I can imagine the quizzical look on your face when you saw the caption. Black man, you know; but pray, what is meant by “BIG, BLACK WAHALA”? Well, yes, wahala can be said to be big. But black? Abi is there white wahala? Or maybe red?
Before I plunge into my treatise, I make a disclaimer: the views here expressed may be controversial, but I'm sure they're well thought-out. And being that I, myself, am a Black Man, I can’t be accused of being racist. Maybe I can be accused of “same-race-hatred”, but believe me, that’s as far from the truth as you can get. I very much love the colour of my skin and think I’d have looked rather ugly as a White Man, and uglier as a Red Man (if that’s what Asians are called).
Now, with every passing day, particularly each time I listen to the local news (or African news), I can’t help but shake my head and exclaim, “OH, BLACK MAN!” This is because there must be something reported in every news broadcast which assists in confirming one’s opinion that there is something very wrong with the black man. Whether this “very wrong thing” springs from the make-up of our DNA; or something in the air we breathe; or something buried deep within our earth which contaminates the crops we harvest to eat, which ends up messing-up our brains; or the fact that our ancestors were so bloody terrible in their ways that we (and those that’ll come after us) shall keep paying for the sins they committed donkey-years ago, I really don’t know. But there definitely is something wrong somewhere. And that thing isn’t a small thing o; it is a “looooooooonnngggg ting” (apologies to DBanj). And it always results in, not just wahala, but BIG, BLACK WAHALA.
My definition of BIG, BLACK WAHALA is simply, “Wahala that is so deep, or extreme, or malignant in nature that it’s unlikely to be of physical causes, but most likely is of spiritual origins.” Therefore, BIG, BLACK WAHALA= SPIRITUAL WAHALA. QED.
What has set me on the course of psychological theorizing and spiritual conjecturing? My people, it is dis somtin that’s called Voters’ Registration Exercise. Pardon my extreme use of language, but it is turning out to be a sham! (Hey, hey, hold-on; don’t crucify me yet for being a scare-monger and exaggerator, particularly for those of you who have registered. I will explain why I categorize it as such).
For me, there are two things most painful about the fact of its being a sham:
1. About N80,000,000,000.00 (Eighty BILLION Naira) was expeditiously approved by the National Assembly for Professor Attahiru Jega’s INEC, and that was after the total amount requested for was jacked-up twice. (After his first submission, twice, he went to the National Assembly to add some more billions and request them to be approved. THEY WERE ALL APPROVED).
2. The fact that schools across the country remain shut for the purpose of this Voters’ Registration exercise, ensuring that children remain at home, even though our President’s kids’ school, the American International School in Abuja, is open and currently in session. So, the question is simply this: considering the whooping amount of money approved and disbursed to INEC; considering the fact that all the monies “Mr Clean Boy/ Integrity” Professor Jega requested to be granted to him was granted; considering the huge sacrifice our children have been made to bear, staying at home even though their colleagues who were “lucky” enough to have been born by the President and the Vice-President and the Ministers are going to school; considering that this isn’t the first or second time since the advent of democratic-rule in 1999 that we’ll be doing this exercise, WHY, OH WHY do we still have to be told such ABSOLUTE NONSENSE when we get to the Registration Centers like, “sorry sir, battery-pack is down. There is no light here, so we have gone to heaven to charge it. Come back later” or “Oga, go to the other center if not you go teyyyyy for this one” or “Madam, there is no spirit to clean your fingers. You get for house?” or “na bad computer dem send give us; d ting no dey work!” OH; BLACK MAN!
One week into this exercise, it has been the exception for people to go to the Registration Centers closest to them on the first day and be registered; you have to return at least two times before you are “successfully registered”. Now, you notice I put “successfully registered” in quotes. That is because, my good people, despite all the time wasted, and being beaten by the sun, and finally being happy to have been “registered”, your registration just might- at the end of the day- be null and void and of no consequence! OH; BIG, BLACK WAHALA!
We are being told now that a lot of the Corpers registering people are doing a whole load of- permit my Spanish- BULLSHIT! At least, I heard it from the horse’s (Prof Jega) mouth yesterday in the news. Some Registration Officers (The Corpers) use their discretion to take only a thumb-print when the ten finger-prints should be taken (except you’re an amputee). Some of the pictures taken for the card are so blurred, the registrant looks like a ghost! When a Registration Officer was asked by someone he was registering why only one finger-print was taken, he was said to have responded, “Capturing all is taking too long a time; we can use our discretion to capture one.” When the registrant pressed on, the Corper snapped, “Abeg you can go to the next center o, this no be my Papa job; AFTER ALL, DEM NEVER EVEN PAY US OUR ALLOWANCE!” Ohhhh, despite all the Billions, the allowances of the Corpers are being owed them? OH; BLACK MAN!
Now, our President is already giving us hints that the exercise will be extended so that “no one is disenfranchised” He said as much yesterday in the news. We didn't need a crystal ball to know that this day will come, even though officials indulged in their usual false-optimism built on quick-sand when the exercise was about beginning, saying that all was set to go smoothly and to plan. After all, I doubt if there's ever been a time an exercise of this magnitude has ever been completed within the allotted time-frame. And it only becomes all the more sickening when they (the officials) are the ones who set the time-frame in the first place, with no one holding a gun to their heads to commit. Problem is this: I know, somehow, that even if eternity is used for this exercise, my good people, lots of folks will still be disenfranchised. Last time we had Americans in the Voters’ Register. Mike Tyson and George Bush were in our Register even when thousands of Nigerians weren’t able to get their names in it. This time around, despite the billions of Naira, the closed schools and the extensions, we must pray very hard that Barack Obama and Hu Jintao aren’t included. But being that BIG, BLACK WAHALA still subsists, I’m not betting on it. We should even count ourselves lucky if the elections hold as planned, and the handover date remains May 29th. The handwriting is clear on the wall: the arrangements are shoddy, and things are being rushed.
Why must we (Black Man) ALWAYS prove that we’re incapable of adequately handling our issues? Why must even the simplest things be made to look so complex? (Please let’s not even speak about complex things.) Why is it that despite huge monies, enough time, and more than adequate resources (both human and otherwise), we still manage to mess things up BIG TIME? We are forever learning, and we’ve got accustomed to the talk of “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” But Rome wasn’t built forever either!
I’m not just referring to Nigerians here; that is why I say BLACK MAN. It’s not only a Nigerian problem. Look at Ivory Coast. If Gbagbo knew he’d not abide by the result, why did he even allow the elections to take place in the first place? Or why didn’t he do what “we’re” most expert at doing: rig the elections! Look at Sudan (although they’re half Arabs too. But the Arabs there even look black.) There’s a referendum that has taken place, and South Sudan wants to have their country because of all the years of war and being unable to co-exist with the North. Now they’ve voted to secede, the North is uneasy, and trouble is brewing. Stay together, no way; go your separate ways, no way! Ha; Black Man! Look at most countries of sub-Saharan Africa, for instance, DR Congo and its endless internecine wars. They have fought for so long that shooting guns and planting landmines have ceased giving them kicks. They now go on raping-sprees, defiling every woman that has shown the slightest signs of maturity, and even a few ones still immature.
Well, I’m a Black Man and a Nigerian, and there’s nothing I can do about it. There’s nothing I even want to do about it. If I were an American, I will be at risk of being shot by an insane man who is angry at one Government policy or the other (as if I’m the Government); if I’m an Australian, I’ll be at risk of being swept away by a flood, or a mudslide; if I were Chinese, apart from speaking as if I had hot yam in my mouth, I’ll be at risk of being killed by one earthquake or the other; and if I were Arab, I’ll stand the risk of having a very precious part of my body chopped off for “looking somehowly at a woman” (because look at a woman, I must; whether as a Nigerian or an Arabian. I mean, aren’t women by far the loveliest creatures ever created?)
However, I think the earlier we got to the root of our problems- whether physiological, psychological, spiritual, metaphysical; the earlier we can understand why it is that we just keep going round in circles, making the same mistakes year-in, year-out, the better for us.
Now, this is not to claim that if I were Jega, or Jonathan, I might have performed differently. After all, I’M A BLACK MAN!