Rock, you too can…” Another folk, a rat poison seller, put up a signage that read: “they chased the president, don’t let them chase you.” And this: “It is possible for rat to destroy Buhari’s office, I kid you not, Nigerian rats are bloody. I remember the group of rats that ate my mattress, drank my bottle of olive oil, ate the whole bottle and everything else inside but not the rat poison. So imagine what political rats can do!”
During this time, needless to say, rats reigned supreme among all the animals known to man. At any rate, summoning such animalistic guts to hit Aso Rock having made mincemeat of homes of the proverbial commoners, rats deserved all the attention they got.
Enter cows. Not a few Nigerians are of the view that human life is now equated with that of a cow in this part.
In June last year, Pupils of Ohovbe Primary School in Ikpoba-Okha local council of Edo State were reportedly chased out of their classrooms by cows. The pupils were said to have stayed outside for about one hour before the herdsman came to take them out.
Though, they have always been here with us, we have never been at loggerheads with cows as it is today. Somehow, cows have become precious animals that its discourse has replaced issues of economy, infrastructure, electricity and the likes. If a cow dies, human heads are bayed for. That is our tragedy. The Nigeria of today.
The other day, over seventy bodies were lowered into a mass grave in Benue State on account of herdsmen versus farmers clash. Thr reason for the mass killing of innocent citizens? Cows belonging to herdsmen are said to have been stolen. So, on reprisal, the herdsmen swooped on the community, slitting throats of innocent citizens – nobody was spared. Babies, nursing mothers, pregnant women…
Today, there’s a clamour to create colonies for cows across the country. Some governors say they have no lands for such deal and will never consent to any colony for cows agreement. Buhari says he has no powers to order for the establishment of colonies for cows. Kano state governor has come to the rescue. To avoid incessant clashes between herdsmen and farmers, he says he has lands large enough to accommodate the herdsmen and their cattle. Will the marauding blood thirsty herdsmen head to Kano? We’re are watching keenly even as cows continue to contest with humans for right of way.
While we were about heaving a huge sigh of relief that issues concerning animals and all that crap have gone underground for urgent matters of state, news filtered in from JAMB office in Benue the other day that a snake swallowed a princely sum of N36M.
The board’s official in the state, Mrs. Philomina Chieshe, a sales clerk, had accused her housemaid of colluding with another JAMB staff, Joan Asen, to “spiritually” steal the money from the vault in the accounts office through a spiritual snake.
According to her, “It was a mystery to me too. I have been saving the money in the bank, but I found it difficult to account for it.
“So I started saving it in a vault in the office. But each time I open the vault, I will find nothing. I became worried and surprised how the millions of Naira could be disappearing from the vault.
“I began to interrogate everybody in the house and office, and no one could agree on what might have happened to the money. I continued to press until my housemaid confessed.
“She said that the money disappeared spiritually. She said that a mysterious snake sneaked into the house and swallowed the money in the vault.”
Many have been taken aback by this melodramatic tale which they contend can only emanate from Nigeria. When did snakes start swallowing money? Has money become a staple food for snakes? What type of snakes eat cash? Cobra, Python? Corn snake? Viper? Rattlesnake? Carpet Viper? Male or female? Journalists have nose for news. Do snakes have nose for cash? These are all mysteries ethologists and their allied partners must help us unravel.
Amidst this state of benumbing confusion, Nigerians, ever creative and prankful, went to town as usual. Yours truly, as it is my wont, kept vigil on social media to monitor comments on the snake tale. For your reading delight, I gleaned the following:
“I recharged my Nokia torch with N300, after playing Snake Xenzia, I am seeing 0.00 naira as my balance…
Does MTN charge for playing games?
Or did the snake swallow the N300?”
“Fairly used pythons for sale.
They can swallow a minimum of N25million from any bank or office.
Interested buyers should inbox me. #OwnPythonTodayAndBecomeRichTomorrow.”
“Ladies, if u can’t find ur man tomorrow, (Valentine) just know that Nigerian snake has swallowed him.”
“I am jst leaving First bank now, I went to drop bitter cola around the bank premises, because of snake…I no wan hear say anything do my money.”
“who knows what has happened to PHCN in Uyo? Has snake swallowed it?”
And this: “A woman comes out of the bathroom to find his son on all fours in the living room. Crawling, like a baby. Shocked, she screams: “Blood of Nebuchadnezzar. Dami, what are you doing?”
“I’m practising for my new job to be a snake.” The woman grabs a bottle of holy oil and cries: “Blood of Jesus. You’ll never be a snake. I anoint you in the name of the father…”
Unyielding, the boy replies: “Mummy, that’s the new hot job in Nigeria o. Snakes are swallowing things all over the place and they say you keep whatever you swallow. One has just swallowed N36m. That’s $100,000. Let me do my snake o.”
The mum screams, “N36m!” She drops the bottle of holy oil and begins to crawl. “Mummy what are you doing?” the bewildered boy asks his mum. She replies excitedly: “We are a snake family!”
Meanwhile, my friend’s eldest cousin, a famed hunter, told my immediate elder brother to tell me that Nigeria Association of Hunters (NAH) are planning a nationwide protest to register their grievances over the infiltration of bushes by hefty men suspected to be sent by prominent politicians. The hunters, it was learnt, are angry that well-to-do individuals are now struggling their little business of aiming and shooting at animals with them.
One of the infiltrators, when asked why he’s in the bush, said he was there to hunt down the snake that swallowed N36m. Asked who sent him, he said, with glee, that a top politician in the country sent him with the promise that N5m awaits him if he succeeds in getting the money-swallowing snake and the cash intact.
Now, JAMB authorities say they’ll not rest until they get to the root of this snake melodrama. How will they do it? Will they comb the bushes in search of the ravenous snake? How will they identify a snake that has money stuffed in it’s belly? will they go with some witchdoctors, pastors given that it’s a “spiritual” snake?
In this country, anything is possible. Hence, Like other Nigerians, I’ve grabbed a seat on the front row to watch clearly and unhindered, how this unfolding sensational drama will eventually end!
Kenneth Jude is a Public Affairs Analyst and two-time AKS NUJ Best Columnist of the Year.