31 July 2013

The Whys of Nigeria - Part 3

I have been chronicling some of the things that make us peculiar under the title 'The Whys Of Nigeria' for many months. Some of these things are in themselves peculiar and can vary from cultural stuff to the plainly ridiculous. This post is the third in the series. Happy reading.

11. Why are old people suspected of witchcraft - Don't get old in Nigeria as you may be suspected to be a witch. I used to think that this was a small town syndrome. I think not anymore. As most prayer merchants will confirm, your old parents are usually suspect No 1 and 2 if you have as much a problem as a cut finger.

It's disconcerting to think innocent people are tainted with this funny belief only because of their age or perhaps because of the way they look.  You have been warned, move out of Nigeria when you are 60.

12. Why do we go about with inhalers in the nostril - Like many things in Nigeria, those who perpetrate this will probably have a ready-made defence. Perhaps because they have a blocked nose; or because they are suffering from cold or catarrh. Whatever the ailment, it's tacky to leave an inhaler in the nostril in the presence of other people.

By the way, it's only one make of inhaler that is usually the victim – ‘Vicks’.

13. Why the belief that twin 2 is older than twin 1 - In the first instance, most twins are content with the fact that they share the womb and are born minutes or hours apart. Not for the Yorubas of Nigeria who are obsessed with age and deference. With them, one twin must be older and accorded the respect it deserves. You guessed right! They believe it's twin 2. Yes, the one born after twin1. Their argument - twin 2 apparently asked twin 1 to go and find out about the world so that it (twin 2) could make a decision to come out from the womb or not. This in their opinion made him older. What ridiculous hair-splitting! Even in the off chance that this was true, since when has someone who got to a place after another person become first in order of priority.  You tell me.

14. Why do we step on the accelerator when a driver indicates to change lanes - Probably because we have to fight for everything in Nigeria. You have to strive for electricity, water, food, to get to work, to relate with colleagues and customers. If you don't, you may be cheated. That's probably the perception that informs stepping on the accelerator when someone indicates to move into your lane. The thought is that this other driver is going to take my place, so he must be restrained at all cost.

Given that most people spend hours on the road as a result of poor infrastructure, another reason may well be that giving way to another car is added time on the road.

Fully aware of this situation, drivers in Nigeria no longer bother to indicate when changing lanes; they just go for it.

15. Why bastardise the acronym JP - In England and I suppose long ago in Nigeria, JP stands for Justice of the Peace to show that those who have it after their names are magistrates.

Recently in Nigeria however, Christian visitors to Jerusalem have hijacked the acronym. Apparently, it now stands for Jerusalem Pilgrim. I suppose, not wanting to be outdone by Muslims who adopt Alhaji after visiting Mecca, Christians who have been to Jerusalem now have something after their names too. Can you imagine Jesus doing this?

Lest I forget, I know someone who having visited Jerusalem four times has after his name JP, JP, JP, JP. 

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