Nigeria is not a zoo, although some Nigerians who think that Nigeria has all the elements of a zoo, tends to disagree with me. Right before us, a certain Nigerian popularized the narrative that Nigeria is a zoo. Sadly, he recruited several Nigerians into such thinking or line of thought.
I am not deluding myself that there are no animals in Nigeria. There are several of them. They exist. They are ubiquitous. Even where humans do not enter, animals enter. They enter even airport and delay aircraft landing. They obstruct vehicular and human traffic. Look no far, you will find them, in groups, even in singles. If Nigeria was a zoo, then it would be the world’s best tourist destination.
In this piece, I do not intend to delve into the never-ending argument of the whether Nigeria is a zoo or not, figuratively and on the face value. It would amount to dissipating my early-morning energy in the wrong direction.
Right from my undergraduate days in a political science class, a Nigerian Professor described us as “Political Animals.” Again, growing up in the eastern part of Nigeria, it was common for parents to call out their wards and helps as “goat,” and several other domestic animals. The first time I heard a parent who was a neighbour call their ward an “Idiot”, I quickly checked it up in the dictionary and I saw that it meant fool, ass, halfwit, nincompoop, blockhead, dunce,
dolt, ignoramus, imbecile, dullard, moron, and more.
A friend told me that a certain wild animal is called idiot, so each time I go to where they sell “bush meat”, I often ask, I want to buy Idiot, and the common response, is that “we don’t have it.” The only time when one was described as wild animal like lion, when one displays exceptional courage or like Giraffe when one stretches ones neck to pick answers from another during examinations.
Describing Nigeria as a zoo did not start now. However, it reached its crescendo under the President Buhari administration. Virtually every other week, an animal character resurfaces with its own tale. The President’s wife once described some members of the governments are hynas and jackals.
It was rodent that drove away the President from office after being away on medical vacation for three months. We have not been told if the President has taken back his office from the rodents. At least, Nigerians would have seen pictures of the evacuated rodents from the office. Each time I apply “Otapiapia” or “snipper” in my room, it kills mosquitoes, and when I sweep them out, I feel happy that my insecticides works. If you are not interested, I am!
Nigerians woke up to another sad story of a mysterious snake in the Makurdi office of JAMB swallowing a whooping sum of N36 million. The snakes are still at large or have they found them?
We have not recovered from the snake story, when news filtered in that the Northern Senators Forum stripped their leader of their position because it was alleged that monkeys went to his farm house and “carried away” N70 million belong to the Forum.
What other animal will join the chain of “moneyVOROUS” (not omnivorous and carnivorous) creatures, as my friend would sarcastically say. When the Nigeria’s military engages in dangerous operations, they code-name after animals. They include to “crocodile smile,” “python dance” among other operations. I do not fathom out why the operations wear animal face when it was meant for humans, not in a zoo. Do you know?
Many communities in Nigeria can be best described an abattoir where “animals”, sorry humans are hunted down and their blood spilled. Their blood no longer has worth. They are less human. They deserve to die like animals.
Which animal next? Which animal will swallow another lump sum of money? Which animal’s blood will be spilled?
Chukwuezie is the Editor-in-Chief of Community Stories Nigeria (www.communitystories.ng). He writes from Abuja and can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org