A Current Affairs And Social Critic Blog



March 29, 2021



Greetings, folks!

When you say the metaphoric statement “Nip it in the bud,” which has become a cliché for many people in Nigeria in West Africa, what exactly do you understand it to mean? I ask because it is commonly misused by English-speaking Africans who live within Africa, especially among Nigerians in Nigeria.

I specify Africans living within Africa because Africans living outside Africa are better acquainted with it. Africans inside Africa often tend to jump into the use of established clichés just to sound learned, and to belong, without a clear understanding of how and why they are used.

Let’s starts with the origin of the metaphoric expression, “Nip it in the bud.” A ‘bud’ is an EARLY STAGE, or the beginning of a flower. If you nip the bud, then the flower will never blossom; it dies. The expression, “Nip it in the bud,” was first recorded in a play of Beaumont and Fletcher in 1606–1607.

This metaphor originally alluded to spring frost that kills flower buds and not allow them to blossom. The frost nips the emerging flowers in the bud and they die before it is time for them to blossom. If the bud has already ‘bursted’ or grown or blossomed into the flower, then you can’t possibly say that the frost nipped it in the bud. So, the metaphor is to stop or halt something or an emerging problem immediately at the EARLY STAGE (the bud), so that it does not grow to become full-fledged problem. If the problem is already grown, you can’t claim that you have nipped it in the bud, meeeeen!!!

Mind you, ‘the bud’ can be of something good or something bad. For instance, if you cut the foetus of a baby in the womb of the mother, then you have nipped the baby in the bud. The earlier the stage of the foetus, the more correct you are to say that you have nipped the possible baby in the bud. You cannot say that you will nip a human in the bud AFTER the baby is already born and grown or growing. So, it is nonsensical to say that you are nipping anything or any problem in the bud if that problem has already grown to a high level. The aim to disallow the bud to blossom into a flower has already been defeated because you didn’t nip it in the bud.

‘Nip’, on its own, is actually a slang for a variety of related usages, which is commonly used by the Brits. In this case, it is for ‘quick’ action, to express going somewhere quickly or being somewhere for just a short time. Example: “Let’s nip in to a restaurant for a quick bite” (quick meal).

A common example of constant nonsensical application of the metaphor—‘nip it in the bud’—in Nigeria, caught my attention and inspired this blog. It has to do with the terrible security situation in the country. I often hear people (including professional broadcasters who should know better and teach the masses) continue to say that the government should nip the country’s insecurity in the bud now…or something like, “Buhari has ordered the security chiefs to nip it in the bud.” And, I’m like…What the fuck are you talking about? The situation has long gone beyond ‘the bud.’ It is already a full-fledged overgrown ‘flower’, and you are still talking about nipping it in the bud. Saying ‘nipping it in the bud’ would only make sense in the early stage when Boko Haram and evil jihadist Fulani herdsmen who constitute a major part of the insecurity in the country EMERGED to start their evil rampage.

Citing the current fledgling jihad of SOME Fulanis specifically, President Buhari could have nipped it in the bud in 2016 or thereabouts, when the threat was emerging. If he doesn’t subscribe to it, he should have ordered his security chiefs then to “shoot at sight” AK-47 totting herdsmen, or/and he should have reprimanded the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders terrorist organization that he legitimized as an arm of his government to cease and desist from encouraging their killer-herdsmen. Instead, he allowed the jihad-bud to blossom into full-fledged flower. Now, even if he tames Miyetti Allah and its jihad-army of so-called herdsmen, nobody can rightly call it nipping in the bud. He is only cutting the already blossomed ‘flower’ of jihad. His recent “shoot at sight” order is over four years too late to qualify as nipping in the bud. And, besides being too late, many Nigerians insist that he does not truly mean it.

Hahahahahahaa!!! I laugh because this public skepticism about Buhari’s recent “shoot at sight” order reminds me of a funny story of a man who once had a visitor in his house. The dude was not financially comfortable, but he felt obligated to offer his visitor a drink. So, he sent his house help with his last few bucks to go buy the visitor a drink. As the help was exiting the house, the boss whistled a pre-arranged coded message saying, “If you spend that money on any drink you will pay for it o.” The house-help who understood the code disappeared for reasonable time, only to return with a message to the boss, purposely in the presence and to the hearing of the visitor, that he looked all over the neighborhood and could not find the drink. Naturally, the visitor was satisfied that his host tried to offer him something, and, there was no need to continue looking for the drink. Nigerian skeptics feel that Buhari has outwardly said what non-jihadist Nigerians want to hear, but he probably tells his security chiefs behind the door that they would suffer dire consequences if they dare to actually shoot any Fulani herdsman with AK-47 rifle. Hey, you know me and my “No Bullshitting” Blog alter-ego. We are only bloody journalists, reporting the heartbeat of Nigerians in no-bullshitting style and language, meeeeeen!!!

So, anyway, again, even if Buhari’s “shoot at sight” order is sincere, it is still too late to qualify as nipping the Fulani jihad and insecurity in the bud. ‘Nip it in the bud’ means to halt the jihad as it was emerging, BEFORE the ‘bud’ (early sign of the jihad) blossomed into a ‘flower’ of a full-grown problem, and not AFTER it has grown out of hand. I trust that you know that I ain’t bullshitting ya, meeeeeeeeeen!!!


Today’s “No Bullshitting” Blog (NBB) Infotainment song is an oldie by one of my favorite Jamaicans reggae musicians, Fred “Toots” Hebert, titled “54-46 (That’s My Number).” It was recorded and released in 1968-1969 by Fred (Toots), and his band that is named “The Maytals.”  The group is named “Toots & The Maytals.” Their music genre is the Ska, Rocksteady, and Reggae family. Toots was born in 1942 in May Pen Jamaica, and he died on September 11, 2020, at age 77 years. “54-46” was originally released on the Beverley label in Jamaica, and one year later, it was also released in the UK by the Pyramid Label. It was one of the first reggae songs to receive widespread popularity outside Jamaica, and is seen as being one of the defining songs of the genre.

So, here is “54-46 (That’s My Number” song, by “Toots & The Maytals”:


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