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World Toilet Day, and a nation’s expensive shit

By Prince Charles Dickson PhD
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Nigeria—The dialogue of the deaf, demanding a lot of shouting, a great deal of gesticulation and a great deal of repetition; a dialogue which, despite all efforts, often ends in a misunderstanding—a most frustrating dialogue. Dim Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu

Eran na goat o, for Yoruba land
Him go bend him yansh him go shit
Him go commot away from him shit
Him shit go be the last thing wey he go like to see

Because why o? (Because the shit dey smell!)

Obo na monkey for Yoruba land
Him go bend him yansh him go shit
Him go commot away from him shit
Him shit go be the last thing wey he go like to see

Because why o? (Because the shit dey smell!)

Obinrin na woman for Yoruba land
She go bend she yansh she go shit
She go commot away from she shit
She shit go be the last thing wey she go like to see

Because why o? (Because the shit dey smell!)

Okunrin na man for Yoruba land
Him go bend him yansh him go shit
Him go commot away from him shit
Shit go be the last thing wey he go like to see

Because why o? (Because the shit dey smell!)

Tell me now now
Me I be Fela, I be Black Power man
I go bend my yansh I go shit
I go commot away from the shit
The shit go be the last thing wey I go like to see

No be so for some fools wey I know
No be so for some stupid people I know
No be so for some fools wey I know

People wey go like to quench your soul

[Chorus]
En! Alagbon o

Them go use your shit to put you for jail
En! Alagbon o
And don tell my shit too expensive shit
En! Alagbon o
My shit na exhibit, it must not lost o
En! Alagbon o
And don tell my shit too expensive shit
En! Alagbon o
My shit na exhibit, it must not lost o
En! Alagbon o

En! Alagbon o
En! Alagbon o

So like many days that are marked the World Toilet Day came and with very little attention till next year again. Many days are marked in these our fast paced world. And with very little or no significance attached to the days themselves.
So while a few reflected on the general state of our sanitation, the lack of toilets, how public spaces, and facilities do not possess any and how efforts are not made to cater for people with disabilities in the same regard.

I was torn by the hypocrisy of governance as I sang Fela's all time classic expensive shit. In Plateau state there was a frenzy of activities largely painting all in a bid to deceive a visiting President (I hear he's no longer visiting) Expensive Shit!

On the 10th September 2015, His Excellency, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, Executive Governor OF Niger State, delivered a statewide broadcast on the state of affairs in the Power State.

Apart from the policy thrust of his government, and what he had done so far, he took time to reveal the sordid way and manner the last administration ran the State financially.

Amongst the many crimes of the big-eyed-one; “Selling of quoted shares of the State by the State Development Company amounting to more than N 500M, which was never remitted to the account of the state. Also the sum of N1.06Billion was disbursed in 2014 purportedly for Ramadan Iftar while N897M was spent on the purchase of Sallah Rams. Contract for digging of pit latrines was awarded at N6M each. This indeed must take Expensive Shit!

Meanwhile, no one should ask me, what kind of pit latrines cost N6M, and with the hunger in the land, what human waste was going to be disposed in such latrines, remains a big question, and sure it's worth asking how much would a modern rest room have cost in the power state for expensive shit.

Such “lootocracy” is very well child's play compared to many states, in some, websites were built for xyz sums, or monies disappeared with ghost contractors, and in others, they simply turned governance into family and clan affairs. Expensive Shit!

Tell me where is the toilet and I will show you exactly who is “shitting there”. The Ikoyi monies has become nothing but expensive shit, as the Maina Pension Scam continues many of our senior citizens have been denied toilets, and told to look at their feces.

Expensive Shit is political language, until all those denying us a healthy sanitation are prosecuted, found guilty and punished for such despicable acts, nothing will change. And I dare say, no one would be punished; if the noise were loud enough, many would cry victimization, and leave him/her/them alone would be the chant! Faith, ethnicity and political affiliations would be currency, the law in Nigeria, which has a “big ass”, would equally play its role.

As a number of governors start their campaigns for 2019, they have forgotten the toilets they promised us in 2015 and are throwing Expensive Shit on us with their own “spree” of despicable acts, and are already on course to give us a repeat performance of what took place in Niger state.

In Lagos, we have seen the Hajj scam, in Plateau, the governor is reportedly buying properties like peanuts and painting roads that were constructed by other administrations, in Imo Rochas has completed his dissertation on sculpting based on the speed at which he seems to have erections everywhere in the state. I recall he was also one of those governors that inherited an empty treasury from himself. In Ekiti, governance has largely been Fayose-cracy, while he continues to play chief opposition leader.

While I remain a cautious optimist on the Nigerian project; many of us however are not ready to interrogate leadership, we are still yet to put interventionist mechanism and systems that can stop our leaders “expensive shit”, or build toilets that are masses-focused, do we want to clean the “shit” or we rather have latrines everywhere—Only time will tell

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