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“OJEBEGO” & A TALE OF FUNNY HYPOCRITICAL POLITICS IN NIGERIA, PART 1

May 12, 2022

SubTopics: (1) THE SELF-SERVING HYPOCRISY OF NIGERIAN KINGS & CHIEFS & SO-CALLED OPINION LEADERS; (2) IGNORANT HYPOCRISY OF MAJORITY NIGERIAN VOTERS; (3) TIT-BIT ON AFRICAN CULTURE

This is “No Bullshitting,” by Harry Agina.

Greetings, folks!

Today’s NBB commentary is a comic relief of sorts. It’s a break from the usual tense no-bullshitting atmosphere. Umm huh, I wanno tell you a tale of sad but funny situation of elections and electioneering in Nigeria, meeeeeeen!!!

Once upon a Nigerian political campaign season, I was in Nigeria, in my village. I am quite an apolitical kind of guy, you know, especially when I am in Nigeria. I can’t stand their kind of politics of dog-eat-dog. My only interest in politics is as political critic. I actually had a commentary in 2019, on one of my reasons to hate Nigeria’s politics. As usual, I’ve got the link to it for ya. Just click away, but please remember to come back and finish this funny story:

https://nobullshiting.com/why-i-hate-nigerian-politics/

Anyway, I don’t attend political events in Nigeria, except when I am in my village. That’s where I was on the fateful day of my story. A cousin of mine asked me to attend a political gathering with him. And, I was like, “Okay, why the fuck not, meeeeeeen?!!!”

So, ten minutes later, we were at the event venue. It was the village square. And the occasion was for a candidate who was running for a political office. The dude was declaring his candidature to the chiefs and people of the village. He was seeking their support and votes for an impending election. The dude was already concluding his speech when my cousin and I arrived.

And then, the chairman of the occasion rose from his seat. To the crowd, he chanted a traditional greeting of the Igbo race of Nigeria. The crowd responded in unison as the tradition demanded/demands:

CHAIRMAN: Igbo kwenu!

THE CROWD: Yeah!

CHAIRMAN: Igbo kwenu!

THE CROWD: Yeah!

CHAIRMAN: Igbo kwezue nu!

THE CROWD: Yeeaaahhh!!!

Literally, “Igbo kwenu” means something like, “My Igbo people, may I have your solidarity (or agreement).” It is a greeting, and solidarity solicitation by the speaker. It also serves to call the attention of the audience. And, the audience responds in affirmation. It is customary at gatherings of the Igbo people of Nigeria. Everyone who wants to address the audience in such gathering starts with this chant or greeting. Typically, it is done three times in a row, but that is not necessarily sacrosanct. It can be extended more than three times, especially when the response is not resounding enough. When the speaker reaches his final time, he ends it with the conclusive version, “Igbo kwezue nu,” instead of the regular “Igbo kwenu.” Then, the responding audience concludes it with the extended, “Yeeaaaaahhh!!!

In essence, the speaker has solicited, and the crowd has affirmed that the people are all in agreement at the given moment. It is likened to the universal “Hip hip hip!” and it’s “Hurrah!” response, but with a peculiar difference, of course. Now, my non-Nigerian readers have learned something new about African Culture; haven’t ya? This is just part one. I have more Afro-Cultural tit-bits coming your way.

Anyway, the chairman of the occasion in my story continued with his speech, thus:

CHAIRMAN (To the candidate): “Our brother, we have heard your submission about your ambition. And, as far as I am concerned, you are our choice for the office.” Then, he turned to the crowd, and asked, “My people, what do you say?”

THE CROWD (To the chairman, in unison): “Ojebego ooo!!!” (Then, to the candidate), “Ijebego ooo!!!”

“Ojebego” and “Ijebego” are idiomatic. Literally, “Ojebego” (response to the chairman) means, “He is already gone…already there.” And, the “Ijebego” that was directed at the candidate himself means, “You are already gone…already there.” In translation, “Ojebego” means, “He is already the winner,” and, “Ijebego” means you are already the winner.” In other words, the crowd assured the candidate that he had their votes, which would ensure his victory.

There’s actually nothing peculiar about such solidarity pledge; is there? Nope, at least I didn’t think so. The people were only showing their support to a man who came to ask for it. In effect, the people agreed that they would vote for him on the D-day. Then, campaign souvenirs, food and drinks were passed around, which were provided by the candidate. Everyone had their shares. My keen eyes caught a discrete move by a member of the candidate’s entourage. He discretely shared some large fat envelopes, but only to the few chiefs and the executives of the village. My cousin whispered to me that the envelopes contained money. Shortly, the event was declared over.

Now, check this out. A couple of days later, my same cousin invited me to another event at the same venue. The exact same crowd gathered again. This time, the dude who gathered the crowd was the candidate of another political party. He was vying for the same seat that the other dude came a couple of days back to solicit support for. The ritual of the gathering was, of course, same as in the previous occasion. I was curiously waiting for the response of the chiefs and the rest of the people to the new candidate. I mean, they already told the opposition candidate in my presence a couple of days back, that he was already in the seat with their votes. They told him that there was no competition against him as far as they were concerned. In other words, they ‘had his back’! Remember, they had chanted, “Ijebego ooo” to him, meeeeeeen!!!

I was a “Johnny-just-come (JJC),” and unaware of such terrible games of hypocrisy on Nigeria’s political scene. You can’t imagine my shock, as well as amusement, when I heard the chiefs and the crowd repeat the exact same “Ojebego” and “Ijebego” chant to the second candidate. I couldn’t control my chuckle in my amusing amazement. My cousin was actually expecting my reaction, so a conversation ensued when he turned his knowing look at me.

ME: “Wait just a fucking minute, dude; didn’t you guys tell the opposition candidate the same ‘Ojebego’ and ‘Ijebego’ stuff the other day?”

COUSIN (Also chuckling understandingly): “Well, more candidates for the same office will still come, too. We tell them all what they want to hear, and collect whatever they have to offer.”

ME: “And then?”

COUSIN: “And then, they go there and fight it out. The best election rigger wins.”

ME: “And, who do you vote for among them?”

COUSIN: “We all vote for whoever that gives us more money to vote for him. We first find out how much each candidate pays, and then vote for the highest bidder. They have paid the chiefs and the executives to solicit their support, forgetting that those ones don’t even go out to vote on the election day. When we the voters get there, the candidates pay us our own money directly, to buy our votes, period!”

Folks, I have just given you the gist of one of the terrible components of Nigerian elections. And, the scenario that I have narrated happens all over the country. Self-serving hypocritical “Emirs” (kings in the north), and Igwes” (kings in the southeast), and “Obas” (kings of the southwest), and kings of the other regions, sell their people to crooks as rulers. So do the so-called “opinion-leaders.” Majority of the voters are hungry, and they sell their votes to the highest criminal bidders. Nobody gives a fuck about the quality of the candidates that they support or vote for, as long as money changes hands. Mind you, what the actual voters receive from the crooks is pittance, not even enough to survive for that one day. They sell four-years of good governance and progress, for less than a day’s meals, meeeeeeen!!!

The foregoing, and election-rigging, are the foundation of the rotten leadership that exists in Nigeria. The sad reason is that only criminals who have stolen enough from public funds can buy the votes, in addition to other humongous electioneering expenses. So, perpetually, the criminals always rig and buy the elections, to the detriment of the country and the people themselves. And then, everybody in the country suffers the consequences of a rotten country that the rotten system engenders. Good and competent people don’t have what it takes to do all that rigging and spending; they don’t have stolen public billions of naira like the crooks. This last piece of information here is very necessary, for non-Nigerians who wonder why a country with abundant intelligent, competent, and decent people is perpetually ruled by few incompetents and criminals, meeeeeeen!!!

Whenever you watch the news now, you will see some APC crooks in Buhari’s present rotten government who aspire to be president doing exactly what I’m talking about. They are no longer doing their jobs, for the next one year, or so. For instance, all public universities have been shut down for three months and counting, due to labor issues, and the Labor Minister is running around trying to buy votes to become president in 2023. Same failure goes for transportation ministry, and the minister is running around buying votes. They, and fifteen or so other APC dudes have purchased APC’s nomination forms for 100 million naira each, presumably, with what they have stolen so far from public funds. If God curses Nigeria and any of them wins, he will steal the country blind, literally, to recover the expenses. They have been traversing across Nigeria to buy the support of kings and chiefs and so-called opinion-leaders. Mind you, the kings know those people to be incompetent crooks, but they are too hypocritical to say so to their faces. They receive every one of the crooks who come to them, and collect their payoffs. They give the same hypocritical solidarity to each of the crooks that visits.

In recent times, the people who the kings and “opinion-leaders” hitherto have been deceiving are now wiser, much thanks to social media. They used to collect their own “shares of our stolen money” from the crooks when they cast their votes. Now, they have taken their wisdom more notches up. They still collect the money from any of the crooks, but they now “vote your conscience and the right candidate,” as social media messages encourage them. Yeah, let’s see if the candidates will start suing such voters to court for breach of contract, meeeeeeeen!!!

When any of the crooks gets into office, his only interest is to steal enough to recoup all his gazillion-naira electioneering expenses. Plus, he has to steal enough for huge profits on his “investment,” of course. And then, he steals more to fund the next election! The same people who sold their votes to the criminals then turn around to complain that the criminals are not developing the country for the betterment of the people. Folks what Nigeria needs more than anything else now is complete Mentality-Overhaul Public Enlightenment Campaign, meeeeeeen!!!

Finally, as promised, I have part 2 of NBB Afro-Cultural titbit for ya! Did you know that most vernacular African names are actually full sentences? In fact, I daresay that actually all of them are full sentences. I stand corrected if anybody shows me an African name that is not a full sentence, or a phrase, at least. And, so are many African words, too. My research so far supports my statement. I started this piece with the Igbo ‘word,’ “Ojebego.” I have already illustrated above that that one word is a sentence.

Now, about names. I will exemplify with my own middle name, which is Igbo vernacular—”Nnadozie.” It is a sentence of two words; a prayer actually, meaning, “May father repair,” or “May father amend.” “Nna” means father,” and “dozie” means repair or amend. The father here is the Almighty father, or God. So, it is “May God repair the broken,” or “May God amend a wrong or damage.”

Another example is taken from the Yoruba language of Nigeria. “Funmi” is a Yoruba female name. It means “Give me.” The ‘n’ is actually silent in pronunciation. It is a shortened form of “Funmilayo,” which means “Give me happiness.” Or “Give me joy.” Again, like my own middle name, it is a prayer, too. Indeed, even the “Funmilayo” that “Funmi” is shortened from, is still not complete. “The whole nine-yards,” as Americans would say, is, “OluwaFunmiLayo.” “Oluwa” is ‘God.’ “Funmi” is ‘give me,’ and “Layo” is ‘joy’ or ‘happiness.’ “May God give me happiness.”

You western guys out there in the West, now you know that our African names are much more meaningful than the names that y’all bear…hahahahahaaah!!! 😁😁 Just a friendly tease at ya! But I know, that you do know, that I ain’t bullshitting ya, meeeeeeen!!!

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