Tag Archives: fun

Colours of Christmas in Eastern Nigeria

As an Igbo girl, eastern Nigeria is my default Christmas destination. I go right down to my roots, to my Father’s village! I have done this for all my life and I can hardly remember Christmas not spent in the village. I am not alone either, every Christmas, there is a massive exodus of Igbos from the cities down to the east. I join that exodus every year and it is fun. The fun starts with the trip – the mad scramble for bus tickets (for the many who do not have cars), the packing to fit everything that we MUST carry in bags and boots, then of course, the accidental meeting of friends on our way homewards and the mad frenzy to get out of the city before the 25th of December. To sound religious or romantic (whichever) I could say the origin of Igbos travelling home for Christmas is rooted in the bible when Joseph and Mary had to travel to their hometown to be counted but I will be the first to admit right here and now, amaro m. I don’t know why we go to the east, I just know we go to the east and Christmas in the eastern part of Nigeria is fun!

Maybe it’s fun because everybody comes back, those cousins you haven’t seen in ages, those family friends who you haven’t visited in forever in the big city, everybody comes down and its communal living all over again with the beautiful harmattan breeze, burning firewood smell in the air and general laziness that comes with the season setting the mood really nicely for all of us.

Maybe it’s the general laziness that makes it fun, the endless “gists” about anything and everything while we nibble on everything in sight in tranquillity, that could be the reason we all rush back. If not, It could be the ceremonies that make it fun! Because all of us have run away from the hustle and bustle of the different cities and have found ourselves in the east, we fix memorable occasions to coincide with it too and then we jump from one igba nkwu to one birthday to one wedding and another title taking and then a get-together gorging ourselves on lavish food, meeting people, spraying money in the air and “gisting” as we go!

It could be the joy of our grandparents that makes the visit to the east so appealing at christmas. The visits to the nneochies and nnaochies who are ever glad to see us.

There is healthy abi unhealthy competition in the east too, that could be what makes homegoing fun or not so fun, we don’t set out to compete when we get there we just tell stories that drive very scary competition by their very nature “nwanne, I nukwa na Emeka bu G-wagon nata obodo a?”, “Enyi, I makwa na-anyi ga-egbulu umunna efi this Christmas”, “Bia, I fuu Obi? A nu m na o si obodo oyibo nata and o na-eme ofuma” and on and on we go, telling success story after the other and setting scarier higher standards for those who have no stories to tell, wahala!

I personally think it’s the sleep that makes it fun, that very satisfying sleep at the end of a day spent catching up, visiting friends and partying, when you fall into bed with a smile on your face and hug Mama’s wrapper tighter to create a cosy cocoon without the intrusion of the harmattan breeze. Then the mornings when no alarm goes off and you wake up late with thoughts of what next to eat, who next to visit and what to wear for the day’s activities.

I don’t know what makes Christmas in the east so much fun, I just know I am headed that way again this Christmas!

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BEYOND THE JOKES

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ANONYMOUS LAWYER

I had a great laugh too watching the first lady’s video that went viral, especially the remix of the video featuring one former honourable member. Yes, it was funny and that was it! Then I read an article captioned ‘a forensic analysis of the first lady’s cry’, all aimed at castigating the first lady’s use of Pidgin English and the constitutionality of the office of the first lady. It is laughable that the writer still refers to her as the ‘first lady’ in his caption even while questioning her right to be addressed as that. The 1999 constitution does not recognize the office of the 1st lady and neither does the American constitution, however the term “first lady” is used by both countries and by many other countries we would want to model Nigeria after. This position is recognized as a de facto affiliation to the presidency and this simply means that it is founded upon common and general practice, created or developed and not contrary to any regulation. That is to say, that recognition of the office of the first lady would be a problem if it contradicted any law or legislation.

Michelle Obama who many name in contrast to Patience Jonathan is the forty-sixth official first lady of the United States which means that even the United States associate with this common practice. People like Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosalynn Carter and Hillary Clinton all wore the first lady tag during their husbands’ tenure in office. It might also be useful to mention that the office is funded from the presidency and this has been so in Nigeria with all past heads of state and Presidents from Azikiwe till date.

Dame Patience convening a meeting in that capacity then, should not be voided on the grounds that it is unconstitutional as the meeting is legitimate. In answer to the issue of legitimacy, two questions come to mind, who convened the meeting and who did the meeting reach out to? In response to both questions, I borrow the words of the critics to say that it was convened “for a set of ladies who call themselves first ladies”. Soyinka being knowledgeable can choose to call them an ‘association’. Having answered in that context, it is pertinent to emphasize that Nigeria by its enshrinement of the ‘Universal Declaration on Human Rights’ into the constitution upholds freedom of association. This is the right of people to join or leave groups as they choose, and for the group to take collective action to pursue the interests of its members. It is both an individual right and a collective right, guaranteed by all modern and democratic legal systems. Bearing this in mind, the first lady’s meeting obviously reached out to first ladies of states and these first ladies have neither complained about the association nor their meetings and have chosen of their own free will to be part of the group. In clear indication of a willingness to be part of this group, the first lady of Borno state who was unavoidably absent, sent a representative, showing an interest in the #bringbackourgirls campaign brought before them as an association.

A senior advocate who recently rejected the invitation to be part of the constitutional committee set up by the President was also quick to quote laws on the unconstitutionality of the panel set up by Dame Patience. With due respect to the learned silk, I find this a misconception, the situation at hand is one of national security were all citizens ought to give reasonable assistance to help address the menace of insecurity. Dame Patience did not approach the legislative arm of government to implement the recommendations of a fact finding committee nor did she order the deployment of military personnel to Borno, she only tried to contribute to the issue at hand.

On the issue of questions raised by the first lady, questions must be asked for problems to be solved. America in volunteering to help has mentioned the need for a forensic test where scientists will be deployed to capture biometric data, linking the biological parents to their children. Nobody has seen that as an indirect way of seeking information, right? But we quickly blame the first lady for asking questions.

We are in the digital age where twitter, facebook, mobile apps are available for us to make helpful opinions and suggestions in times like this. I did laugh at the video and will still laugh at its comic value but beyond that, we should see the deep desire and passion to bring back our girls. Even if the tears were fake as some people have said, we should still be moved. Majority of us have been emotionally affected merely watching paid actors and actresses in the past, why then can we not be moved by the first lady’s tears especially as we have no way of knowing certainly if they were real or not. We need to refocus on the core issue at hand which is to get our children back, the constitutionality of the first lady’s office and her expression or lack of is secondary to this.

We should continuously find out ways we can help, discover what roles to play or even simply pray for our nation. This isn’t a time to cast blames or even ridicule Dame Patience, these will not solve our problems. There really is God and he is the only exalter, who knows, YOU might be the next leader he exalts, (laughs) then Nigeria might become a better place and I won’t be writing this.