Who moved our yam?

Okay, we all agree now that there is something known as ‘yam’ in the political economy of Nigeria. If you are a Nigerian and still don’t know that, the only help I can render you is an advice: go and update your knowledge of our current affairs.

As I was saying about our yam, we have been inundated with so much stories about how our yams were stolen, eaten (‘chopped’, in Nigerian lingo) and shared to family and friends with impunity by the very people who were assigned to manage, protect and preserve our yams. And that is how our yams got eaten.

Interestingly we all knew our yams were being wrongfully eaten, even when many feigned ignorance. You care to know how our yams got eaten wrongfully? Here we go. We run a country where the popular view or attitude focuses more on where the person who occupies an office comes from and what faith he or she adheres to than what ability the person has to perform effectively. That is how our yams got eaten.

We are quick to look at who is making an allegation about stolen and eaten yam to know where he/she comes from, what faith the person adheres to and what political party he or she belongs or has sympathy for. When we finish doing that, we also do same about who is accused of stealing our yams before we can make a skewed and biased comment. That is how our yams got eaten.

While the yams got eaten and while they are still being eaten, who are those who say things like, ‘whatever happens, the yam would still be eaten’? Don’t we hear people say things like ‘is she the first person to eat the yam?’ Or, ‘is he the only person eating this yam?’ Well, that exactly is how the yams get eaten.

How about the rather humungous and against-the-run-of-play ‘gifts’ and ‘donations’ we received from public officers, whom we knew had security and custody over our yams? Did our consciences ever whisper to us that such donations to us as individuals or to our associations, groups, communities, unions and other non-state organisations were from the public yam? It doesn’t matter if you thought all that you got was just the peel of the yam, the crux of the yam or processed yam (yam flour, pounded yam or yam chips). Yam is yam. And that is how our yams got eaten.

Come on people, where did you imagine all those raw cash in naira and dollar and pounds sterling came from during the electioneering period? You thought the cash rains that fell on you simply because you were a party delegate or one of the ‘elders’ or a member of the ‘caucus’ came from the legitimate farm or yam barns of your political party? Stop being naiive or feigning ignorance. That came from our public farm and barn. And that is how our yams got eaten.

It is okay if you deceived yourself that your God (pronounced ‘gawd’) is not a poor God, and so yams could come dropping into your hands and your religious group’s barn from everywhere because the earth and the fullness thereof belong to your ‘gawd’. But when the chips are down, we would probably trace some of our public yams to your place of worship or your leaders. Because, that is how our yams got eaten.

We would trace our yams to the trip you and your family embarked upon in the name of pilgrimage which was nothing but tourism cloaked in religious piety. And the money paid for the prayers sessions, including hiring spiritualists and charmers for the politicians wasn’t money from any private yam barn. They were ours, and you knew it and you accepted it. And here you are asking how our yam got depleted. That, my friend, is how our yams got eaten.

So as we look ahead to better days ahead, never, ever trust the tenders of our communal farmland and barns not to pilfer our yams and play carrot and stick with it. They always do, to curry the favour and support of the citizens. And if we ever let them and take our benefit therefrom, that is how our yams will continue depleting because that is how our yam gets eaten.

If you want to eat yam, please cultivate yours or acquire from others and from the communal yam barn through legitimate means. Stop stealing, eating or aiding and abetting the plundering and eating of our yams.


Written by
Obo Effanga
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