Chronicle of a Hopeful Nigerian by Jite Efemuaye

Chronicle of a Hopeful Nigerian by Jite Efemuaye

Or What to do When NEPA Brings Light After One Week

 

This morning I woke up to work trying to ‘mise’ the power on my laptop because we’ve not had light for over a week. It’s almost at 50% when *gasp* UP NEPA!!!

Panic hit me. What to do first (besides the obvious finish up with my work). Should I iron? Pump water? Fill water bottles and put in the fridge?  I fire off a mail to my bosses asking for permission to come in late and then I decide to *wait for it* write this piece.

All the above listed things are still waiting for my attention but I have made a conscious decision not to be local and run upandan like somebody that has not seen light before (na me go still suffer am later).

“If you give the Nigerian 11 hours of electricity, it would be as confusing as 11 women vying for his attention; he wouldn’t know the first thing to do. Should I have sex with all 11 of them or should I watch them have sex with themselves? Light is a porous deal; there’s always an undertone to such generosity (hint: election is on the way!). He is not used to such waste of power, he wonders why he should have light when he doesn’t need it and feels guilty not doing anything about it. So instead of a nap, he is going to watch TV, make good use of the light, until his eyes turn red.” (26 Ways to Know a Nigerian)

On Saturday, March 1, 2015, Crown Troupe of Africa took the stage at Ethnic Heritage Centre, Ikoyi, Lagos to interpret ‘Chronicles of a Nigerian’, a compilation of 21 articles written by Joy Isi Bewaji for staging.sabinews.com.

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The skits were a fascinating blend of monologues, singing, dancing, miming and some very on point acting. There was no fumbling of lines, the costumes exaggerated, as befits  a parody of the Nigerian situation: the pastor in his rumpled suit and his flock all dressed alike, responding in the same way to his prompts; the father  of the 30-year-old inventor of electric boxers with his bent back and shaky voice; the big-breasted Saliat who becomes second wife to a mechanic who is already the father of seven girls and looking for a son; the 70k-a-month young man who is looking for love and his high-heels-wearing girlfriend; the husband and wife fighting and making love with equal fervor; the mother of four underage children who sends them off to school hanging on to an okada man for dear life as she prays, “Na my God go see dem reach school. No devil fit near dis okada. As a child of God I don cover dem with blood of Jesus. Carry go.”

This is the Nigerian situation, what Fela referred to as suffering as smiling.

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There is a recurrence of the religious theme in the skits, an indicator of the importance of religion in the everyday decision making of the average Nigeria. In the fraudster who goes with his tithe to be personally delivered to his pastor and receives blessing and the young lady heading for church after a Saturday Night of clubbing and fornication, the hypocrisy of religiousity is laid bare.

Christianity is used almost exclusively, maybe because that’s what the writer is familiar with or because Christians are not as touchy as adherents of other religions.

Politicians are not left out of the mix. Ghana must go bags which have come to symbolize corruption move across the stage, cradled the arms of dark-shades-wearing men and woman. The podium is set up for a political aspirant of the Chop I Chop (CIC) Party who makes the most outlandish promises.

With titles like

This is How Dreams Die in Nigeria

As I Go Jogging, I See Drama

In Lagos, Falling in Love Starts with Red Lipstick

Bros, You Earn 70k a Month and You Want Love, Hian!!!

We Are Nigerians; This is Who We Are,

there is plenty to laugh at and plenty to cause introspection; to make one see beyond the antics of the actors on stage and x-ray one’s self.

None of the monologues reach out as much as Letter to a Young Nigerian. “To be a young adult in a country-like-Nigeria means you might need to try harder than the average person,” the actor says, the voice is hers but the words are undoubtedly those of Joy Isi Bewaji as she goes on to explain, scold and then advises: “Whatever this country-called-Nigeria has denied you, it is somewhere in a book around you.”

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The Segun Adefila-led Crown Troupe of Africa took 21 articles and turned them into amazing art, living stories.

The lesson for me here is that no matter how bad the Nigeria situation there is always something that can be made from it. Like using the long-awaited light to write this piece.

I remain, eternally yours,

 

A Hopeful Nigerian

 

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