OUR N10BN OWAMBE PARTY
Are we actually spending N10 billion naira on the 50th independence anniversary of this great country? Are we? We are, ehn? So why are 'aralditic' enemies of progress complaining that it is too much money for one party? I simply don't understand you people at all? How can N10billion be too big to celebrate 50 years of independence? My math is worse than Nigerian roads during the raining season but how much is N10billion divided by 50 in naira? How much does it come to per year? Are you saying that is what our nationhood is worth per year?
You guys know how much a Nigerian spends on 50th birthday; the designer tents, the branded table water, branded wine, red carpet, aso ebi, designer food… sometimes it is a three-day or even a one-week affair. And that is only one of us 150 million Owambe Nigerians. So how can N10 billion become an issue? It is a party for Chrissakes! I think we need N50 billion to celebrate 50 years of our independence. Anything less is disgracefully miserly. I am tired of these sanctimonious, grandstanding poverty-stricken protesters. They should go and sit in their dust bin.
There is so much to celebrate. We have come so far so fast in 50 years . Even the blind can see that. Let's start with the World Cup that is going on in South Africa. Not even U.S can boast of having more 'delegates' than Nigeria. All the money we refused to spend on preparing our team to win the trophy we have used to buy tickets and book the best hotel rooms to SA. Everybody is there, even governors who owe salaries found money to buy tickets for their delegates. And trust my people, they will shop until they drop. Most of them won't go to the stadium to watch a single match.
They will be playing ball in their hotel rooms. A smart girl would have set up a travel agency quick quick and make fast bucks instead of writing this back page column. The commission on each ticket would have made me a multi-millionaire. Now isn't that something to celebrate? 50 years ago, were we putting the world powers to shame with our delegates at World Cup? Were we taking all available chartered planes, presidential aircrafts and causing hitches and jams at airports?
Long gone are the days when money was the problem of this nation. Long gone are the days when we had problems with what to do with money. These days we have the money and we know how to spend it. Go to South Africa and verify. That is something to celebrate, trust me. Once upon a time, there was a place called Dahomey, a small place that looked up to a place called Nigeria. Then Dahomey became Republic of Benin and Nigeria started buying canned tomatoes from there. Then Nigeria also grew in stature and status. Now we 'export' our children to Republic of Benin colleges and Universities, in exchange for 'imported' tokunbo cars, tinned tomatoes and smuggled rice. Don't laugh. Nigeria has to celebrate that. Our education system has so improved that N10 billion is paltry sum to spend on this anniversary. All our schools are doing great. Or have our public schools given way to private schools and then foreign universities? We certainly are moving on. I think this calls for a long night of Yinka Ayefele party. I love his music when I really want to dance.
I remember my secondary school days. My Addae taught me Physics in Form 3, Monsieur Lawson taught French, Mr Patrick taught Bible Knowledge, I forget the math's teacher's name now. That must be because he always carried a cane and by form 5, I'd decided I didn't have to go to math class and put up with him. All of them were Ghanaians. They came to Nigeria in search of greener pastures and found it. Those who were not teaching got other jobs. It was Ghanaian 'shoe makers' who added the word 'sew bata' to our lexicon. Those were the days when there were enough jobs for Nigerians and surplus for foreigners. Ghanaians sold 'banku', palm wine, Ghana soap etc. Nigerians proudly lived in Nigeria. Today?
We have cowardly become immigrants all over the world. We are now illegal immigrants in Ghana. Our children that are not in Dahomey are in Ghana. Nigerians are now selling ' fufu' in Accra and second-hand clothes in Takoradi. And the Ghanaian are fed up with us. They say we are cramping up their space and polluting their air. We are now begging them to let us stay in their beautiful country. Those 'sew bata' of the 80s are now our landlords and lecturers in Kumasi and Capecoast. And you say we should not celebrate with N10 billion? I think Nigerians should come home and let's party. Did I also tell you I like Alhaji Kollington Ayinla's brand of Fuji music? I think we should dance 'fuji ropopo' all night. We have done so well for ourselves.
Are our roads not enough reasons to celebrate? When we are not dodging craters, gullies and potholes on the footpaths that we call highways, we are hiding in the bush, waiting for armed robbers to finish their business and close shop before we continue our journeys. Now we have bigger trailers, air conditioned buses and tankers than we used to. Bring out the glasses. Now we also see those tankers dumping their liquid contents on the air conditioned buses and making suya of tax payers on our expressway to untimely graves.
Uncork the champagne bottles and let the ministers of works and transport in the last 30 years supervise the toast to decades of human suya on our roads.
The founding fathers built railways and bequeathed them to us. They bought trains and willed them to us. Like the other family silver, we have sold the railways and the trains. Where is Sir Shina Peters? I love afro juju because the difference is clear. If for only the trains and the rails that have disappeared, we must dance 'Ijo Shina'.
What's there not to celebrate about electricity supply? Aren't we all generating our own supplies? We have come a long way since uninterrupted power supply to generators and inverters. I even think we should have a Generator Summit for all our 'partners'. You'd be shocked at how many countries would attend. A Borehole Summit to chart the 'way forward' on how to improve individual water supply system is also important. We'd need cakes in the shape of generators and pumping machine for those events and they don't come cheap.
There once were cocoa plantations, groundnut pyramids and farm settlements in this country. But we are now so sophisticated we import tooth picks, non? We should have a highlife concert to celebrate that great feat. Can I exhaust all the reasons for us to celebrate? I've not mentioned the great business of kidnapping and its tax-free profits. I've not mentioned our propensity to inflate contracts. I don't even want to talk of royal fathers fighting in public, lawmakers throwing one another down storey buildings and other such great achievements that Zik of Africa, Awo and Balewa would be proud of. All I know is celebrating 50 years of our greatness certainly requires more than N10 billion naira. All the parties, food, drinks, musicians, souvenirs, symposia, seminars and march past on the graves of the founding fathers will require money, plenty of it.