Mama Nigeria: The Parable of A Mother

Posted: September 23, 2013 in Uncategorized


By Prince Charles Dickson

“You do not spit it out, and yet you do not swallow it”.

Addressing the 54th Annual Conference of the Nigerian Economic Summit that held in Abuja last week, president Goodluck Jonathan blamed the level of corruption in Nigeria on the society. He said instead of punishing corrupt people, WE reward them.

‘When you talk about corruption, the private sector is involved; the public sector is involved; even the individuals, including other societies, and I wouldn’t want to mention names so that I will not be attacked. But I know that if collectively all of US don’t reward corruption, people would not be attracted to corrupt practices, but when WE all reward corruption, then of course, we will be tempted to go in that direction.

Same week, he said, in an effort to improve and encourage the use of cars manufactured in the country, the FG said it would soon ban importation of foreign cars. He made this known in an address at the opening ceremony of the 2013 Annual National Management Conference of the Nigeria Institute of Management NIM at Udo Udoma House in Uyo Akwa Ibom State.

The President lied, because this is the same nation that imports toothpick, fish, meat, table water, but again please indulge me, and patiently let US read on, this is not about Jonathan really

When last did you buy kerosene anywhere in Nigeria at regulated price, many mothers and their children, are in some filling stations in search of the product. These are mothers that have to manage from the lean resources their oga at the bottom drops.

And you still at loss, if this conversation is about Kerosene, I know a few of my readers do not use cooking fuel, we are the bourgeoisie of the cooking gas era, so we never really mind.

Within the same week, it was alleged the Minister of State for Finance, Dr Yerima Ngama said that the 2013 budget was no longer implementable due to what he called ‘over-bloated revenue estimates…”, and quickly the Senate, directed its Committee on Finance to, as a matter of urgency, summon the two ministers of finance to appear before it to defend the allegation.

Now to the story of my mom, your, Jonathan’s mom and a few mothers. My mom passed on some three years and I could only find this most appropriate to drive home what we have lost and what the problem is, and what the solution maybe after my few paragraphs above.

Can you recall what it felt like to be raised by an African mother.

When we grew up as kids, we got our buttocks whipped. That is basic! She used a piece of cloth commonly called a ‘wrapper’ to carry us about until we could walk unaided, really it wasn’t the days of pampers.

Mom ran the house and you had better learn this early. There’s a very high likelihood that our dad will back her up if you get into trouble.

We got whipped if we don’t eat our veggies or any food she puts on the table.

Older kids are expected to take care of younger kids and if mom came back to find an unpalatable situation, the whipping is communally shared by all kids.

It’s always better to take the whipping immediately; running away only increases the degree of your crime.

There were endless fountain of stories and tales. Telling moonlight tales, especially when the power goes out, though this was rare then, but it was a common occurrence in many homes then, if you had electricity.

Stealing a bite of something delicious left in the kitchen is a sure way to have a bad night.

In general, stealing is worse than any other crime you might commit. You will be ‘returned to factory settings’ with the nearest available whip.

Educated moms tend to take school homework seriously and in many cases, you do receive some level of homeschooling at the earlier stages. If someone comes to lay a complaint against you, it’s cultural for your mother to sometimes chastise you publicly and then comfort you privately.

If however, it’s something major, expect the opposite. She’ll stand her ground and protect you but whip your brains out when you get home.

Sign Language: Our mothers then communicated through sign language – This leads to the next point. When offered sweets/food during a courtesy visit, it is wise to look in the direction of your mother and receive the all-clear (friendly smile) or the try-that-and-die stare.

If she suddenly stops in the hallway and stares at you, make sure you instantly try to remember what chore or errand is left hanging.

When you’re having a ‘planned’ whooping buttocks session, you’re responsible for getting the decided item your buttocks is going to get whooped with. This is a trick. If you get something too small, they’ll get a bigger one. There’s a technique to getting the right size whooping item.

No matter where you’re going, your mother will lather you in cocoa butter until you’re shining like you sweat oil.

Being raised by an African mom like my mother, there is a pretty good chance you will never ever throw a tantrum in her presence, much less direct it at her. That just doesn’t fly.

It would very likely earn you a slap across the face – a hot one! Whatever your objections to a situation, you will very humbly state them (if at all) taking great care not to annoy her in the process.

Your mother is most commonly known by your name if you are her first-born child. Like Mama Tom or Mama Lydia, Mama Prince. You and your siblings may never know her given name until you have to fill out a form at the end of your primary school.

The love is immense. African parents like my mom are more than willing to make countless sacrifices just to make you comfortable and achieve much more than they did. Many of us aren’t/weren’t very chatty with our folks. ‘who born you’ They send us to schools, admonish us to study hard and be diligent and stuff. But I don’t come home telling my mother about some girl I have a crush on or how I don’t have many friends in school. They just offer general advice and expect you to handle your business. In some way it makes you tough.

African mothers generally don’t smother their children. When your dad beats you, she would probably save you or try to cure you after the damage. [The irony] Last but not the least – African mums are so fond of their children, they generally don’t leave home until they get married.

On ASUU, on the economy, on unemployment, on the sad state of health, on all the strikes, poor remuneration, the fraud called vehicle registration, police BMCR, on matters of good governance, whether Akpabio, Rotimi, Aliyu, Fayemi, Obi, Suswan, et al. Tukur, Ngozi, Baraje, Atiku, Obasanjo and co, do the current crop of leaders behave like they had this kind of training?

This is just another tale, simply told, but fact is we are loosing it. Where are today’s mothers, is the kind of Nigeria where citizens are slaughtered by security agents, kidnapped by their own, maligned by government, the type any mother would be proud ofonly time will tell.


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