Due to the fact that I picture myself as much more than a Nigerian (I like seeing myself as a global citizen that should be able to fit into any country, culture or continent), I try to be sensitive to the similarities that exist between my native culture and foreign cultures far and wide. I haven’t mastered all the similarities yet and there’s a lot of room for improvement but I’m no novice either.
Right from my elementary school days, I’ve always known that culture is the total way of life of a group of people. Furthermore, I know that the major distinction that stands to differentiate cultures from each other is the element of language. Now, when there are similarities between the sounds, spellings and even words in 2 different languages, you cannot help but start to wonder how this came to be.
For example, I was reading the Bible the other day and I saw the words, ‘TOLA’ and ‘DODO’, which in Yoruba language means, ‘with or for riches, wealth or affluence’ for ‘TOLA’, while ‘DODO’ is a local delicacy made by frying plantain.
Another example is the case of the hourly sounds that are made by the old standing grandfather clocks. These clocks CHIME every hour. The word ‘CHIME’ is also an Igbo name, although in this case, it is pronounced ‘CHEE-MAY’
How about ‘CHIME’?
The clocks chime on the hour, every hour but yet there’s no sign of the erstwhile Governor of Enugu State, Nigeria- Mr Sullivan Chime. This is a sad, unnecessary and totally unfair scenario that is played again in the minds of every Nigerian. I really cannot lay my fingers on the circumstances that led to this highly discomfitting state where the populace of Enugu State are being kept in the dark, regarding the whereabouts of the Numero Uno of their state.
Not many Nigerians would forget in a hurry the late ex-President of Nigeria, Umaru Musa Yar’adua, who despite being a man with a fragile health condition, underwent the rigours of a vigourous political campaign from ‘Dan to Beersheba’ of the nation. I can vividly remember when midway through the nationwide campaign, there were rumours of Yar’adua’s death, long before a single vote was cast. Alas, we had forgotten about the element of truth in every rumour. Perhaps, the rumour mongers had seen the poor weak man collapsing out of sheer exhaustion from the campaign, but such news was carefully and efficiently kept away from the media.
Even at that time, the then president of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, dismissed rumours of Yar’adua’s death in the most comical manners by calling him (Yar’adua) on phone during one of the open-air campaigns that Yar’adua had missed and using speakers to project to the congregated masses what was being said. Laughs were shared and the issue about Yar’adua’s health were swept under the carpet.
Yar’adua eventually won the election, but day by day, he showed signs of being crushed by the daily pressures of leading Africa’s most populous nation. Yet, the psychophants and ‘yes-men’ that he surrounded himself with (NO DISRESPECT TO THE DEAD) could not give him quality advice since he had to be the president for them to survive. This was getting to be more than a symbiotic relationship, or even commensalism. This was parasitism……………..
TO BE CONTINUED