What happened in Benue…is hard to explain

    I recently got to cover a story in Benue and I (Silly Yamika) thought that it was an acknowledgment of my past performance. Sadly, reality (the huge meanie) was setting me up, in a nice office game of pass the buck to the unsuspecting newbie. I am happy to report that rumors that the devil has relocated to Makurdi in Benue are all false. Although I personally think that the red guy would be comfortable if he settles there because, it is hotter than Hades.
    Like a country song , I rolled into an unsuspecting town. I found the people stylish… well about as stylish as 2009. They were polite and overly welcoming in a way that suggests that they expected me to entertain them. Everyone moved at a speed that was mainly slow. The heat only served to exaggerate their nonchalance. I woke up for a 7.30 assignment that finally got going at noon. My articles all got written up and sent by Blackberry, because my laptop couldn’t or wouldn’t catch the internet and it seemed less strenuous than asking for a café. I was given the superb choice between okadas and unmarked taxis. I wonder what it says about me that I prefer the rude bustle of Lagos to the Makurdi calm. I thought it was funny, until it hit me. As bad as it is in Lagos and Abuja, it is worse (and slower) in other places. For many people this was no assignment, no twilight zone and no Truman show, when I left these people would remain there. This was their life.
    Their culture was also very strange to me. There seemed to be a huge aversion to brooms. My arrival coincided with what can best be described as the Salem Makurdi broom trials. As my bus pulled into town, the first thing I noticed was a slew of ‘wanted’ posters with brooms on them. Now I can’t tell you if they were all the same broom or completely different broom because most brooms look pretty much the same to me. Maybe they have a reformed quidditch referee to help with that. The signs were everywhere. Another thing I noticed was the high price of brooms. You would think that with so many brooms going bad, their market value with depreciate.

HAVE YOU SEEN THIS BROOM

    Traffic came to a standstill on the next day as a crowd seemed to have apprehended a family of brooms. They proceeded to drive through town in a huge convoy. There was music and dancing with lots of merriment. The street crowd parted and cheered, as five cars and countless okadas paraded their captives. The celebration continued throughout my stay. I was still wondering what the brooms did, when two days later I rode out of town. There were many decapitated brooms hanging in the wind, I guess as a warning to other brooms. Though, I never did figure out why. Drop me a line if you know.



This is not an endorsement… or is it?

Advertisements

The anarchists guide to Naija weddings

    A.k.a: The Dos , Don’ts and dare to be different guide

    Dos
    1. Go to the church, it’s always incredible how an empty church translates into an overflowing hall.
    2. There is no shame in catching the bouquet (even if you are a married guy*)
    3. Dance… Shamelessly (and with old people and little children)
    4. Worth friending (read ‘bribing’)are the people serving drinks and food, it’s your fast track to all the good stuff.
    5. Bring your own camera (up this by doing number 15)
    6. Do not sit in the corner and sulk. It draws attention in a negative way. Draw attention to yourself… but on your own terms! I suggest violently contrasting with the Dress code.(When in doubt refer to number 13)
      Don’t

    7. Don’t be stupid, even if you are an anarchist arrive on time and get a good seat at the reception. Bad seats can make or break an event! FACT.
    8. Don’t follow other Wedding crashers anywhere: While it worked out in a cute and amusing way for Rachael McAdams, the majority of you will turn out to be the girls in the beginning sequence of the movie, so use your sense.
    9. It’s not about you…IT IS NEVER ABOUT YOU, so back off the bride and stop trying to make her remember your name.
    10. Do not leave your stuff unsupervised, some wedding crashers are pickpockets (Yes, even in church)

      Dare to be different

    11. Spray people with monopoly money and make them work for it!
    12. Take something edible when you sneak up to see the bride and groom on their altar of awkwardness. People forget that they aren’t cake ornaments
    13. You do not have to buy the aso ebi**, especially if you fall into the category of people who have just left college and whose friends all seem to be getting married (ask yourself, “do I really need another blue woodin?”) this is especially true if you are broke and not in the wedding party.

    14. Bring your own ice. Nigeria is Hot!
    15. Take outrageous pictures for facebook and twitter posterity.
    16. Take only one thing that you intend to use from the souvenir package. I doubt you really need a new tray/food flask/picture frame/mug…. let the vultures squabble over the rest or refer to number 18.
    17. Make friends with the people who sit at your table, even if you clearly told them that the seat was reserved.
    18. Divide table into platoons and send them out on missions to score things*** wager leftover souvenirs (winning platoon takes all)

    *say it’s for your wife who you’d gladly marry again! Then die from embarrassment for being so cheesy.
    **traditional material sold by the wedding party to guest for uniformity (it also helps identify crashers because those do not wear it tend to stay within the color scheme)
    ***drinks from other tables, the microphone (losing platoon must make speech), bouquet from bride b4 the toss, figurines from the cake, extra points if they can be repositioned e.t.c.

5 points if taken be4 the toss, only one point if taken after

Hitched

    No offence to Vaugh and Owen but Nigerians invented wedding crashing! We will use the flimsiest excuses to attend a wedding. Anything from false kinship, neighbourship and even a claim that we were friends in primary one (First grade). This behavior should boggle the rational mind but it uses the get out jail free reason that is:

‘Weddings are like raves!’

    The one you miss is always inevitably, the one for the ages. People will continue talking about how much awesome junk they scored (Nigerians give their guests gifts), ate the best food and danced till dawn in comfortable heels, met their future wives/husbands, cured cancer… you get the picture?
    The inconvenient truth is the Nigerian weddings like all weddings are just plain inconvenient. Terrible music (a constant clash between the old school band to please the parents and a cool DJ who keeps getting cut off…Yeah DAD I’m talking to you), the awkward place settings to create even more awkward situations where strangers (read crashers) arguing that they are friends of the groom from his bank but have never actually met. The food is always:
    a. cold
    b. tasteless
    c. strange
    d. undercooked
    e. overcooked
    f. d. & e.
    g. late
    h. all or none of the above.
    When it comes to nuptials, the Nigerian population does not RSVP. They however get very offended if they are not invited (even if the last time you met was on the 1st day of primary one) They like to play fast and loose with the concept of gift giving. They may not get the couple an actual present but lots of people will leave the wedding thinking how generous Mr& Mrs So&so is based on the lovely towel set they received branded with the words ‘Wedded bliss to Babs&Ken forever! Curtsey Mr& Mrs So&so’
    Nigerians love to party. When they can get away with it, a wedding is preceded by:
    1) The introduction (which was traditionally were the families meet but these days it includes half a million of your closest friends in matching gear in what is actually a prelude to the engagement party)
    2) The engagement (the traditional wedding, more matching outfits, lots more music, food, shouting old women and the dowry which inevitably includes a pregnant goat… I think to symbolize fertility)
    The richer the family the bigger the events. People begin to tag on and invent events: the wedding shower, different from the hen night, a western style engagement party, the bachelor party, the party party, the post-wedding-bachelor-party etc. Still, you’ve gotta love Nigeria because in spite of all this countless people continue to get married and countless more continue to attend. It is not uncommon for young people to get dressed and go prowling for a wedding party, recreationally, I guess, this Umpteenth time is the charm!