Friday, April 9, 2010


Nigeria is like a village tucked somewhere in the jungle of ignorance. Imagine a village without contact with any kind of civilization whatsoever. No airplane, no cars, no monetary system, no television, no computer. In this imaginary agrarian village people batter goods and services. The number of wives and children you have determine your social status. The king, called Kabiyesi, Sarduana or Igwe, of course has the most wives and children.

Once below the time, a white stranger from Britain drove a BMW Jeep into the village to the astonishment and bafflement of the villagers. They have never seen anything like that in the whole history of the village. The Jeep looks like a moving house and the driver like a ghost to the villagers. The closest myth they had was that of Oduduwa who came down to earth from heaven with two chicken or was that a hen and a cock. Any way, legend or myth had it that Oduduwa descended on a rope to a shapeless earth for “the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep.” There was water everywhere and no land for him to stand. So, Oduduwa brought some dirt, a hen and a cock with him from heaven. The cock and hen spread the dirt all over the water and the earth as we know it was formed.

There was chaos in the village for about a week while everyone including the King ran helter scatter and sought refuge in the mountains. Finally, Abiku, one of the king’s least favorite daughters summoned up enough courage and went to the stranger to chat or rather, gesticulate their emotions and thoughts.

Let me tell you about Abiku. She is the little-big child who, according to legend, has traversed every nook and corner of hell before she was born. She is the presumed child of Lucifer who, according to legend, rises and withers with the Sun in a blind quest for reincarnation. The night she was born, the moon hung heavily and dangerously in the sky exposing the shameful nakedness of a backward culture.

Over there in that dilapidated cave; the one with hurricane lantern on its roof and painted with the blood of infants sacrificed to propitiate disgruntled gods, Abiku was waiting by her mother’s bed for her birth. Please don’t ask me how; for she was the excruciating pain her mother felt all the way.

The cave where she was to be born was dimly lit by many Atupas – plates made out clay with wicks soaked in palm oil or kerosene. Far at the right was a bed made out of clay. There Abiku’s mother lay in pain surrounded by a crowd of dwarves who are the village doctors. A little to the left, there are many small skulls like those of monkeys found in science fiction movies. According to legend, most of those skulls belong to Abiku.

She didn’t want to be born. Not again. The last time she had tried in vain to hold on to the umbilical cord but it was damn too slippery. The village doctors had dragged her out of her mother’s womb and put her on platter as if she were a dish for the gods. They had gathered around her and knelt before her and worshiped her. Then as if in anger and shame they had stoned her to death or may be crucified her – she really didn’t remember. Oh No, she didn’t want to be born again!

Abiku’s mother had moaned her desire for relief as her eyes tumbled in circle of little storms. Abiku, out of pity for her mother, let her little head – like a Joey’s in a porch – glide out of her mother’s pigeon hole where the King had many times sacrificed Abiku in vain to propitiate Iyemoja the goddess of fertility. She still didn’t want to be born. The village doctors grabbed her by the head and dragged her out of her haven. She didn’t cry. They spanked her little naked behind. She still didn’t cry. They looked deeply into her unblinking eyes and nodded their coconut heads as if in confirmation of some misconception. Then they put her on a platter and spiced her up with honey, kola-nut, bitter-nut, palmoil and salt. They shoved all these in Abiku’s little mouth. She still didn’t cry. Then they took out a knife from the furnace and gently, slowly, painfully carved a passport in her innocent beautiful face in order to discourage her from dying and for the first time in her many lives she cried. No, she screamed. They laughed and cheered at her tears. Then they named her Abiku Kokumo Kashimawo.

So, Abiku told the King to call a village meeting where everyone can meet and perhaps exchange ideas with the white stranger. Many cows, goats, chicken and monkeys were sacrificed for this occasion. The King loved the BMW Jeep so much that he traded Abiku for it. Couple of days later the white stranger left the Jeep with the King - full of gas and key in the ignition- and took Abiku back with him to Britain.

The King then summoned all the village wise men to figure out how to drive the Jeep. After several weeks of brain storming and fumbling they discovered that when the gear is put in neutral they can actually push the Jeep around. They have finally figured out how to drive the Jeep!

The King immediately declared a decree to set up a competition every five years to pick a group of strong men and designated them as the ‘Ati Obas’ otherwise known as the ‘King Pushers.’ They actually made a tradition out of pushing the Jeep around!!
The main duty of these men is to maintain the Jeep by keeping it clean all the time and drive, or should I say push, the King anywhere his majesty desires. They push the Jeep up-hills and down-slopes all the days of their lives. In return, these men have access to unlimited supply of food and women for live. They became the envy of the whole village and every boy wants to be a ‘King Pusher’ when he grows up while every young girl dream of being one of the wives of a ‘King Pusher’.

After many decades, Abiku and her new family came back to the village to settle down and perhaps teach her people all she had learned in Britain and all other western world. She was amazed to find her people pushing the Jeep around. She wondered why and asked them if the Jeep was broken. They told her, boastfully, that they had figured out how to drive the Jeep out of the abundant intelligence of the village wise men. She saw the key still dangling from the ignition and the gas gage showing almost full of gas and she reached for the key in attempt to start the Jeep, but the King slapped her hand and rebuked her from touching the key because it was an abomination.
She tried to show them how to start the Jeep but they accused her of trying to break their traditions. Everybody in the village including the King gathered around her and lectured her on the tradition of the ‘Car Pushers’ and how they will never allow a ‘foreigner’ like her to come and change their good culture. So, they decided to throw her and her family out of the village and send them back to Britain never to return again. That is the parody of my beloved country.

1 comment:

  1. what a prody!In light of this humorous parody we need to live in the new century/Abiku or whoever brought the Jeep in the first place could have saved burfoonry by staying back home to teach where to put the key ,start the ignition and give one or two hours of driving lessons.If abiku then leaves he would probably returns to find new invention of another Jeep.Or better still stay and mold the culture to adapt to an evolving world.With love those with advanced knowledge could advance others in knowledge to help TUNJI ALMAROOF